Anybody found a "best way" or tool/machine design to remove frozen Net Wrap from Round bales?

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Oct 3, 2019
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SE Minnesota
OK... I've upped my game this year with my bale unrolling. Last year I was feeding about 85 head, this year about 380. 2/3 of those are custom fed cattle. The cattle owner brought in bales he bought. The "quality" of the bales are "questionable" to start with, and they didn't get stored here on posts right off the field, like I normally put mine (in rows, with the bales set face to face, so posts are like a set of railroad tracks under the bales) which helps tremendously for preventing/avoiding "frozen soggy bottom bales"). So I've got spoiled bottoms, in addition to the issue caused by freezing rain that we got right after the bad blizzard over Christmas. And that means frozen netwrap on the bales, and in particular, frozen net wrap into those soggy spoiled bottoms.

Has anybody ever figured out a "good/best way" to deal with this? Been considering how one might be able to break that netwrap loose.... fluted rolls that run over the surface, pressing into/against the outside of the bale like every 3" or so, to kind of "kink" the ice? This of course would require a machine to do this... another expense... but I'm feeding quite a bit of hay (like 240 bales a month)... so it might be justified to alleviate the frustration.

I think next year I'll be bringing in those bales right off the field, and putting them on my posts. Generally, if they're fully exposed, and set in rows running N-S (NOT E-W), the snow doesn't pile up tightly around them, and the snow on top mostly blows right off. If set out in the field where the cattle will be, the rows then can also function as "windbreaks" for the cattle.
This is how it works in my world but with 2 people:

I cut the netting and if it's frozen or has a ridiculous amount of snow on top, Mr. TC (inside the warm tractor with music) will run the spear just under the netting on top & pull it off. We learned this was the most logical way to do it after I spent our first year with cattle scaling the bale ring, then the bale, and crawling under the frozen netting/snow to fling it off. While he watched. And yet our marriage is still intact.

If it's just the nasty, hard junk on the bottom of the bale, he'll raise it high enough I can essentially peel it off and chuck it to the side.
I have been taken net off a week supply before it freezes
here in Tn.Below 0 degrees Christmas Day back to 65 by New Year's Day
Yeah... that "back to 65 by New Year's Day" deal would be mighty helpful............. any chance that global warming will get us there sometime in my lifetime? On the other hand, I really appreciate having "poor man's concrete" to avoid the mud issues! Honestly, 0 degrees is just about right, if the wind is minimal.
We run into quite a bit of frozen net wrap bales in the north. Like Daneg we just pull some bales out about a week before you need them and tip them on end with the ice towards the sun. If u drop them from 10 feet or so a lot of it falls off. Spring time is the worst when they start freezing to the ground.
Dad would roll them across the cattle guard to bust the ice off, but he was only feeding 3 or 4 a week.
Yeah, that would kind of fall in line with my "fluted rolls" idea. I take one bale on my unroller on the loader, and another on my 3 pt. carrier on the back from my storage rows, out to the cattle on each trip. The 3 pt. carrier works good for taking them from the rows, even if there's a bit of drift on each side of the row (as long as they're set N-S out in an open area), cause the drift usually stays a few inches away from the bale, and blows over and away for the most part. The unroller of course carries them the other way. I "could" have something like your "cattle guard" to run them over when on the unroller... but I don't load that rear bale until the first one runs out... out in the field where the cattle are... so that "cattle guard" wouldn't be out there when I need it. Not sure what the best solution would be... other than makign sure that the bales get stored right to start with.

For the most part, the bales that I make here on the farm, that get stored on those rails right away off the field, de-net pretty easily, and unroll beautifully... it's these "brought in bales" from other suppliers storing them "in the grove" that are the problem!
We don't get any warmth from the sun til late March so my net wrapped + plastic wrap due to high moisture in October is a real frozen glob. I use most twine due to waste of net. Only way to break these bales open is with the dipper on my backhoe. Teeth on dipper slice that wrap off and then smack the frozen bale to open.
Almost everyone using net wrap now on hay we buy. We use it on haylage bales that are wrapped and sisal twine on hay.
How does the unroller on the front end loader work?

Can you just roll them across the ground a little ways to break it loose then get off and cut it/ remove? We don't get the deep freeze a lot of you guys do but generally it peels off easier than my plastic twine does. I have dropped mine before as well with pretty good luck.
Like the others said, drop it a couple times and push the loader on it from top a few times, maybe in a couple spots.
I wouldn't want to trade my twine against netwrap, that's for sure. Twine can be a pain in the rear too when it's frozen on with melting snow/freezing. But taking netwrap off would make me have a freaking fit every day.
Yes, it does help some to "roll them" on the ground with the unroller... that generally will help break the ice from a freezing rain to some degree, and it will shed pretty much all of the snow that's on top of the bale, but it won't break/kink the "soggy bottom boys" enough to let it come off in smaller pieces on those that have a big broad chunk of frozen mud. I've been doing that on the first bale (like I said, I'm not sure that anything but a flame thrower or a milling machine of some sort will appropriately terminate those muddy bottoms. Tanerite would probably do it!

To save time and steps getting in and out of the cab, I take two at a time out to the cattle, one on the unroller on the front, and one on a 3 pt. 2 prong spear carrier on the back. When I get there, I roll that front bale with the net still on it on the ground if it's got some snow on top or frozen rain ice on the wrap etc., lift it up off the ground a bit, then get out and cut the net on BOTH bales and remove it (so that back bale won't have been rolled on the ground...)........ saves me having to get out again another time to remove the net on the second bale. Works well if it's not frozen.... I can just cut the net on the front bale on the back side, lift one end up over the top, and pull... the bale just rolls then as I pull the net off the bottom and it pretty much comes off clean without any hay or anything.... UNLESS THAT BOTTOM IS A BIG THICK CHUNK OF FROZEN MUD! (That's why I set my bales on those "railroad track posts"... keeps the bales up off the ground... MUCH cleaner and seldom have any frozen mud or anything on the bottom..., and helps it to keep its round shape better, makes for easy bale picking and much easier net removal). On the back one, because the 3 pt. spear lift is holding it all well up off the ground, I cut it on the side and then pull it off around the bottom first (because this bale won't roll when I pull on the netwrap), then let the 3 pt. down onto the ground (no netwrap underneath the bale now), and pull it off over the top (have to let it down because you can't reach over the top of the bale when it's up in the air). 3 pt. holds it up high enough that I can crawl under easily to pull it off the bottom... (i.e.: I can crawl around under the bale easily... doesn't make it any easier to pull the net out of a frozen muddy bottom:mad:).

Then when the first bale runs out, I just drop the back one off on the ground on the go, swing around and reload the unroller, and start unrolling again. Pretty efficient, non-mechanical system. Biggest time consumer (if you don't have badly frozen net wrap) is the dead-heading to/from the storage area for more hay. Last year I was thinking of trying to carry up to 3 bales on the back with duals on the tractor... but I've decided that won't be a good solution, because of difficulty with snow drifts, and having to load the 3 pt. carrier three wide... duals, and loading 3 wide, would put your tractor right into the thick of the snow banks that normally are formed on each side of the bale row. If you keep it as a single wide bale with single wheels, you back into the row centered right where the bales were set (straddling the "railroad tracks"), with your rear tires then just catching the snow bank a little. For the most part, on a N-S row out in the open at least, there's usually about a 6" space on each side of the bale row... just enough to allow you to remove the bales without having to get rid of the snow. And most of the snow blows off of their tops. Different story if you set them in an E-W row though.... the snow banks then are usually right up against the bales.

I'm feeding 240 bales a month this way right now. If I didn't have to deal with muddy frozen bottoms, more wouldn't be an issue at all. All are fed rolled out all across my summer pastures. I can put the soil amendments anywhere I want to, and as heavily or lightly as I want to. No dead "bale ring" spots anywhere, only positives for the pasture the next year. No manure to haul. No lots to clean. No TMR to have to maintain, and spend time "grinding", etc. Nothing but time on my tractor, which is getting a pretty light load on it, to wear out. Nothing to have to have room for in the shed but my tractor either. Only one self-contained, self-propelled rig to have to keep plugged in so it will start.
Almost everyone using net wrap now on hay we buy. We use it on haylage bales that are wrapped and sisal twine on hay.
I only use sisal at this point but have wondered about net on haylage. Seem like we often get parts of the outside of the bale that freezes, do you ever have an issue with it freezing on?
I've got a hay barn now but before I had that I would set aside a week's worth of hay and cover it with a tarp, that would usually get me through the winter without having to feed haysicles.
With the amount of hay you're feeding it would take a good sized tarp.
I've got a hay barn now but before I had that I would set aside a week's worth of hay and cover it with a tarp, that would usually get me through the winter without having to feed haysicles.
With the amount of hay you're feeding it would take a good sized tarp.
Yup... it would take a pretty good sized barn as well! I'm aiming to avoid all of that added overhead. The problem comes in with the guys that SUPPLY me the hay... my system works pretty well if the bales arrive here in the summer right off the field. IF they'd just adopt what I do to keep them in good shape, then we wouldn't have an issue!

And of course, whatever "I" do HAS to be right!!! :rolleyes:

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