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Implement Alley Discussion Forum

Hay handling, Pros and Cons

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08-29-2009 07:30:49

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I am running out of help for baling small square bales, just like everyone else so I am considering something different. Accumulators are interesting but you then have to get the grabber for your loader which can double the cost. Then once you grab the bales, do you put them on a wagon that then has to be unloaded by hand? Or drive all the way to the barn to drop your bales? A bale wagon, like a New Holland is very pricey but eliminates the need for the grabber and puts the hay right where you want it. 30 years ago we figured that it cost a nickel everytime you had to pick up a bale so today I would assume it would be 10 cents or more. It seems to me that the bale wagon would be the answer to this problem. Has anyone had to make this decision? Anyone had experience with a bale wagon?

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08-31-2009 10:17:26

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 Re: Hay handling, Pros and Cons in reply to haymaker421, 08-29-2009 07:30:49  
I like my accumulator and grabber. I've never used a bale wagon. Suggestion: If possible, get someone to come in with both systems and compare and see for yourself.

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08-29-2009 17:50:11

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 Re: Hay handling, Pros and Cons in reply to haymaker421, 08-29-2009 07:30:49  
You are correct in your analysis about either. I've done it both ways. Both work well for what they are designed to do. My biggest problem with the accumulator is broken bales. With the bale wagon at least if their is one broken you can at least tell where it is, skip over it, and go back later to rebale it. If I want to stay with small squares for serious I've got to buy a baler. My 336 JD is looking at 200,000 bales in the rearview and I'm not dropping 20 grand in a new square baler.

For me, the simplest solution was to sell both, cut back to 3000-5000 a year, and get some guys to hand handle it. I try to schedule a couple of guys after work for a run of 300-500. Pay them a quarter a bale to load it and a quarter a bale to unload it.

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08-29-2009 11:30:18

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 Re: Hay handling, Pros and Cons in reply to haymaker421, 08-29-2009 07:30:49  
I use NH balewagons and for us it's just the berries. I do have a shed to back into and stack. Done right and the stack stays put quite well. Even better if your wagon does the crosstie and most of the bigger ones do, Mine doesn't.

If you don't have a shed to stack in and need to hand stack then a bale basket or an accumulator might be better

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Flurette Farm

08-29-2009 11:03:38

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 Re: Hay handling, Pros and Cons in reply to haymaker421, 08-29-2009 07:30:49  
I have both a bale wagon (NH 1012) and an accumulator and I havenít hooked up the bale wagon in years. The main reason being that my bale wagon will tilt up in my barn but you wind up with bales all over the place.(they donít stack well) Bale wagons are just about as pickie about the type of bale theyíll handle as an accumulator is. With either you must have a baler that puts out decent bales of set lengths and firmness. Bale wagons are quick to load but the off loading is the problem. Again you must take the load to the barn or hay shed anyway or make stack in the field to be picked up later.
I have an old Farmhand 8 bale accumulator that works wonderful. I also have 2 sets of 8 bale grabs or bale forks for loaders. The normal scenario would be after baling pull 2 trailers to the field with a tractor with the bale grab. (it will look like a train). Locate and unhook trailers. Load both. (if needed relocate) 30 min. for both
Return with both to the hay barn.
Off load with bale fork (grab) and stack in barn. 30 min per wagon.
I seldom ever touch a bale and thatís the way I want it. When customers come with large trailers I load them directly out of the barn with the bale grab as a favor to them. Small trailers they load their selves. Some of mine I take directly from the field to barn with the tractor and stack it as I gather because my barns are centrally located in the fields. I have 39 hundred invested in the accumulator and 2 sets of grabs but, this way I can do it all myself and donít have to depend on people who donít show up.
The bottom line is you have to do what will work for you. Good luck whatever you decide.

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Larry NE IL

08-29-2009 11:02:03

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 Re: Hay handling, Pros and Cons in reply to haymaker421, 08-29-2009 07:30:49  
If your hay fields are nearby and you can drive intoyour barn/storage area I think it's hard to beat an accumulator and bale grab. If everything has to be hand stacked into a mow, then a thrower and bale basket are probably better.

I just love my accumulator and grab. If there aren't any broken strings, I never touch a bale loading wagons or unloading and stacking with my skid steer.

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08-29-2009 07:56:47

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 Re: Hay handling, Pros and Cons in reply to haymaker421, 08-29-2009 07:30:49  
We use a New Holland 1000 bale wagon and have been very happy with it. The thing is not much to look at and the pick up has more welds than an aircraft carrier, but it picks bales well. If I was to buy another one it would be a larger model that stacks 3 bales wide instead of 2 like ours. They can be a little pricey for sure but they are a pleasure to use provided your bales are tight and uniform. have a good one.

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