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  1. #31
    Super Member Robert_in_NY's Avatar
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    Silver Creek, NY
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    Case-IH Farmall 45A, Kubota M8540 Narrow, New Holland TN 65, Bobcat 331, Ford 1920, 1952 John Deere M, Allis Chalmers B, Bombardier Traxter XT, Massey Harris 81RC and a John Deere 3300 combine, Cub Cadet GT1554

    Default Re: I need to automate my bale handling, too

    Quote Originally Posted by gf5205 View Post
    This weekend the weather was better than predicted, so it was good enough to bale Saturday and Sunday, but I didn't have any hay down because of the forecast of clouds and showers.
    Greg
    I learned early on that there is always going to be rain forecast when you need to cut. I gamble and every now and then get caught but if I gamble I only cut 10 -15 acres depending on the forecast. It seems the only time we get any long stretch of good weather is after the hay is way past prime. Also, this year they are predicting the rest of the year to be the same as it has been with rain and basically unpredictable weather all the time. Good luck to you and hopefully you can get your hay done.


    God must love stupid people; He made so many

  2. #32
    Silver Member
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    Southwest Maine
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    JD 5205 JD 5203 Ford 3600 JD 850 JD 755 Kioti DK65

    Default Re: I need to automate my bale handling, too

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike120 View Post
    Greg,

    Did you get the On Edge model or the Flat? I'm looking at the Kuhns as a replacement for my old beatup stacker wagon. Because it stacks flat, I've never tried stacking on edge. I'm happy to do it if the grabber works as well as I assume it does. Thanx.

    Hi Robert,
    I got the 15 bale on edge model. The grabber worked pretty well and I expect to get better at it. I did get off the tractor to push bales back into line on about 4 of the 25 groups I picked up. Some one with more skill wouldn't have had to get off once. I also think it will be easier once the ground is drier and the hay slides more easliy, then you should be able to push them around to tighten up the group. I'll also adjust the width of the grabber to catch the outside bales better, just a matter of two bolts.

    My wife and I were very encouraged. I also need to work on placing the grabs on the wagon. I had to tie the two 180 bale loads we made on the Kuhns 9x20 wagons. The front of the load was too steep and some of the bales were hanging off of the off side of the wagon too much. I may need to shorten my bale length a couple of inches and work on spacing the lower rows out a little, even though the wagon has a slanted back.

    I did notice one difference that I wasn't expecting when stacking the hay in my barn. Because the bales were on end on the wagon they didn't settle and a stack of six flat in my barn was about an inch taller than before and it made stuffing the top row in a little tougher since I had almost no clearance to begin with.
    Greg

  3. #33
    Elite Member
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    Sep 2003
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    New Brunswick, Canada
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    Kubota L5030 HSTC, MF 5455

    Default Re: I need to automate my bale handling, too

    Any updates on how your system is working out?

  4. #34
    Super Member AKfish's Avatar
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    Oct 2004
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    Kasilof, Alaska
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    JD 5075M; JD 110 TLB; JD 4720; Ford 9N; JD X300R

    Default Re: I need to automate my bale handling, too

    I've been looking at the different "automation" systems for small square bale production for a number of year's now.

    From what I can see... the prices for Kuhn, Hoelsher, and Steffen's systems are within a couple of hundred dollars - depending upon the size of the accumulators and grabber.

    Pretty spendy unless you've got enough acres and bale numbers for it to "pencil out". But, there's getting to be some nice used units scattered around the country that are priced alot more reasonably.

    Like the Kuhn for it's simplicity - nothing to really break down. Real drawback for me is the overall size. My fields are small; with big trees around the edges. With a 75hp tractor, baler and a 10-bale accumulator; I'd guess that train would be darn near 45 feet long! Need some real estate space to manuever!

    Haven't taken the plunge, yet. Keep lookin' for a good, used system.

    AKfish
    "Most people want to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you're climbing it."

  5. #35
    Elite Member
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    Kubota L5030 HSTC, MF 5455

    Default Re: I need to automate my bale handling, too

    In the same boat. I've been buying running gears, 2 x 8 ton, 3 x 4 ton, and a 27 ft flatdeck trailer in the anticipation of getting an accumulator and putting them to work in the meantime. Called about a good deal on a Steffen Systems with 2 grapples but the dealer went bankrupt and it sold at auction 2 weeks ago.

    Not keen on the ground draggers, the Kuhn's would require a lot of cutting around my fields. I've ruled out the NH balewagons as my 45-50 lb bales would drive them nuts.

    I've found the farmhands can be had for cheap, but parts are apparently a problem. The grapples are usually long gone too. Learning a pair of grapples aren't cheap to get either.

    In the UK they have accumulators too but they call them flat 8's, some nice looking setups with squeezes that grab 56 bale blocks (7 tiers of 8 bales) that are about 6 ft x 6 ft. They have loader, 3 point and trailed squeezes. (Browns, chilton etc) A 56 bale block with a few wraps of twine or stretch plastic would stack nice to 2 high, and would sell nicely to my customers. Could set a block nicely on the back of the 1 ton, or 4 of them on my trailer. You can handle them with a grapple by layer too, or just by 8,16 or 24 with a hay buddy type squeeze.

    Worst thing is they are out of fashion in the UK, all the equipment is cheap, but even sitting right by a port, its costs a fortune to send a container of it over here.

    Quote Originally Posted by AKfish View Post
    Haven't taken the plunge, yet. Keep lookin' for a good, used system.

    AKfish

  6. #36
    Super Member AKfish's Avatar
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    Oct 2004
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    Kasilof, Alaska
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    JD 5075M; JD 110 TLB; JD 4720; Ford 9N; JD X300R

    Default Re: I need to automate my bale handling, too

    Quote Originally Posted by slowzuki View Post
    I've ruled out the NH balewagons as my 45-50 lb bales would drive them nuts.

    I've found the farmhands can be had for cheap, but parts are apparently a problem. The grapples are usually long gone too. Learning a pair of grapples aren't cheap to get either.

    In the UK they have accumulators too but they call them flat 8's, some nice looking setups with squeezes that grab 56 bale blocks (7 tiers of 8 bales) that are about 6 ft x 6 ft. They have loader, 3 point and trailed squeezes. (Browns, chilton etc) A 56 bale block with a few wraps of twine or stretch plastic would stack nice to 2 high, and would sell nicely to my customers. Could set a block nicely on the back of the 1 ton, or 4 of them on my trailer. You can handle them with a grapple by layer too, or just by 8,16 or 24 with a hay buddy type squeeze.

    Worst thing is they are out of fashion in the UK, all the equipment is cheap, but even sitting right by a port, its costs a fortune to send a container of it over here.
    The bale wagons are a big investment, too! Surprising how they hold their value. The pull-type are the only ones I've seen that I might consider to be "cheap"!

    There's a few FarmHand systems in use around me. But, you'd better be darn handy when they go down... everything has to be fabbed up! Still might go look at a grabber and accumulator at a neighbor's place in the next week or so. The old, homesteader has just come out of heart surgery and his kids put up all the hay last summer and they don't want to do it AT ALL, anymore! A group of hay grower neighbor's just finalized a bulk order for fertilizer -- and they passed.. not gonna fertilize their fields this year.

    That'll put a dent in local hay supplies. They typically put up 9-12K small squares a season.

    I'm on the opposite side of the planet from the UK. 'Course, if that ice keeps melting.. I'll have shipping across the North Pole pretty soon!

    AKfish
    "Most people want to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you're climbing it."

  7. #37
    Elite Member
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    New Brunswick, Canada
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    Kubota L5030 HSTC, MF 5455

    Default Re: I need to automate my bale handling, too

    I've seen a few cheapish tow type bale wagons here, but the only way I was bale to make that system work time wise is to build pallets to slip on the rack and "roadside" the hay and tarp with transport tarps then come back and pick them up later.

    Even then, the stacks are likely to fall over unless you band a few of the layers while on the rack, which isn't so bad, but I can't move a 6000-7000 lb pallet of hay, except with the wagon. I could go with a smaller 56 bale wagon, but then I'm off tying more loads, a field would take forever to clean up, but the pallets could easily but put on trailers.

  8. #38
    Silver Member
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    Default Re: I need to automate my bale handling, too

    Quote Originally Posted by slowzuki View Post
    Any updates on how your system is working out?
    It has worked out better than we could have possibly hoped for. The Kuhns equipment works great with almost no problems. I think a spring might have come off a couple of times in three years.
    I think the biggest change is that we now can handle 600 bales a day without breaking a sweat. It's hard to emphasize enough how much my wife appreciates not having to arrange for a crew of friends and family to stack on the wagons. No more guessing when the hay will be ready or baling at the wrong time because that's when the help is available. She bales when it's ready and I usually stack it on the wagons with the grabber when I get home from work.
    We have 5 wagons that hold 600 bales stacking 4 high. We don't go higher because it is easier for us and for our customers to unload if we keep it low. Also the loads we take home travel better without tying.
    I have become interested in trying to make more consistent bales with the JD328 to make the loads better. I added BaleSkis and they helped alot. Besides making denser bales with less pressure the baler also misses tying less often. It never missed much, but now it is rare. I am thinking about adding the AirBaler because we have som areas with light, fine hay that it may help with.
    We couldn't be happier.
    Greg

  9. #39
    Elite Member
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    Default Re: I need to automate my bale handling, too

    Good to hear its going well. Only 120 bales per wagon is a bit concerning for me, I need to get closer to 1200 bales a day at least, and if I decked every running gear, thats 8 wagons and a 27 ft flatbed tailers between me and the neighbour. Picking up off the ground back in the 80's/90's with two wagons and crews, we have put as many as 3600 bales a day into the barn but those days are long gone. There were 6 people on each crew plus a guy baling like mad. Now just 2-4 people is the norm, and usually a couple of them have never done hay.

  10. #40
    Silver Member
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    Default Re: I need to automate my bale handling, too

    Quote Originally Posted by slowzuki View Post
    Good to hear its going well. Only 120 bales per wagon is a bit concerning for me, I need to get closer to 1200 bales a day at least, and if I decked every running gear, thats 8 wagons and a 27 ft flatbed tailers between me and the neighbour. Picking up off the ground back in the 80's/90's with two wagons and crews, we have put as many as 3600 bales a day into the barn but those days are long gone. There were 6 people on each crew plus a guy baling like mad. Now just 2-4 people is the norm, and usually a couple of them have never done hay.
    I could go another row higher and would get to about 800 on the wagons, but we like unloading the ones stacked lower. We will typically unload a couple hundred into our barn during the day and customers usually take the rest. We have an indoor riding arena for any that gets held over to the next morning. My wife and I bale about 5000 and put up about 1200 for our own use. It is now easier to do this with no help than it was with help before the accumulator.

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