Large vs. Small Round Bales

Help Support CattleToday:

badaxemoo

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 27, 2006
Messages
317
Reaction score
0
Location
Driftless Wisconsin
I'm thinking about switching from a square baler to a round baler. I still like putting up squares and have a couple of boys who will be big enough to help me in the near future, but I would like the time and labor savings.

My question is:

What are some of the upsides and downsides of smaller round bales (800-1000) vs. larger (1500+).

I might be putting up hay on shares on a farm ten miles away, so I was thinking the larger bales would be more efficient, but will also require me to have an upgrade in tractor hp. I think I would also have less loss during outdoor storage, although with my grassy hay, I don't seem to lose a lot anyway.

Are there any advantages to the smaller round bales?

Any reccomendations on balers. I was thinking of looking at a JD430.



Thanks.
 

Workinonit Farm

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 4, 2004
Messages
7,153
Reaction score
1
Location
Ctrl Virginia
You may get more (as in quantity) help if this were posted on the equipment and machinery board.

I'm sorry I cannot recommend what type of baler.

I use both round and small squares for various reasons, so, sorry I'm not too helpful with that.

Katherine
 

denoginnizer

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 10, 2005
Messages
1,239
Reaction score
0
Location
Alabama
The big ones mash the air out of small tractor tires and arent as safe to move with small tractors. The small ones sell better to non farmer types because you can charge less and many hobby farmers just buy the cheapest rolls. They dont acout for the extra weight.
 

dirtdoctor

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 26, 2008
Messages
62
Reaction score
0
Location
North-Central WV
I've been considering this same question. I like the 5' bales because it saves me trips when i"m hauling them in, I don't have to feed as often and I "think" there's less waste. I like the 4'ers because I don't use all of my hay and their easier to haul legal. With that said, I still haven't decided what size to get.

One thing about hauling the bales make sure your gates are wide enough to get the load through, my neighbor went to 4'ers because he had to unload the trailer at his cattle chute because the wagon loaded w/ 5'ers were too wide to go thru where he needed to go. He was tramming those bales about 1000 ft with the tractor!
 

rusty

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 27, 2009
Messages
348
Reaction score
0
Location
Duck,WV
I like the smaller ones because I can get more on trailers to haul also as someone else posted they are easier to sell because you can manhandle them for custumers who don't own tractors.Not much experance with round balers myself to give a recommadation but I have a hesston and so far it is is to adjust and change belts.I would recommend a electric tie on it after baling awhile pulling a rope gets tiresome.
 

backhoeboogie

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 16, 2006
Messages
14,984
Reaction score
27
Location
Texas
Mostly it depends on your operation, your equipment, and what you want.

People will argue it both ways. To me it is kind of like the old Ford vs Chevy thing.

If the hay is good hay, the cows don't really care :D
 

Angus Cowman

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 12, 2008
Messages
7,157
Reaction score
0
Location
the Great State of Mental Distress ( Florida)
To start with I like the 4x5 bales because of handling and I also custom bale and that is what my customers want and most people when buying hay around here buy it by the bale and if I have a 4x5 for $35 and a 5X5 for $45 they will buy the 4x5 9 out of 10 times

as far as balers go I would either buy a New holland or a John Deere jsut my preference

what size tractor do you have?
 

hillrancher

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 20, 2007
Messages
865
Reaction score
0
Location
Arkansas
I like the larger bail. Less trips out of the field moving, less spoil if stored out side, less time feeding, neighbors don't want to borrow because they are too big for their small tractors to handle. If you are going to sell or custom bail, big bail will lose you money. Most people don't know large bail from small.
 

Aaron

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 26, 2005
Messages
5,220
Reaction score
12
Location
Stratton, ON, Canada
Large bales are extremely hard on the wear and tear on a loader. Even 1000 lb. bales are hard on them when riding over rough roads or frozen cow patties. Neighbour has a little 4x4 Badger baler that makes a bale about 600 lbs. A real pleasure to handle.

Also, small bales cure better and allow for higher moisture feed to be baled without spoiling. Neighbour can usually bale a day before us, and end up with same quality hay. We produce a 4x5, 1000 lb. bale.

If I had a handler and a shed to put them in, I would put up small squares entirely. Not only do small squares have better quality (due to little leaf loss), you can hand them out piece meal without letting the cows gorge themselves. Neighbour used to feed 6 squares, morning and night, to 20 cows. He still maintains, as others do, that although it is more labour intensive, it can save a pile of money without hurting the cows any. :cowboy:
 

kenny thomas

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 16, 2008
Messages
11,079
Reaction score
1,075
Location
SW tip of Virginia
Aaron, we too fed small bales for years and I have noticed how much more hay it seems to take now. I still feed every day, just the amount I think they need, round bales, stored in the barn, but it still does not seem the same.
 

SRBeef

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 22, 2007
Messages
2,931
Reaction score
1
Location
SW Wisconsin
hillrancher":7yajq6om said:
I like the larger bail. Less trips out of the field moving, less spoil if stored out side, less time feeding, neighbors don't want to borrow because they are too big for their small tractors to handle. If you are going to sell or custom bail, big bail will lose you money. Most people don't know large bail from small.

I agree with HR, if they are for your own use the 5 ft wide x 6 ft dia round bales are less labor to feed, can have less spoilage per ton because of less surface area, fit most feeders, etc. Of course it depends on your tractor to handle. It doesn't take a huge tractor to handle them safely but it does take some planning. I have a 95 hp tractor with a Quicke loader on front and a Cat 2 3-point double spear on the back. Very safe to transport with the bale on the rear.

edit: Aaron - this loader has an acummulator (sp?) on the front which cushions it when running on rough roads etc like a spring. Maybe you can add an acumulator to yours, they help.

I spear one with the rear then turn around and pick up another on the front spear. Drive to the feeders, place the loader bale first, turn around and set the rear one right in front of the feeder where it is going then just lift and place the second bale. I can do that without one on the rear. If necessary you can put some fluid or wts in your rear wheels.

The fellow that I buy hay from makes very tight 1500 lb 5x6 bales.

As we have discussed in other posts, I had a lot of spoilage over last winter but am using plastic bale sleeves now with the bales pushed tight end to end. Had almost no spoilage in bales just fed this week.

Here's is a picture:



I had a neighbor make some smaller bales of my own hay last year and it seemed like I was forever going around picking them up, moving them and feeding them. A lot of unnecessary soil compaction driving around with a couple 800-1000 bales rather than 1500-1600 lb bales. Almost twice as many trips to handle the same tons of hay. Maybe your equipment situation works out different but I want minimum trips and minimum soil compaction. jmho.

on edit: Badaxe, I must be not too far south of you. Also reread your post about the 10 mi transport of bales. Depending on your terrain and what truck you have available, you might want to consider a 6 or 8 bale transport trailer. These work well with larger bales. As long as you are on local roads for those 10 mi. Good luck.
 

cypressfarms

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 5, 2005
Messages
3,473
Reaction score
27
Location
New Roads, LA
badaxemoo":bz4ckl0y said:
so I was thinking the larger bales would be more efficient, but will also require me to have an upgrade in tractor hp.

That would decide it for me; if your going to have to get another tractor, then go with the smaller. Just one less expense you'll have to pay for.
 

hayray

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 4, 2006
Messages
1,058
Reaction score
0
Location
Southern Michigan
I bale the 4x4 rounds and a lot of small squares. I sell the vast majority of my hay and the 4x4s bring more money. Even with a 100 hp loader tractor handling the amount of 4x4s I do is still hard on the tractor front end. The modern FWA tractors have a much heavier duty front end. And then what Arron stated, the 4x4s do cure a lot better if you are selling this is a big issue. Storring hay outside and uncovered then the larger the better.
 

Jalopy

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 16, 2008
Messages
1,759
Reaction score
0
Location
Central Iowa- USA
Just a thought but some of the John Deere balers are capable of making 4 X6 upto 5 X 6 bales. You can adjust as your needs require and as you get experience or equipment.
 

Brute 23

Brute 23
CT Supporter
Joined
Apr 19, 2007
Messages
9,573
Reaction score
1,056
Location
Gulf Coast of South Texas
cypressfarms":t21yjy4u said:
badaxemoo":t21yjy4u said:
so I was thinking the larger bales would be more efficient, but will also require me to have an upgrade in tractor hp.

That would decide it for me; if your going to have to get another tractor, then go with the smaller. Just one less expense you'll have to pay for.

My thinking also. :)
 

dun

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 28, 2003
Messages
47,334
Reaction score
6
Location
MO Ozarks
If the bales will be hauled on the roads I prefer a 4X5. 2 bales wide on the tralier beats one row. I don;t like the anything X 6. 4X6 won;t stand in edge in the field unless it's absolutely level and they over fill the bale ring so that the cows tend to reach in and pull a mouthful then pull their head out rather then keep their head inside.
 

grannysoo

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 29, 2007
Messages
4,813
Reaction score
0
Location
The Briar Patch
If you are going to use them 100% yourself, nothing wrong with a 5x5 provided you have enough tractor. If you are planning on selling it, the 5x5 can be a problem. When you start loading a tractor trailer with 5x5 bales, you are then 10 feet wide which will require an oversize permit. Around here, the DOT does not like to issue them for hauling hay....
 

Toby L.

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 3, 2008
Messages
197
Reaction score
0
Location
north central minnesota
I bale 4x4's, It works good for me using a 50 horse tractor. There easier to move around also, seems like when I buy the bigger ones, I end up fighting the equiptment to much. I can fit 12 or them on the trailer I use, plus 2 in the back of my truch. With the bigger one I can only fit 5 on the trailor and 1 in my truck. It looks like a lot more but I bet pound for pound, it's not much difference, just easier on everything. Last year I ended up buying hay, the guy I was buying from was having them delivered from up north, and the last load that he bought were some big 1800 pound bales. Them things would barely fit in my bales rings, and were a pain to try to move around. :( This year I want to make more small squares, there better for throwing out in the smaller pens, I just have to find someone to help put them up. As far as selling, I havn't had that opportiny yet. Hopefully next summer. :)
 

Devin

Well-known member
Joined
May 1, 2004
Messages
120
Reaction score
0
I like the biggest round bale I can get. They seem to spoil less outside, less trips to haul, and they last longer in the feeder. I work two jobs and farm any time I can save is important. I had a guy roll some 5x5 bales for me last year and I didn't think I was ever going to get them all hauled in and then they would disappear in no time once in the feeder. I don't sell any hay thought so I might feel differently if I did. Just my two cents.
 

Latest posts

Top