farmtek hydroponic fodder systems and mini round balers

   / farmtek hydroponic fodder systems and mini round balers #1  

leonz

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I am wondering out loud here, could a fodder feed like the hydroponic fodder grown in the farmtek
fodder growing system be dried, injected with a preservative while baling it in a Wolagri round mini baler
and then wrapped in plastic and safely fed to livestock?
 
   / farmtek hydroponic fodder systems and mini round balers #2  

Kiwibru

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Interesting concept but I would imagine the movement of the fodder from the hydroponic system into windrows and picking it up with the baler / wrapper would be the major stumbling block. Better to think of upgrading your forage harvest system with some nutrient management scenarios for higher soil health, then adding diversity to the forage field you have. That will give you a better haylage product and your energy is moving in one system that is integrated already. That is how it worked for us. Harvested product health went out the roof after a few years of soil testing, application of needed fertilization and fall no-till planting after a flailing to add diversity of species. Switched to an integrated R500 Combi baler/wrapper after twelves years of running two different implements, R500 Wolagri baler, FW500 three-point mounted wrapper. Cut the processing time by at least 40% and on a good day by half.
 
   / farmtek hydroponic fodder systems and mini round balers
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leonz

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Gooday Kiwibru,

Thanks for providing me with your experience with forage.

How was your experience with the Walagri baler tarnished by making bales and
using a separate bale wrapper?

Was your moving to a baler wrapper unit more of a time saving item rather than having to go back on the field a second time to wrap the bales and risk losing good haylage with rapid weather changes on San Juan Island weather being the factor for the switch??

It has been well over a decade since I looked at the Wolagri mini balers and met the nice fellow from Pennsylvania that was importing them to sell them nationwide while I attended the Empire Farm Days in New York at the Rodman Lott Farm in Waterloo, New York.

Are you using natural sisal baling twine or the polyethylene baling twine with your mini baler?

Are you happy with the quality of the knotters and the knives on their mini balers?

Do you use a leaf blower and a heavy high velocity shop vac to clean the bale chamber, the knotters and the twine box?

Are they using a heavy Euro Cardan PTO shaft on their mini balers?

Is the baler belt they use a standard size round baler belt that you can splice easily with a belt splicer and staple splices?

I was wandering in my thought process into drying and pelletizing the hydroponic forage as an option and how well the root structure at the base
of the hydroponic grown seedling plant would tolerate drying as the bottom growth is white as it was not exposed to light.

BUT once again the devil is in the details; (1) what condition the pelletized forage would be in after drying in a heat tunnel (2) then shredded, (3) pelletized,
(4) and how well it would tolerate long term storage in heavy open mouth triple-wall paper-bags.

The issue would be one of volume in any case as having enough forage for a profitable enterprise would require a huge number of grow houses or a very
large vertical multi-floor growing house that could be heated with overhead dry steam heat on each floor. and a steam heated food grade conveyor
drying tunnel before it is shredded, baled, cubed or pelletized.

Drying, cutting the fodder with a harvester head and cubing the hydroponic fodder would involve a ring cubing press and using the same dry steam heat source from a
coal stoker boiler with a double drop header to make dry steam used for the grow house, a mini baler with a preservative injector and a bale wrapper.


Thanks much ,

LeonZ
 
   / farmtek hydroponic fodder systems and mini round balers #4  

Kiwibru

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Leon, Our move from the two implement system was based upon several factors. Timing was one of them. Having to divide a field into quarter sections and not mow down too much before moving the baler into the field to p.u. the windrows, bale the windrow and then hurry back to swap out to the wrapper and return within the 24 hour period to wrap was always hard. The bales tended to dry out a bit too much on the outside. The second reason was my wife, who has been bale flipper laborer, into the lift arm and cradle of the wrapper, started to develop knee pain after a session and it was evident we needed another solution to continue the seasonal harvest for our sheep operation. As luck would have it a neighboring farmer couple much younger than us wanted to buy the Wolagri R500 baler and the RW500 wrapper. That helped supplement the purchase of the new Combi which we saved up for for two years.

Both of these balers use HDPE netting, 24" wide which we buy by the pallet from Farmers Net Wrap (UK) who have a subsidiary manufacturer in Kansas.
The baler does not use knives. Forage length is critical but we mostly cut, wrap and bale in the early part of May. Mow into windrows, bale and wrap. If the forage gets away from us we use a Falc flail mower set high to top the forage, then mow into windrows. Basically you are swapping raking for flailing in that situation. Stretch wrap can be 10" or up to 15" which we have sourced from Canada, and the U.S. through Protexia who handle the Rani stretch wrap from Finland. The Canadians at SilaGrow sell a Chinese product that works well too. Both netting and stretch wrap we clean off and dry when pulling a bale to feed. It gets stuffed into plastic garbage bags and taken to the recycling drop off on the mainland every year.

The baler and wrapper module both uses metric chain in 10B and 12B sizes. Baler three loops on the right side under the cover and two on the left. Chains can last up to three years if you give them a good lube at the beginning of the season and adjust tension and re-lube after 100 or so bales. After the third season chains are swapped out with new chain. This preserves the cogs much better as chains do stretch with use. Much like a motorcycle or bicycle chain and similar maintenance. Chains drive rollers with steel cogs that are aluminum with solid steel shafts mounted in the frame with sealed bearings, no belts. Wrapper module is hydraulic driven connected to rear remotes and the whole Combi has an electronic control module that mounts in the tractor and is wired into a separate 12V circuit to the battery of the tractor. An add on that helps is a rear mounted camera that is magnetically held on to the Combi hydraulic switch box and points back towards the wrapper so you can monitor the wrapping sequence from the tractor while rolling up the next bale to drop into the wrapper after the current wrapping bale is finished and dropped onto the ground.

Use compressed air to blow all the dust and forage residue from the chamber, rollers and under the sides where the cogs and chains run and other areas that hold on to this debris. The bearings in the unit are all sealed type and the original baler we had did over 5200 bales in a ten year period, each weighing around 100-110 lb. as haylage at 45-50% moisture with no problems. Very heavy duty machine that produces a great 28" diameter X 36" high bale. Compared to the other brands such as Abbriatta or Star, the Wolagri bale size is slightly larger which is great when it comes to feeding time. Fits perfectly in a Rubbermaid barn cart so you don't need to fetch the tractor to load them up, move from the stack to the feed area at the barn. Great work out for the muscles and fun.

We have had very good luck with Wolagri/Tonutti. Parts come directly from Italy and a lot of the metric parts are obtainable in the U.S. if needed like chain. The company stands behind their product too.

The hydroponic fodder system that I have seen is used at a small dairy on the mainland where they use barley and sprout it in large, long half pipes under LED lights. Taking that from the half pipes to the feeders is how they use it. They also feed haylage. Two different systems combined. I really don't know how one would try to bale it and ferment it as a haylage product without a lot of thought out adaptations and additional machinery. As a single source feed it just doesn't make sense.
 
   / farmtek hydroponic fodder systems and mini round balers
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leonz

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Hello Kiwibro,

I am late coming to this but I appreciate the time you have taken to answer my questions.
My age being 68 may well put a damper on how much I can do I guess but I am glad that
we have been able to chat.

Leon
 
   / farmtek hydroponic fodder systems and mini round balers #6  

Kiwibru

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Well heck, that is young! I am 72 and still going strong and I am happy to have spent the last ten years of my life fine tuning the harvesting system we use for our grass fed sheep operation. Glad you enjoyed the discussion. I did too.
 
 
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