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Implement Alley Discussion Forum

Need baler for 10-15 acres grass hay

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05-27-2020 16:11:35

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Been looking online on opinions and likes and dislikes of various balers. I have used a MF 124 the last couple of years that I borrowed from a kind neighbor. Did a good job of making bales and not missing too many knots. Much nicer than mine old worn out Oliver. After looking at online comments and talking to the neighbor one question that I have is which NH or JohnnDeere do I stay away from because parts are hard to get or impossible to get. Read about 200 series and 300 series NH being good ( my price range) and also the 300 series john deere being good. Open to MF balers also. Just seems to be more NH JD for sale here in Washington Get into the newer balers and price goes up and HP require to go up. Baling tractor is 37 hp
Will borrow neighbors again this year but want to have mine own for next year.

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05-29-2020 16:45:22

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 Re: Need baler for 10-15 acres grass hay in reply to mtjohnso, 05-27-2020 16:11:35  
It seems like different balers are popular in different areas of the country so my first piece of advice to you would be to look around in your own area and see if you observe that most guys with a few acres are using a New Holland 310 (just as an example). You did almost bury the lead in your story by mentioning that the New Holland 2XX and 3XX series were in your budget. I take that to mean you can go about $3000 or $4000 tops. Again, those balers will sell for different money in different areas of the country. With that in mind and having no idea of what is going on 2000 miles away in Washington, Id say look for a NH273 or JD336.

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05-28-2020 18:56:29

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 Re: Need baler for 10-15 acres grass hay in reply to mtjohnso, 05-27-2020 16:11:35  
Any brand can have problems, dealer and parts can be a big concern but if one doesn't have to have OEM only parts there are a lot of aftermarket parts are available for the older major brand balers, if consistent uniform bales are preferred try one of the in-line versions Case IH,Hesston Massey Ferguson all of which are Hesston design.

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05-28-2020 08:06:25

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 Re: Need baler for 10-15 acres grass hay in reply to mtjohnso, 05-27-2020 16:11:35  
Jd or NH would suit you nice. Have had both and now have JD and a Hesston in-line. Will probably sell one of my JD's this fall if interested.

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05-28-2020 05:07:33

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 Re: Need baler for 10-15 acres grass hay in reply to mtjohnso, 05-27-2020 16:11:35  
You would be very happy with a Deere 336. Parts support from Deere is good and there is a place in NY that specializes in Deere balers. They rebuild knotters and also have lots of aftermarket parts built. Even a good 24t would work for the few acres you have but a 336 would be better. Tom

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05-28-2020 07:47:13

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 Re: Need baler for 10-15 acres grass hay in reply to tomstractorsandtoys, 05-28-2020 05:07:33  
I will second the 336 JD. I have owned one for about 15 years and have had excellent luck with it. Have had to do a few repairs but not bad. I have owned a 24t JD as well as an International 47 and an Oliver 520 and have a lot of experience with NH balers (277,276 and 320), and have worked on a couple more. To me three considerations are in order- condition of the specific balers you are looking at, basic models durability and parts support. In my area JD has all three covered the best. Price of JD 336 balers has been slowly dropping (along with all other older square balers) due to age and less demand. Good luck.

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Tx Jim

05-28-2020 03:25:21

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 Re: Need baler for 10-15 acres grass hay in reply to mtjohnso, 05-27-2020 16:11:35  
A large % of the parts on a JD small sq baler produced today will fit on earlier models such as a 336 or 346 which were introduced in 1971.

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05-27-2020 18:58:17

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 Re: Need baler for 10-15 acres grass hay in reply to mtjohnso, 05-27-2020 16:11:35  
Trying to bale with a neighbours 200 series NH years ago with my Dad's Dexta 2000, I found that with the hay being tough at all I just didn't have the horse power to not sheer pins. I have a NH 67 witch matches well with what is I believe about a 32 horse tractor.

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Bill VA

05-27-2020 16:58:58

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 Re: Need baler for 10-15 acres grass hay in reply to mtjohnso, 05-27-2020 16:11:35  
You are on the right track. Avoid the NH 310. Any of the 300 series JD balers are very good. NH 273, 276, 311, 315 and 316 IMHO are very good balers.

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Absent Minded Farmer

05-27-2020 16:37:40

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 Re: Need baler for 10-15 acres grass hay in reply to mtjohnso, 05-27-2020 16:11:35  
My NH 269 was a good baler. There are still quite a few parts available for it. Even some of the tin, which is surprising. My IH 47 baler has always been a good one, but you would have to find one that isn't a Monday or Friday unit. Those balers are either right on the money or should have been scrapped when the were sitting new on the factory lot in Memphis.


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05-27-2020 18:07:30

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 Re: Need baler for 10-15 acres grass hay in reply to Absent Minded Farmer, 05-27-2020 16:37:40  
I called a local NH dealer today, and he said that some parts are no longer available new. I said that Id figure that what would need to be replaced would be in the knotter system, and he said that there again, some of the parts are no longer available

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05-28-2020 01:03:05

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 Re: Need baler for 10-15 acres grass hay in reply to Farmallb, 05-27-2020 18:07:30  
I don't claim to be an expert but I have been working on two NHs balers, a 68 and a S68 manufactured in 1958-1960. In neither case are the knotters a problem and you can still source them over here in the UK (probably a lot easier in the US). Having said that, they are expensive and replacement of a compete unit unlikely to be financially justifiable - walk away and find another example.

3 areas have gone on these old balers:
1. The wooden runners (aka bearings) that the plunger sides on in theses two models. Most later ones use conventional roller bearings. Having said that I just made a new set of runners myself from a chunk of English Oak - total outlay zero. The cost of replacing roller bearings will be much higher and they may be difficult to find.
2. The tin work. This is 60 years old, it has been rained on, stored outside or brought damp into a shed and stored inside in which case it rusts faster!. You need to look very carefully. seems anything below the waistline (as it were) is suspect (so you have to crawl around underneath). 12 of 13 pickup guards were rusted to varying degrees - not worth replacing (at about UKú25 each) but actually easily fixable with some aluminium sheet for almost no cost. The base of the feeder chamber and the base of the twine chamber were both corroded. Fortunately these are basically flat panels. I one case I'm patching with 2mm sheet, in the other fabricating a new panel. With basically flat panels no sweat, anything complex and you will have to be a metalworking guru and dab hand with a welder! Needless to say, NONE of the tinwork is now available as spares (and is prohibitively expensive). Another critical area is the underside of the plunger chamber. The plunger chamber and chute are a single welded assembly and the base seems to rust (not unsurprisingly). This is pretty substantial metal so a decent welder would be able to fix it. Also have problems with the needle pivot yoke where it pivots on the sides of the chute - surrounding metal rusted through. Still trying to decide if that is easily fixable. My sense is that noticeable rust in critical high load areas on the chamber and chute is a reason to walk away.
3. Bearings. this probably depends on previous greasing. Most of mine are pretty reasonable but difficult and expensive to replace unless you can find alternative parts from a specialist bearing supplier. I have replaced the tine bar roller bearings to eliminate slop and noise, but that was inexpensive. Same goes for chains and sprockets - if they have been well greased should be ok, otherwise expensive and hard to source.

My sense is that things like haydog springs will always have to be replaced, along with some pick up tines - but these need to be regarded as consumables and appear to be common across multiple models.

Bottom line, be very sure before messing with the knotters. You can see the shape they are in, they can be adjusted and appear pretty robust. They are also on the top out of the crap in the hay field. They either tie or not and knot failures are just as likely to be due to the tine bars not packing the hay into the chamber evenly, the plunger out of alignment, the knives blunt etc. The real problems tend to lurk out of sight.

Obviously newer is better than older (easier parts availability), but condition is key. Looking at the parts books the design of these balers has remained pretty consistent over the decades (i wouldn't want hydraulics for bale tension etc) which indicates a sound design, but they are all getting old now and will increasingly need TLC and a willingness and ability to fix things that cannot be replaced.

On a more general note it would be good to hear from others about common failure areas they have found across the makes and models and the relative problem of fixing them. I have started a new thread to collect this.

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Absent Minded Farmer

05-27-2020 18:29:16

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 Re: Need baler for 10-15 acres grass hay in reply to Farmallb, 05-27-2020 18:07:30  
You have 269? What parts are you looking for? I can still find most all of the parts for the knotters including complete assemblies.


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