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  1. #1
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    Default I need to automate my bale handling, too

    With apologies to Robert for stealing his thread title!

    My wife and I bale about 4500 small squares on 30 acres. Currently we stack on hay wagons pulled behind the baler. We sell about 3000 off of the wagons and put about 1500 up an elevator into our barn.

    We've always relied on friends and family for help stacking on the wagons and in the barn. We're in our late 50s, and I know I can't go all day the way I used to, especially in hot and humid weather. What's worse is that my youngest nephew graduates from high school this spring. He and his older sister have been great crew members for years, but I have to find an alternative.

    I always figured that we'd end up with a kicker and kicker wagons, but wasn't looking forwards to it. I find it a pain to unload them and the bales don't always hold their shape. Then I heard about bale baskets, accumulators and bale wagons on this board, and started investigating.

    Bale baskets would be good for our own hay, but not very good to sell out of.

    I don't make heavy and consistent enough bales for a balewagon, and my customers don't want 60 pound bales.

    That leaves the accumulators. I don't want one that drags the hay over the ground. Our bale length can vary quite a bit and I think that the Kuhns will handle them the best.

    In any event, I ordered a 15 bale accumulator, grabber and 2 9x20 foot wagons. I also ordered the WR Long 3rd function kit and a skid steer carrier for my loader. Wish me luck.
    Greg

  2. #2
    Super Member flusher's Avatar
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    Default Re: I need to automate my bale handling, too

    Quote Originally Posted by gf5205 View Post
    With apologies to Robert for stealing his thread title!

    My wife and I bale about 4500 small squares on 30 acres. Currently we stack on hay wagons pulled behind the baler. We sell about 3000 off of the wagons and put about 1500 up an elevator into our barn.

    We've always relied on friends and family for help stacking on the wagons and in the barn. We're in our late 50s, and I know I can't go all day the way I used to, especially in hot and humid weather. What's worse is that my youngest nephew graduates from high school this spring. He and his older sister have been great crew members for years, but I have to find an alternative.

    I always figured that we'd end up with a kicker and kicker wagons, but wasn't looking forwards to it. I find it a pain to unload them and the bales don't always hold their shape. Then I heard about bale baskets, accumulators and bale wagons on this board, and started investigating.

    Bale baskets would be good for our own hay, but not very good to sell out of.

    I don't make heavy and consistent enough bales for a balewagon, and my customers don't want 60 pound bales.

    That leaves the accumulators. I don't want one that drags the hay over the ground. Our bale length can vary quite a bit and I think that the Kuhns will handle them the best.

    In any event, I ordered a 15 bale accumulator, grabber and 2 9x20 foot wagons. I also ordered the WR Long 3rd function kit and a skid steer carrier for my loader. Wish me luck.
    Greg
    Good luck. If I had your acreage instead of only 10 acres, I'd probably go with the Kuhns accumulator and grabber.

  3. #3
    Super Member Robert_in_NY's Avatar
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    Default Re: I need to automate my bale handling, too

    Congrats on the Kuhns. That is what I was and am leaning to still. I delayed my decision though as I asked the Mexicans that trimmed our vineyard and orchard if they would be interested in stacking hay this summer. They were and are good workers and only charge $8/hour so I will go that route for now and see how it works out.


    God must love stupid people; He made so many

  4. #4
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    Default Re: I need to automate my bale handling, too

    Thanks for the good wishes. I'm kind of anxious as there are a few unknowns. How well will my 50 hp JD5205 handle the 15 bale grabber with a 9 foot long load in front? How high will I be able to stack the wagons? What kind of problems will I have installing the WR Long kit. How long will it take to be able to load a wagon in a reasonable amount of time?

    I'm also adding a Farmex moisture tester on the baler, since I won't be on the wagon testing each bale.
    Greg

  5. #5
    Super Member Robert_in_NY's Avatar
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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

    The moisture tester has a learning curve as it can deceive you so you will want to double check it on a regular basis and never truely trust it. It is nice to keep an eye on moisture levels across the field but as I said, it can deceive you if you start to trust it too much


    God must love stupid people; He made so many

  6. #6
    Super Member AKfish's Avatar
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    Default Re: I need to automate my bale handling, too

    Quote Originally Posted by gf5205 View Post

    That leaves the accumulators. I don't want one that drags the hay over the ground. Our bale length can vary quite a bit and I think that the Kuhns will handle them the best.

    In any event, I ordered a 15 bale accumulator, grabber and 2 9x20 foot wagons. I also ordered the WR Long 3rd function kit and a skid steer carrier for my loader. Wish me luck.
    Greg
    So, you bought the Kuhn accumulator and grabber? Did Kuhn make the wagons too?

    I looked at Steffen and another system made in Kansas - starts with an H - info posted hereabouts... Steffen was around $16K for the accumulator (~$13K) and grabber (~$3K); for the 10 bale model.

    How does that compare with the Kuhn prices? Thanks.

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

  7. #7
    Super Member flusher's Avatar
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    2008 Mahindra 5525, 1964 MF-135 diesel, 1951 Farmall Super A, 1951 Minneapolis Moline BF, 1945 Oliver 60 Row Crop, 1949 JD B widefront

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

    Quote Originally Posted by AKfish View Post
    So, you bought the Kuhn accumulator and grabber? Did Kuhn make the wagons too?

    I looked at Steffen and another system made in Kansas - starts with an H - info posted hereabouts... Steffen was around $16K for the accumulator (~$13K) and grabber (~$3K); for the 10 bale model.

    How does that compare with the Kuhn prices? Thanks.

    AKfish
    Kuhns conveniently posts its prices on their website

    Kuhns Mfg Pricing

    Wish all tractor and implement mfgs would do likewise.

  8. #8
    Super Member flusher's Avatar
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    2008 Mahindra 5525, 1964 MF-135 diesel, 1951 Farmall Super A, 1951 Minneapolis Moline BF, 1945 Oliver 60 Row Crop, 1949 JD B widefront

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

    Quote Originally Posted by gf5205 View Post
    Thanks for the good wishes. I'm kind of anxious as there are a few unknowns. How well will my 50 hp JD5205 handle the 15 bale grabber with a 9 foot long load in front? How high will I be able to stack the wagons? What kind of problems will I have installing the WR Long kit. How long will it take to be able to load a wagon in a reasonable amount of time?

    I'm also adding a Farmex moisture tester on the baler, since I won't be on the wagon testing each bale.
    Greg

    Which of your tractors will pull the baler and accumulator?

    That 15-bale accumulator lays bales down in a 5 long by 3 wide pattern and the accumulator picks it up in the 5x3 arrangement. So, assuming 50 lb bales, that's 750 lb of hay and the weight of the grabber, say 500 lb. The center of gravity is about 45" +22.5"=67.5" (5ft -7.5in)from the lifting pins on your FEL, assuming 45" bale length. The ML250 FEL on my 2008 Mahindra 5525 (54 hp engine, 45 hp pto) can lift 2980 lb at the bucket pins. Your FEL probably has similar specs, so I don't think you have a lifting problem. Just carry enough ballast on the 3pt to balance the tractor.

    My winter project is to build a hay squeeze/accumulator to handle eight 14"x18"x45" bales (about 50 lb each). I plan to stack two bales high (16 total bales) and lift this 800 lb load of hay with the squeeze to at least 6-ft height (the loader can reach about 10 ft high). I carry a heavy double bottom plow on the 3pt for ballast. I have a few more weeks of work and then I'll post photos.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by AKfish View Post
    So, you bought the Kuhn accumulator and grabber? Did Kuhn make the wagons too?

    I looked at Steffen and another system made in Kansas - starts with an H - info posted hereabouts... Steffen was around $16K for the accumulator (~$13K) and grabber (~$3K); for the 10 bale model.

    How does that compare with the Kuhn prices? Thanks.

    AKfish
    The wagon gears are EZ Trail with Kuhns bodies. I ordered the 8 ton gear with the 9x20 bodies and the stepped upright. If I can stack 4 high I should be able to get 180 on a load and probably 120 on my current 8x16 wagons with a little modification. I'll nedd to bring them to 9' wide and get rid of the angle brace that supports the upright. I'll have to stabilise it another way.
    Greg

  10. #10
    Silver Member
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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 Robert_in_NY View Post
    The moisture tester has a learning curve as it can deceive you so you will want to double check it on a regular basis and never truely trust it. It is nice to keep an eye on moisture levels across the field but as I said, it can deceive you if you start to trust it too much
    I think it will be most useful, not as a direct reading, but as an indicator of change as dew falls. I already have the bale probe model, and you can get lots of differnet readings from the same bale.
    Greg

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