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  1. #1
    Silver Member 3boys865's Avatar
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    May 2012
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    103
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    East Tennessee
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    Kubota L4240HST

    Default Right size tractor for small square baler

    Am looking for input and recommendations on the right sized tractor for a small hay operation. I have approx 20 acres of pasture that I would like to start working for hay. I don't currently own a tractor and I want to make sure I purchase enough engine and PTO power to handle the job. I will also be doing some FEL work and some ground work including tilling and plowing. I have been looking at the 45 - 60 hp range in the JD 4x20 series and the MF 1600 series. How much engine and PTO hp do I need to look for. Any other factors I need to consider?

  2. #2
    Veteran Member
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    Jul 2003
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    1,993
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    MN
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    Ford 960, 7700, TW20, 1720; IHC H, 300; Ollie S77

    Default Re: Right size tractor for small square baler

    Square bales or round bales?

    You need 35 hp and a heavy tractor for small square bales. More hp for a modern faster baler, this is for a NH model 69 through 271 baler. A compact class tractor might be too light to control the baler, and too light a pto to handle the shock loads of a baler flywheel.

    You need 60 hp for a medium sized round baler. 80-100+ is good for a bigger round baler.

    In either case more gears, to select differnt speeds is welcome. A live or independent pto makes it almost fun - really needed.

    Yes, folks have gotten by with less. But why would a person plan to?

    Plowing it's good to have adjustable wheels to set up the plow furrow, and traction is important - right tires, good weight. Takes about 25-35 hp per bottom depending on your soil, how big you wanna go....

    (Oh, I speak in pto-horsepower...)

    --->Paul

  3. #3
    Gold Member
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    Nov 2008
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    462

    Default Re: Right size tractor for small square baler

    I am sort of in the same category. I'd like to do some farming, but the 20something PTO hp on the lightweight CUT just wont cut it. It has sort of fallen short in several areas over the years, but its what we have and all the current attachments are sized for it. Were I shopping for a new tractor, I'd say at least 50hp, but since There is what there already, a larger replacement tractor and re-upping all the attachments we use all the time would never pay for itself.
    I have been giving some thought to turning 4x4 pickup into a tractor. I figure I could do some sort of slide-in that might lock into the trailer hitch with a dedicated engine for PTO and maybe hydraulics. I could probably get a big old used tractor for less (just a 38hp Kohler goes for about $2500), but I am thinking about it.

  4. #4
    Silver Member 3boys865's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    103
    Location
    East Tennessee
    Tractor
    Kubota L4240HST

    Default Re: Right size tractor for small square baler

    I would like to plan for either square or small round bales. I definitely don't want to undersize my tractor purchase. I would prefer to have some power to spare when sizing it without getting way more than I need for my 20 acres.

    Looks like I will have to move my search up to the Utility class of tractors like the JD (5 series) or MF (2600 series) to approach 60 hp for the PTO.

    Any recommendations from anyone on a specific mfg / model in this class that is suited for small hay operations and occasional light tiling / plowing?

    Thank you, I appreciate your response.

  5. #5
    Platinum Member
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    Oct 2008
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    Piedmont Triad, NC
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    Didn't intend to have a Deere fleet - it just happened 310C, F915 & 5200

    Default Re: Right size tractor for small square baler

    I have a JD 5200 (45 hp pto), a NH 310 baler (squares) and a hay wagon. My fields are level. The tractor is just adequate to run the baler and pull the full wagon hitched to the baler. Wagon saves a lot of work by stacking on the fly. I suggest hp alone is not the end all specification. Tractor weight is important to the operation. A 4 series is too light for my operation mode.

  6. #6
    Super Star Member
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    Mar 2008
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    10,428
    Location
    Northern Fingerlakes region of NY, USA
    Tractor
    Kubota L3830GST, B7500HST, BX2660

    Default Re: Right size tractor for small square baler

    We have a kubota L3830 that we use to cut hay (with a 9' NH mower conditioner), tedd it (18' 4 basket Enrossi tedder), rake it into windrows (NH 256 rake) and bale it/kick it into the wagon (NH 269 baler with a belt style kicker).
    We have also used it to plow (Oliver 4340 3 bottom plow), disc (old 9' flex disc) and harrow (12' 4 section harrow).
    Once we loaded the rear tires, it does all of that well, but it feels a little light when going downhill with a full haywagon for the "last pass".

    Aaron Z
    A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
    Robert Heinlein, Time Enough for Love

  7. #7
    Platinum Member tessiers's Avatar
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    Central Maine
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    05' JD 790 - 49' Ford 8n - 53' Ford NAA - 70' Massey Fergusen 135 diesel - 1950 John Deere MC - 1992 Thomas T-83 skid steer

    Default Re: Right size tractor for small square baler

    I keep waiting to see a round baler out in a field with a little tractor spinning around on the front of the driveshaft. The 4720 is 60 pto hp tested and weighs a whopping 3860 lbs. My Farmall H weighs more than that with 26 hp pto.
    check us out at www.tessiersfarm.com

  8. #8
    Veteran Member
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    Dec 2009
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    S. W. Virginia
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    Kubota B3200, Ford NAA, IH 454D, Case 1845C

    Default Re: Right size tractor for small square baler

    Quote Originally Posted by 3boys865 View Post
    I would like to plan for either square or small round bales. I definitely don't want to undersize my tractor purchase. I would prefer to have some power to spare when sizing it without getting way more than I need for my 20 acres.

    Looks like I will have to move my search up to the Utility class of tractors like the JD (5 series) or MF (2600 series) to approach 60 hp for the PTO.

    Any recommendations from anyone on a specific mfg / model in this class that is suited for small hay operations and occasional light tiling / plowing?

    Thank you, I appreciate your response.
    40 PTO hp is good for most small square balers, 60 PTO hp is good for most small round balers. In either case, you need to be looking at utility size tractors, I wouldn't trust the drive line of a compact tractor for much baling.
    Kubota B3200
    Ford NAA Jubilee
    International 454D
    Case 1845C skid steer
    JD 265

  9. #9
    New Member
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    Jan 2013
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    1
    Location
    Palestine,TX.
    Tractor
    horse power

    Default Re: Right size tractor for small square baler

    i want a horse power trator and the size is 35

  10. #10
    Bronze Member
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    Location
    House Springs,Mo.
    Tractor
    Kubota M7040

    Default Re: Right size tractor for small square baler

    I used a 4000 FORD DIESEL(52HP)for 10 years on a 271 NEW HOLLAND and pulled a wagon behind also had 0 issues with both and baled in the neighborhood of 10,000 bales per year.And yes I have baled against the other brands J D, CASE , IH, ALLIS,in my day and my money was always go NEW HOLLAND HAY EQUIPMENT,after all it's hard to beat the BEST, FORD and NEW HOLLAND!!!!
    Last edited by mkreitler; 01-04-2013 at 11:37 PM.

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