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  1. #1
    Silver Member chetlenox's Avatar
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    '07 JD 4520, '44 JD A

    Default Does JD 328/338/348 Baler Model Matter?

    All,

    I have a quick question for those familiar with late-model JD balers.

    I have a small size tractor (JD 4520, ~4k lbs and 53 HP) that I am currently using to cut, rake, and bale my little 13 acre Coastal Bermuda pasture. I borrow a neighbors ~10-year-old Case in-line baler to do the baling, and am looking to buy one for myself this winter.

    My local dealers are JD and New Holland, so I imagine I'll stick with one of those two brands. I'll be buying late-model (1-3 years old) or new, twine-tie.

    My question is this: Is there a significant difference in the tractor size requirements between the different JD models?

    John Deere's literature lists the 338 and 348 as "higher capacity" models that (I assume) means I can shove more hay at a faster rate into the thing (assuming I have the tractor HP, which I really don't). I'm not really in need of higher capacity, so I figure I should just be shopping for a 328 model. Unfortunately, I've found that there really aren't that many for sale, there are many more 348s in my area for some reason. If I end up finding a 348 that is clean at a good price, I just want to make sure my tractor wouldn't have a significantly harder time with it then a 328.

    The official JD specs don't show a really large difference between the models. If I just compare the 348 to the 328, all the specs are identical, including length and width and pick-up width except for:

    328/348
    Weight(lbs) 2685/3110
    Teeth 104/156
    Strokes/min 80/93

    Any insight folks could give me that have used these models of balers before would be great.

    Thanks!

    Chet.

  2. #2
    Super Member Farmwithjunk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Does JD 328/338/348 Baler Model Matter?

    All three list minimum HP to operate. But operating at or near capacity, the 348 would hammer the life out of your tractor. For the cost involved, it would be a waste of money to use a 348 and slug along at low speed/low capacity. The 348 needs substancially more than "minimum hp" to operate at anything like full capacity. The 328 will give your tractor ALL it wants in a heavy windrow. Moving along slow and at less than capacity, you'll get a better bale with the 328 than you would with a 348 moving a WAY less than capacity.

    My advice? With that tractor vs todays higher volume balers, go as small as you can get. (ie Deere 328 if it's a green baler)
    There are three kinds of men;
    1.) The ones that learn by reading
    2.) The few who learn by observation
    3.) The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.

  3. #3
    Elite Member
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    Kubota L5030 HSTC, MF 5455

    Default Re: Does JD 328/338/348 Baler Model Matter?

    The 348 is a high volume production baler, mostly used by custom operators. A 2 or 3 year old baler may have more bales through it than a 30 year old farm used baler.

    Don't be scared of an older good condition baler. There are no leaps in technology there. My 30+ year old JD 336 is almost identical to a new 328 and runs every bit as well. Condition is everything though.

    You'll find a new baler is very expensive, I can't imagine it pencils out for only 15 acres but to each there own. I paid 2100$ for mine and bale about 30 acres a cutting or less now that I round some with a neighbours baler.

  4. #4
    Silver Member chetlenox's Avatar
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    '07 JD 4520, '44 JD A

    Default Re: Does JD 328/338/348 Baler Model Matter?

    Farmwithjunk,

    Thanks for the feedback. It sounds like there is a significant enough difference between the higher-capacity models (of any color) and the smaller models to justify me searching harder for the right piece of equipment. I did a search and there is certainly plenty of historical discussion about small square baling with smaller tractors like mine, although it looks like they tend to degenerate into "You should have 75+ HP" vs "I've been baling with my riding lawn mower for years!" type things. I'm not too concerned about that part (my tractor seems to run my neighbor's in-line Case without any trouble), but choosing the smaller capacity JD or NH sounds like a good idea.

    Slowzuki,

    I hear you on the cost of newer equipment. I'm not trying to make any money at this, it's a hobby and food source for my wife's horses. I know some folks on this forum don't really like the hobby farmers too much, but dollars don't matter as much to me. Bottom line, I'll be looking for something used in good condition (which seems like it can be a challenge sometimes), but I don't mind paying a little extra for piece of mind. If I have to, I'll buy new. I agree with you though. My mid-70s NH rolabar rake that my father and I completely rebuilt is a much more reliable piece of equipment than my 1-year-old Frontier sickle-bar mower.

    Thanks for the comments guys, I appreciate it.

    Chet.

  5. #5
    Elite Member zzvyb6's Avatar
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    jd 1070

    Default Re: Does JD 328/338/348 Baler Model Matter?

    Chet:

    The dealer (Clarke Equipment) in Comanche has a couple of 337s for sale in the $7500 and 8500 price range.
    There is no "I" in team, but there is a "Me" if you want to jumble it up a bit...

  6. #6
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    JD 5525 and 5093e Kubota SVL75

    Default Re: Does JD 328/338/348 Baler Model Matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by chetlenox View Post
    Farmwithjunk,

    Thanks for the feedback. It sounds like there is a significant enough difference between the higher-capacity models (of any color) and the smaller models to justify me searching harder for the right piece of equipment. I did a search and there is certainly plenty of historical discussion about small square baling with smaller tractors like mine, although it looks like they tend to degenerate into "You should have 75+ HP" vs "I've been baling with my riding lawn mower for years!" type things. I'm not too concerned about that part (my tractor seems to run my neighbor's in-line Case without any trouble), but choosing the smaller capacity JD or NH sounds like a good idea.

    Slowzuki,

    I hear you on the cost of newer equipment. I'm not trying to make any money at this, it's a hobby and food source for my wife's horses. I know some folks on this forum don't really like the hobby farmers too much, but dollars don't matter as much to me. Bottom line, I'll be looking for something used in good condition (which seems like it can be a challenge sometimes), but I don't mind paying a little extra for piece of mind. If I have to, I'll buy new. I agree with you though. My mid-70s NH rolabar rake that my father and I completely rebuilt is a much more reliable piece of equipment than my 1-year-old Frontier sickle-bar mower.

    Thanks for the comments guys, I appreciate it.

    Chet.
    Which JD dealer are you working with?

    The one in Ennis has been good at keeping an eye out for equipment for me.

    D.
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  7. #7
    Elite Member
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    Default Re: Does JD 328/338/348 Baler Model Matter?

    Sounds like you've got a good idea of what you want. Again, don't be scared of a few years on a baler if it is in great shape. I'd steer clear of the large capacity balers, they tend to have been worked hard. If you could find one used like you plan to you would be set.

  8. #8
    Silver Member chetlenox's Avatar
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    '07 JD 4520, '44 JD A

    Default Re: Does JD 328/338/348 Baler Model Matter?

    Darin,

    I haven't started calling yet, just browsing their on-line inventory. I bought the tractor from the guys in Cleburne, but when it came time to buy my sickle-bar, they quoted me a price $1500 more than the guys in Hillsboro! So I went down to Hillsboro to buy. To their credit, the Cleburne dealership called back a few days later and let me know that they had made a mistake and the quote should have been $1200 less than the original quote. I had already ordered from Hillsboro though, so they lost the sale. I felt bad, because they have always treated me well... but $1500 is quite a bit of difference on a $3200 cutter!

    I drove by the dealership in a town off Hwy 187 northwest of Ft. Worth a few months ago (Rhone? Rhome?) and saw a number of what looked like lightly used balers parked out front. I really need to give them a ring and see what they've got.

    Searching is going to be my winter project (besides cleaning up and going through all the equipment). So I haven't really gotten started in ernest, I guess...

    Chet.

  9. #9
    Silver Member chetlenox's Avatar
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    '07 JD 4520, '44 JD A

    Default Re: Does JD 328/338/348 Baler Model Matter?

    Thanks slowzuki. I will focus on condition and not on year, that's good advice. I've heard folks mention the paint wear on the auger and in the bale chute as a good indicator of the number of bales through the equipment, do you agree with that? Is there another better indicator?

    I suppose somebody could always put 30,000 bales through the thing and repaint the auger!

    Chet.

  10. #10
    Elite Member
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    Default Re: Does JD 328/338/348 Baler Model Matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by chetlenox View Post
    Darin,

    I haven't started calling yet, just browsing their on-line inventory. I bought the tractor from the guys in Cleburne, but when it came time to buy my sickle-bar, they quoted me a price $1500 more than the guys in Hillsboro! So I went down to Hillsboro to buy. To their credit, the Cleburne dealership called back a few days later and let me know that they had made a mistake and the quote should have been $1200 less than the original quote. I had already ordered from Hillsboro though, so they lost the sale. I felt bad, because they have always treated me well... but $1500 is quite a bit of difference on a $3200 cutter!

    I drove by the dealership in a town off Hwy 187 northwest of Ft. Worth a few months ago (Rhone? Rhome?) and saw a number of what looked like lightly used balers parked out front. I really need to give them a ring and see what they've got.

    Searching is going to be my winter project (besides cleaning up and going through all the equipment). So I haven't really gotten started in ernest, I guess...

    Chet.

    Cleburne and Ennis are owned by the same guys.

    Rhome did have a bunch of balers. Look on machinefinder - they have them listed on there.

    I work with Ricky down in Ennis - he is top notch.

    D.
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    DDR Longhorns
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