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  1. #1
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    Jun 2013
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    omaha, NE
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    CaseIH Farmall 75C

    Default "new" to haying - validate my "wish list" and comments please!

    Wife runs a small horse boarding operation on our acreage, we have about 15 acres of pasture that could partially be baled and neighbor has 10 acres of brome/alfalfa in a hayfield that we will lease in a multi-year contract. We've previously been buying hay, but last year's drought was really hard on us financially and it was difficult to find anyone to sell hay to us. Exactly opposite situation this year, too much rain keeping everyone out of the fields....and no one available to cut our pastures which were all drill-seeded, fertilized, fantastically green...and nearly 4 feet tall. Grass is so tall now that the horses won't eat it!

    Tractor is a Kubota L3540 -- not super big, and it's all I've got here readily available. Here's a list of equipment I'm looking at picking up:

    New Holland 273 or 275 baler
    New Holland 427 or 477 haybine
    Grappalator (or similar) -- Grappalator
    Whatever brand side delivery rake i can find cheap at an auction for flipping.

    I'm in my early 30's and grew up on a farm, pretty good at figuring things out and wrenching -- especially when I have a manual to reference. It's been many years since I worked with any square baling equipment.

    What are the thoughts on my equipment list compared to the horsepower I have to work with? Mainly looking to get something that won't murder my tractor and something that I can get parts for (relatively) easy.

    thanks guys, happy to be here!

  2. #2
    Bronze Member
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    May 2009
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    Default Re: "new" to haying - validate my "wish list" and comments please!

    First thing to note. It will never pencil out to make your own hay on such small acreage. That being said you're gonna want a bigger tractor as well. I would look at a minimum of a 50 horse tractor in a utility sized frame. I've square baled with a ford 3000 but honestly that was about all the tractor could do and I found myself going way too slow for my taste. Either trade your tractor in or buy a second tractor. Older 2wd units are fine if they are well cared for. I'll be using a 69 4020 in the fields again this year just like I have in years past and making several crops off of over 700 acres.

    Your L will also not handle that bale grapple well. Not only is it heavy by itself it sticks out quite a long ways and when loaded with bales its going to be way to much for your machine.

    If you're serious about making your own hay though like I said you could look at older 2wd tractors. Something like the Farmall 560 would suit your needs just fine and could be picked up for five or six grand. If you shop right you could probably find something suitable for even less. I like 60 hp or better for square baling and 90 plus for round bales. It can be done with less but it goes much smoother if you have more than enough power instead of just enough power.

    Don't get me wrong you have a nice little tractor, but its just not well suited to the task your thinking of.

    I would also if you can get the help go with hay racks vs a bale grapple. A second person on the rack and a couple racks and you can bale a lot of squares in a day then haul them back to the barn a hundred or so at a time.

  3. #3
    Super Member flusher's Avatar
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    Sacramento
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    Sold the farm, sold the tractors, moved back to the city

    Default Re: "new" to haying - validate my "wish list" and comments please!

    My Massey Ferguson 124 baler (two-twine, small squares) is rated at 35 hp (pto) minimum. The 124 is comparable to those NH balers you're eyeballing.

    But I've seen balers this size run off much smaller tractors like a Farmall Super A that has only about 20 hp pto.

    FARMALL Super A - YouTube

    The baler portion occurs about 6 minutes into this video.
    You might try to find a baler that has it's own engine (usually a 20 hp Wisconsin engine). My neighbor runs one like that with his Kubota L4400.

    -alanb-2013-1-jpg


    Good luck.

  4. #4
    Veteran Member Lou66's Avatar
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    Brazoria county where Texas began
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    Deere 990/Montana 5740

    Default Re: "new" to haying - validate my "wish list" and comments please!

    Welcome to the forum Mattv1,, Lou
    "Life is good if beer is cold"

  5. #5
    Member
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    Location
    omaha, NE
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    CaseIH Farmall 75C

    Default Re: "new" to haying - validate my "wish list" and comments please!

    Quote Originally Posted by mud23609 View Post
    First thing to note. It will never pencil out to make your own hay on such small acreage.
    Yep, that's what my pencil says too, for sure. For us it's less about the cost and more about the value in knowing we have a reliable (primary) source for hay.


    Quote Originally Posted by mud23609 View Post
    Your L will also not handle that bale grapple well.
    I had my doubts about the grapple too but was hoping it would work to minimize labor and time in the field. My wife and I have a 3-month old baby and 99% of the property work is done with no help.

    Quote Originally Posted by mud23609 View Post
    Something like the Farmall 560 would suit your needs just fine and could be picked up for five or six grand.
    roger that -- growing up I used a 460 and a 656 regularly for baling and hauling. Might need to pick one up.

    Quote Originally Posted by mud23609 View Post
    Don't get me wrong you have a nice little tractor
    Thanks! if I would've had any inkling that would end up baling hay, i would have bought a bigger one. This one has worked great for mowing (Mott 88 hammer knife flail mower) and grading/snowblowing the road.

  6. #6
    Platinum Member
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    May 2007
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    575
    Location
    SW OH - near Dayton, OH
    Tractor
    Kubota L285

    Default Re: "new" to haying - validate my "wish list" and comments please!

    Baler: I bale with a Kubota compact tractor similar in size to yours although you do have a couple more hp. I use a New Holland 65 baler with it which is the smallest of the balers made and it works well. The 65 is 12"x16" bale chamber instead of the 14"x18" chamber that the 273 or 276 will have. Bigger chamber means more rotating mass creating more of a gyro/rocking affect which can be harder on a compact tractors driveline. I would pick the 273 over the 275 if you are determined on only those 2 choices as it is a slightly lower capacity baler I think but am not certain. Even if you were to find a 65 though it may not be compatible with a grapple do to oddball size so probably best to stick with the common 14"x18" baler size if a grapple or automated handling is in your plans. Or if as other posters mentioned that your tractor will not handle the grapple then I do like the 12"x16" bale better for plain ole manpower lifting - most women prefer that size too as they are easier for them to handle if they are the primary feeders of critters.

    Cutter: I am assuming that should have read New Holland 467 or 477 haybine (I have never heard of a 427). I think you have the hp to run the 7' haybine but be weary of the overall weight of the implement, especially tongue weight, and the side draft of the implement. You may be okay on flat ground but it would be best if you could try before you buy. I have a 9' Hesston mower conditioner and no way would I hook it to my little Kubota due to the overall weight of the implement, the immense tongue weight of it, as well as the side draft. On the other hand my lowly Farmall h of similar hp will handle it, but longterm I am fixing up a Farmall m to run it. In my opinion either a small drum mower or a sickle mower is the best choice for a compact tractor hay cutter. Except you will not get conditioning with them which your alfalfa will need so you will have to add either a separate crimper (I like the Myer conditioners since they had a pick-up reel) which is doable or a tedder. Tedders are nice, but can be tricky to use with alfalfa or you will destroy the leaves.

    Rake: I agree almost any ole rake will suffice. I run 2 JD 594 vintage rakes on steel wheels that I have refurb'd. I like them because they make fluffy windrows that dry very well. Paralel bar rakes, while more modern, do cost more and have tendency to be rope makers and the windrows will not dry as well. Lots of metal in those old 594's too, so you can weld up parts as needed to correct slop/wear.

    In summary: Your current tractor can certainly do the job if you make the right choices. Or you could pick up a cheap bigger tractor, but that only further adds to the difficulty on getting this project to pencil out to profitability so to speak.

    Research: There is literally hours worth of reading on this topic on sites like this one and YT tractor. You have to get creative with the searches using vintage low hp antique tractors in the searches but the info is there if you search for it. You will read both success and horror stories.
    Last edited by rankrank1; 06-23-2013 at 12:38 PM.

  7. #7
    Bronze Member
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    Apr 2013
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    Location
    fernley,nv
    Tractor
    4330 kabota

    Default Re: "new" to haying - validate my "wish list" and comments please!

    Don't back off farming. With you being 30 years old we need you.
    I'm off my soap box now.
    I have a L 4330. I plow.with a 2 bottom rollover, disc with a 12' disc. plant with a 10' drill, mow with a 7' sickle mower, rake with a 4 wheel 3pt rake, bale with a 330 freeman baler, not p t o, I try to keep my bales between 90- 100 lbs. I hand muck the bales or if I feel lazy I hire a harrowbed.
    I am the cheep of the cheep so I rebuild anything I can, just refurbished my mower will post pics soon. Old equipment was made to work, don't hesitant to tear into it. It will repay you and you'll both be happy.
    My bales might be a little heavy for your bride but I've made a lot of hay with a 2 stringer.
    Farming don't seem to pencil out very good very often. . . So don't put a pencil to it. You sure sleep good though.
    Best of luck to you and your family.
    KEEP ON FARMING.

  8. #8
    Platinum Member tessiers's Avatar
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    Location
    Central Maine
    Tractor
    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: "new" to haying - validate my "wish list" and comments please!

    Quote Originally Posted by Sheepdr View Post
    I am the cheep of the cheep so I rebuild anything I can, just refurbished my mower will post pics soon. Old equipment was made to work, don't hesitant to tear into it. It will repay you and you'll both be happy.
    My bales might be a little heavy for your bride but I've made a lot of hay with a 2 stringer.
    Farming don't seem to pencil out very good very often. . . So don't put a pencil to it. You sure sleep good though.
    Best of luck to you and your family.
    KEEP ON FARMING.
    I guess there are 2 of us out there. I do 25 acres of hay, mostly other peoples land. We do not pay for use of the land, in this area there are a lot of people with 2 to 10 acres that are happy to find someone to keep it mowed down for the hay. We the following equipment. Made a little over 2000 bales last year, and sold enough to cover fuel twine and repairs for the year. We use about 1200 to 1500 bales a year ourselves.

    1953 Ford NAA. Paid $1000, put another $500 into it. A finer tedding and raking tractor was never made, but too high geared for comfortable baling, although I did it for 3 years.

    1970 Massey Fergusen 135 Diesel. Gave $3000 for it and was my wife mad, but. With live PTO and 2 gear ranges this is a nice small scale hay tractor.

    Hesston 1091 9' haybine, paid $1300 for it. Was mowing with a 1941 Farmall and JD #5 sickle, sold the Farmall for $1800, kept the sickle mower as a backup.

    Tontutti 4 basket tedder. Should have been $2500, I traded some work for it. We did hay for several years without a tedder but I consider it necisary for good hay, at least in my region.

    International #14 4 bar rake. Paid $400 and put another $100 into teeth. Works real well.

    New Holland #67 Baler. Paid $100 for scrap, put another $700 into it. It is a nice baler and does a great job but I have a lot of time tied up in it and I wish I had spent a little more $ for a good baler.

    3 old hay wagon frames hauled out of a field. No cost but a lot of welding and fabricating with scrap material so no real cost but a lot of time. As it is I do not use them much. I prefer to haul hay on my equipment trailer and 1 ton. Our fields are several miles away and It is much faster to load onto a real trailer and drive 50 home than haul wagons around.

    I also have a New Holland 33 crop chopper and a forage wagon, and up until snow flies I chop grass and feed it, that saves a lot of time drying and baleing for no reason.

    Hay conveyor is pretty important to us, I paid $300 for mine

    John Deere ground drive manure spreader. We paid $500

    I am fairly handy around the shop and I like to buy equipment. I like to buy stuff around scrap price, fix it up. If it turns out better than what I have I keep it and use it, otherwise I sell it. I actually went ahead a little on the mower deal. All told we have made 5000+ bales with about $6300 in equipment, just for hay. I consider this pretty good and all of the equipment is ready for another 2000 bales this year. Thats cheap hay any way you look at it. Even more important to me is I find it very rewarding to make our own hay. I love the feeling of knowing I provided for my animals. We have made good hay, and bad. I learned a lot more from the bad hay than the good. I think it builds character as well.
    check us out at www.tessiersfarm.com

  9. #9
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    455
    Location
    Albion, Indiana
    Tractor
    1710 Ford

    Default Re: "new" to haying - validate my "wish list" and comments please!

    I have to agree with many of the comments here. Obviously you have to go on the cheap to make this work at all unless you have lots of money to throw at it.

    The Grapalator is too much for your tractor. I recommend a stooker like the one shown here which were used a lot out in your country 30 years ago and you can probably find one laying around. they are so simple that you can make any of them work. Here is a video of one if you are not familiar - I think it is behind a 275 baler. Square Baling and Stooking in Saskatchewan Allied stooker - YouTube

    This stacks 6 bales or less than 600 lbs on a nice stack that is close to your loader so it should easily handle it. If you do not have a small hay basket for your loader you can bolt on four pipes to your scoop that will pick up this bake stack. You can put four of these on your wagon before having to get off and stack them.

    The other nice things about a stooker is that the bales are angled. If you do not get the bales picked up right away and the ground is a little damp you do not have the bale sitting flat on the ground. The openings allow air to get in and help preserve the hay.

    I also like the old parallel bar rakes to the new wheel rakes for a loose fluffy windrow that gets good air circulation. The wheel rakes are great for speed but you are talking small patches and so speed is not the big issue - getting the best quality hay without having to be optimal on timing due to other commitments is.

  10. #10
    Member
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    Jun 2013
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    Location
    omaha, NE
    Tractor
    CaseIH Farmall 75C

    Default Re: "new" to haying - validate my "wish list" and comments please!

    Thanks to all for the comments and suggestions.

    I've picked up a NH 273 baler in excellent condition from a local horse stable that sold their hay ground and buys hay...already bought the manual and have read through it several times.

    I picked up an old IH side-delivery rake at a local auction. It needs a little work, but it was really cheap. It's a pull-behind model with crazy/caster wheels on the back.

    I haven't been able to find a 7' haybine/swather anywhere, but I did get ahold of a 9' IH 1300 sickle mower in excellent condition.

    I'm going to try to get everything tested over the next day or two...and maybe by the end of the holiday weekend I'll have some bales to show for my efforts.

    The stooker looks great -- i would love to have something like that. Unfortunately, not seeing anything on cragslist, fastline, or any of the other equipment search websites I frequent. I've also been looking at some of the old 8-bale farmhand accumulators. There are a couple in my area that sellers are asking $1000 for....probably could get them down a bit.....

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