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  1. #1
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    Default Mini-Round balers what does the compact tractor operator want?

    The purpose of this discussion is to see what products TBN consumers want in the mini-baler market. This discussion will be in public view and any manufacturer can view what is discussed and hopefully this will spur them to meet the needs of consumers.
    1. Size of Tractor: First a proper application is for an implement to be matched to the size of the tractor. Sub-Compacts are really out of the question because they do not have enough mass to safely handle the equipment. Given the inquires over the last 5 years most customers fall into 2 categories. 25-35 HP Tractors & 30-45 HP tractors. The 25-35 HP compact tractors can safely handle a total baler and bale weight of 2000 Lbs. The 30-45 HP mid-size tractor cam handle 3,000 Lbs max.
    2. Size of bale: This is all over the place. What is feasible give the size of the tractor pulling these balers? Dry hay and or haylage is also the question. If you bale a haylage bale of 25" x 30" it will weigh around 200 Lbs max. Likely it will take 25 PTO HP minimum to make this haylage bale. The same bale in dry hay may only need 20 PTO HP. Is this size bale a viable option for the 25-35 HP group? The 30-45 HP group likely can handle a baler that will bale a 40" x 40" or a dry hay bale of 400-500 Lbs or a haylage bale of 700-900 Lbs. If one does haylage with this size bale it likely will take a tractor with 35 PTO HP or more. The speed capacity of these balers will be slower than a full size balers but yet the finished product should be close to the same quality.
    3. Cost vs. features: Just what features do these two customer groups want? Is just being a functional round baler enough? or does the larger HP group want all the features available that are on the full size round balers? What will customers pay for a round baler that works on a compact tractor? Yes there are currently some of these baler being sold in the USA. Not to mention any marketing names but one baler from Japan is being sold in the $10,000- 14,000 range. This has to be the upper limits of what the market will pay? For this market to take off we see the target prices being in these ranges: the smaller balers target retail price should be $6,000-$9,000 and the larger baler's price should be $7,500-12,000. The larger baler customer likely will demand more features increasing the price.
    If the market does not make it wishes to be known, then it will take longer for good product choices to be available. If the posters on this forum will discuss this topic at length stating their wants and needs, then we can facilitate the development of the correct products to be available in the market at the desired price range. Please discuss what you want not what's currently available. Likely all the questions and answers are yet to be determined. If you want to contact us directly just follow the link to our website.

  2. #2
    Platinum Member Pooh_Bear's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mini-Round balers what does the compact tractor operator want?

    I want an affordable round baler I can pull behind my 8N tractor.
    The key words here being "affordable" and "8N tractor".
    Remember, 8N tractors don't have live hydraulics or live PTO.

    Pooh Bear

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Mini-Round balers what does the compact tractor operator want?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pooh_Bear
    I want an affordable round baler I can pull behind my 8N tractor.
    The key words here being "affordable" and "8N tractor".
    Remember, 8N tractors don't have live hydraulics or live PTO.

    Pooh Bear
    A tractor without hydraulics currently is not a feasible option. We all want something affordable but just remember a quarter is allot of money if you have only a Penny in your pocket.

  4. #4
    Platinum Member Pooh_Bear's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mini-Round balers what does the compact tractor operator want?

    I kinda figured it was a long shot, but you asked.

    Someday I will upgrade to a bigger tractor
    then maybe think about hay equipment.

    "just remember a quarter is a lot of money if you have only a penny in your pocket."

    Wish I could get more people to understand that phrase.

    Pennies make dollars and I'm saving my pennies.

    Pooh Bear

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Mini-Round balers what does the compact tractor operator want?

    I think a 500 lb dry hay bale would be about right. Most people, including me, that would be looking for a smaller baler have smaller/less animals. Feeding out a 1000+ lb bale for 2-3 horses, or a few cows, or a half dozen goats would create too much waste. I do my baling with a 52 Super H pulling a NH 273 kicker baler with 14 foot wagons. My guess is that most people would be using a newer tractor, but I think price would be more importaint than features to most. I would like a small round baler that could go behind this tractor and make a nice tight bale. Having all sorts of bells and whistles is just more things for me to fix. I hope this helps. Mike

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Mini-Round balers what does the compact tractor operator want?

    Just remember we are looking for a baler that can be safely operated with a compact tractor. The parameters of 30-40 PTO, bale size and total weight are the main limiting factors. We don't think that customers want a light weight constructed baler that will not around in 20 years. Some of the questions that need to be discussed are:
    1. Does the baler need to bale both dry hay and haylage?
    2. Since 85% or hay in the USA is harvested in the dry form, what size bale do customers desire for a dry hay round baler.
    3. Variable chamber or fixed chamber?
    4. Net wrap or twine or both?
    5. What about pine straw?
    6. Some customers will use a 50-ish HP tractor on this smaller baler so you have to engineer this into the geometry of the baler.
    7. Highway friendly size tires?
    8. Adjustable density control is likely needed.

  7. #7
    Super Member N80's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mini-Round balers what does the compact tractor operator want?

    Here are some thoughts from an outsider. I'm not, and probably never will have a haying operation, but I help a local farmer with his fairly large scale haying. I also seem to be accumulating horses, so who knows.

    First, I'll have to make an assumption. There are full size balers that can turn out smaller than full sized round bales and there are 'square' balers. I'm assuming that the market for small round bales is derived from people who want a manageable bale size that is smaller than the smallest bale a full size baler can turn out but who do not want to mess with larger numbers of square bales. Is that right?

    If so, I'd say that the size of a dry hay bale would need to be _easily_ manageable by a small CUT with a bale spear and easily fit into the back of a standard light pickup or small trailer. This would meet the needs of the one baling the hay (small operation) and his customers who want small round bales but who do not have F350s and gooseneck flatbeds. So I'd say 500 pounds, max.

    As for the need for haylage, tough question. For the farmer, haylage just makes good sense to me. The farmer I work with is _always_ in a bind with the highly variable weather we have in this area during the spring and summer. When to cut, bale and ted is always the big question/gamble. This farmer uses a twine baler and estimates that he loses 20+% of the useful nutrition storing his hay outdoors (well over 2000 large bales). Net wrap would improve this figure a little. Baling wet and wrapping would provide two major benefits. First, less pressure in regard to when to cut and bale since it can be baled semi wet and second, far less waste due to decay for those without covered storage. For a one man operation like his (and presumably many small, small bale operations) this means no need for covered storage ($$), fewer overall bales to meet his needs, less acreage to cultivate for hay (including fertilizer, spreading, etc). The cost would be the added expense of a baler that can handle haylage, the cost of the bale wrapper and the cost of moving heavier bales (which might not appeal to the folks wanting to purchase smaller bales!). But, for the practical answer, at least in this region haylage does not seem to have caught on. There is one local guy who has a small round baler (? brand), a bale wrapper and a fleet of 18 wheelers that deliver them and he seems to be making a lot of money...but that's the only example I know of locally. Sorry for the long answer but in short, I think a less expensive machine that bales only dry would have more market appeal unless haylage catches on in an area.

    As far as tires, if the baler is too small to easily get on an average trailer, then yes, highway capable tires. There will be folks who have various leases and arrangements for fields to cut and bale that might not be in one contiguous place.

    And yes, I think that the baler will need to be able to handle the hp and configuration of larger and older ag/utility tractors that the potential buyer already has around.
    Last edited by N80; 03-15-2007 at 05:35 PM.
    George
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  8. #8
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    Have a few of this and that...but I bleed green!

    Default Re: Mini-Round balers what does the compact tractor operator want?

    This thread is scratchin' my itch!! Here's some background...in the fall of 2008 I will be seeding about 70 acres for hay and/or pasture so I find this thread to be interesting. Currently have all the necessary hay equipment to make hay and taking hay off of around 15-20 acres that will be turned into pasture next year, but I am trying to learn as much as I can about ALL phases of haying and what the market is out there.

    Here's what I feel and what I am seeing- A baler that fits the smaller (under 40 HP tractor) with min hydralics to use it. I feel a 4'x4' round bale is what some are asking for (those with a Ford 8N), twine wrap (becasue net is STILL a pain to dispose of), with a tight center so they don't colapse when stacked up. Haylage isn't used much in this area unless its a dairy farm. Don't know about Pine straw. Tires, I feel should be floation (top speed of 40MPH). Variable chamber would be a nice option and auto tie.

    It would be nice to be able to build a round baler that would fit a CUT, but if you are going to pay $5K-$8K for a small baler, that's a heck of a lot of hay to buy from joe farmer and you can be picky if the animals don't eat it- your not stuck feeding your own hay that maybe didn't get made right.

    One last thing, CCI, pooh bear with a Ford 8N (we have 2 of them), they do make balers that had an independant engine to run the hydraulics- the Amish do it all the time!!

  9. #9
    Veteran Member
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    Default Re: Mini-Round balers what does the compact tractor operator want?

    A 4'x4' baler is too big for all but the largest compact tractors with 40 PTO HP or more. You have to slow the rate the bale turns in the baler to reduce HP demands. That also translates into the speed and the balers ability to take hay into the bale chamber and make a good quality bale. Just remember customers will expect a round baler that will last 20+ years so you have to put some steel in it and the baler weight will be too much for tractors weighting less than 3500 Lbs. We are leaning to a 40" x 40" bale or a 36" x 48" bale size baler that has 30 PTO HP and weighs 3000 Lbs. This lets you bale 3'x3' haylage bales with a 35 PTO HP tractor.

    Hydraulics are only used to open the tail gate to dump the bale.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Mini-Round balers what does the compact tractor operator want?

    Here's my 1.5 cents worth for small square bales:

    1. Here in NJ we have very few dairy farms left. Most of the hay is used for horses now. Contractors use mulch hay and a bale chopper when making new lawns. Dry small square bales are preferred.
    2. Bale tension adjustment is needed.
    3. The baler overall width needs to be max 7 or 8 feet to fit on a "normal" sized trailer.
    4. Bale kicker option.
    5. Variable length bale. Many times women or teenagers are lifting the bales and smaller is better depending on the customer.
    6. Fixed chamber size.
    7. Bale tied with twine.
    8. Good used balers are getting harder to find. I had to go to PA dutch area to get my NH320.
    9. If I could have bought a new, basic, no frills baler for $6k I would not have bought used.
    10. I have a kubota L4310 (40hp) tractor and help with baling on (including my own) 4 small farms.
    11. Although I have not personally seen the mini round bales here in my area, I would think they would be OK also.The mini round bales I have seen though were small. About the same weight as a small square bale.
    12. Many people just load up a few bales in the trunk of their car or pickup truck so size and weight are improtant.

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