Let the unrolling begin..

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CalumetFarms

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I have a question, this is the first year I'm trying unrolling, it seemed simple enough.
When I start unrolling the first layer or two shed off fine, then the bale stops peeling off and becomes basically a hard slick cylinder.
I get out and hack through it some, another layer or so comes off then it does it again (that will get old quick).
If I turn sharp, making the bale skid sideways against the ground, it helps loosen it up temporarily. The slower I go seems better, so I'm in B3 or B4.
I'm going forward or backward because these twine bales are difficult to identify direction until I see which way works, or doesn't.
My bales are real tight, but these have a fair bit of clover, seems to be kind of matted.
1129211636b.jpg
 

jltrent

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I have the same one as above. Some hay can be harder to unroll than others, but most if you get the right direction it unrolls like it was rolled up.
 

anewcomer

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Look up the Greg Judy video on proper unrolling. Look for “pet the cat”. Kinda counter intuitive.
 

callmefence

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I have a question, this is the first year I'm trying unrolling, it seemed simple enough.
When I start unrolling the first layer or two shed off fine, then the bale stops peeling off and becomes basically a hard slick cylinder.
I get out and hack through it some, another layer or so comes off then it does it again (that will get old quick).
If I turn sharp, making the bale skid sideways against the ground, it helps loosen it up temporarily. The slower I go seems better, so I'm in B3 or B4.
I'm going forward or backward because these twine bales are difficult to identify direction until I see which way works, or doesn't.
My bales are real tight, but these have a fair bit of clover, seems to be kind of matted.
View attachment 10664
That's very typical for hay that's been rolled up a little wet.
 
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chaded

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I have to ask with that much grass why are you feeding hay?

I have a couple rolls that are outside I’m just trying to get rid of. I have around 150 bales in the barn as well and I’m going to end up selling most of them probably because I have about 15 acres or so of untouched stockpiled fescue on top of several acres of grass left that they are on now.

I‘ve also just been itching to use the bale unroller again.
 

kenny thomas

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I have a couple rolls that are outside I’m just trying to get rid of. I have around 150 bales in the barn as well and I’m going to end up selling most of them probably because I have about 15 acres or so of untouched stockpiled fescue on top of several acres of grass left that they are on now.

I‘ve also just been itching to use the bale unroller again.
Hahaha, ok. That i do understand.
 

RDFF

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I've been unrolling now for 2 years, homemade unroller that I can put on my skid loader or tractor loader. Skid loader has tracks, so works good if conditions are bad or deep snow, tractor is nicer to work with because it gets me back away from the bale and up higher, so I can see over it and know where I'm going better. Cattle are as much as 2 miles from home, so the tractor is nicer for to/from them, cause I don't need to start the pickup, load and haul over there with a trailer. That means that the bales have to be stored by the cattle though, instead of at a central bale yard. And no matter where you store them, if you're unrolling, you end up covering alot of ground... so the bales just are NEVER in the BEST location to help minimize "travel distance" when feeding. If you haul them with you to the cattle, the bales will ALWAYS be in the best spot for that day for unrolling to help minimize "travel distance". Not entirely uncommon for me to cover nearly a quarter mile when unrolling a single bale... so it's easy to see how the "animal access" to hay is dramatically better when bales are unrolled, or why bringing the bales with you can save a considerably amount of time.

At least here in Minnesota, usually you can pick your days to unroll, even in spring or fall, when the ground is frozen or dry enough to not leave tracks, for the most part. We unrolled 11 bales in the last 2 days, and then limit feed them with a polywire. Expecting 8-10" of snow tomorrow, with temps into the 40's again next week, so most of it will melt.

I'm working on revamping my unroller design now, so that I can insert the spikes more reliably centered from the tractor seat. My unroller is currently more like the Greg Judy design, where you need to drive the spikes in, ...and reliably hitting the center of the bale then usually means several "positioning attempts", if you want to get it right..... (or having your daughter there to help you, see below........ :) ). I can run my spikes right down close to the ground (about 3"), so most of the time, there's hardly any core left at all, and alot of the time, it just falls off between the spikes when I lift the loader on the go. I've got about 20" of space between the ends of the spikes. When I'm done rebuilding it, I'll be able to just "open" them, and the core will drop out, like it does with the "clamp type" unrollers. This is a bale clamp that I built for small square bales (held 36 bales, could put them in the barn, retrieve them, and load a trailer with them), so the wings on the ends were built to slide in/out hydraulically, however, I took the cylinders out and just "fixed" the width for a 5' bale. It wouldn't open wide enough to get the spikes out around the bale to just squeeze them in hydraulically... My custom grazed herd owner brought me 4' bales this year... they don't work so good with those "fixed sides", wishing I still had the hydraulic width adjust active on it now. Won't take much to put it back on, but like I said, I'm intending to rebuild it anyway. I've got a plan!

I want to be able to carry one on the loader, and two extra on the 3 pt. from storage to the pasture, on a single tractor (bigger one than this one, with a CAB AND HEATER!!!) I'll keep the duals on, to keep it lighter on the ground. 3 bales per trip will work for me. Feeding about 230 head total right now, but with my gradually increasing herd size, I need to be able to haul enough hay along to the cattle for feeding to make the trip practical, and still keep the whole thing compact and able to get through our snow (so if possible, I want to avoid the need for taking a trailer along to haul extra hay bales). I only want to start ONE rig to feed in the winter, and I want to store my bales in inline rows, preferably in a central storage area nearby to my yard and tractor shed, where I can blow out the bale yard easily, and put down some gravel for support in bad weather.

The picture below is a winter rye bale that just sat on the dirt alongside the field the whole summer... that's why it's flat on the bottom and dirty. I generally put posts underneath my inline stored bales now. Keeps them nearly "perfect", with almost no spoilage, and no frozen netwrap in the mud.

The "bale not wanting to unroll" thing is mostly because of some heating and then spoilage in the bale, causing the hay to stick together. Put up just a little too wet. The 4' ditch hay bales that my "custom grazed cattle owner" brought me are sticking like that too, and there's some light mold in them. I find it helps to go faster... centrifugal force throws it off as you go. Covered alot of ground getting his bales unrolled though!

Spike type of unrollers are about the simplest design you could ever come up with for unrolling bales, IMO. Nothing to go wrong pretty much. A trailer like Greg Judy's would never work for me. Too much snow, and a 4 wheeler wouldn't be able to pull the bale on our hills. CONTEXT.,.. Greg is in Missouri, NOT Minnesnowta. Bale grazing is absolutely the lowest day to day cost way to do it... but I want my resources spread out across the farm, instead of concentrated in one spot. Not so concerened about the "wasteage"... that will come back to you over time... I'm completely convinced of that. Where I bale grazed 2 years ago the grass was substantially better this past season... but last year those spots were devastated. Where I've unrolled, the grass is noticeably better too... but over a larger area, and to a lesser degree. Two years of bale grazing, and you've accomplished the same across the whole field that you do only in spots where you've bale grazed, IMO. So to me so far, it's worth the extra time, effort, and $$$ investment.

1639065595728.png
The picture below
 

chevytaHOE5674

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Get a big enough horse and you can easily take 3 or 4 bales just about wherever you wish. I often carry 3 with 1 on the unroller and 2 in the grapple, but with some stacking and patience I can get 3 in the grapple if needed. 20200403_195004.jpg
 

RDFF

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Yup, that's my plan... I don't have a FWA like you, but if it gets really bad, I DO have a really good old Steiger Panther that'd sure get the job done, if I can figure out a way to mount my unroller on it! Can't beat the price on one of those... I probably have about 20% of what you've got in your Ford in it, and it's entirely sound. 3406B Cat only pushing 325, so it's going to last a long time. Since I've gone no-till, it never gets unhooked from the pair of JD750 drills... it'd probably appreciate a little exercise through the winter, if you ask me. I oughta figure out a way to load her up with about 8 bales!................... All it takes is money!
 

RDFF

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I want my unroller up front, so I can see what I'm running into when going down the road... Put two bales wide out there, and your road view is pretty well blocked, unless you put the loader way up in the air...... (and potentially catch a hanging wire....) Two on the back and you can still look over them, one on the front and it can be carried low and you can still see around it. The other thing is, the back tires will carry the bigger load a lot better too, and especially if you're dualled up.

Was carrying one on the rear and one on the front on the Allis today. It carried it like I had nothing on it at all... just balanced it out real nice, took some of the weight off the front end. Three bales at a time will be nothing at all for a bigger unit, and I'd bet the Allis would even do it OK. 3 pt. isn't nearly as heavy though as the ones on my bigger tractors.
 

chevytaHOE5674

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I can carry 3 bales up front and still see over top of them. I can put the unroller on the loader but then its a pain changing things around everytime to get bales out of piles and from inside buildings or scooping snow. Also having the bucket up front allows me to dig out gates, water troughs, salt feeders, and unstuck myself on the way to and from the field. A bale unrolled up front has one use.

Without FWA you aren't going to be unrolling much in the fields come winter UP here. That old 2wd Allis would be stuck getting off the driveway. Ha
 

wbvs58

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I've been unrolling now for 2 years, homemade unroller that I can put on my skid loader or tractor loader. Skid loader has tracks, so works good if conditions are bad or deep snow, tractor is nicer to work with because it gets me back away from the bale and up higher, so I can see over it and know where I'm going better. Cattle are as much as 2 miles from home, so the tractor is nicer for to/from them, cause I don't need to start the pickup, load and haul over there with a trailer. That means that the bales have to be stored by the cattle though, instead of at a central bale yard. And no matter where you store them, if you're unrolling, you end up covering alot of ground... so the bales just are NEVER in the BEST location to help minimize "travel distance" when feeding. If you haul them with you to the cattle, the bales will ALWAYS be in the best spot for that day for unrolling to help minimize "travel distance". Not entirely uncommon for me to cover nearly a quarter mile when unrolling a single bale... so it's easy to see how the "animal access" to hay is dramatically better when bales are unrolled, or why bringing the bales with you can save a considerably amount of time.

At least here in Minnesota, usually you can pick your days to unroll, even in spring or fall, when the ground is frozen or dry enough to not leave tracks, for the most part. We unrolled 11 bales in the last 2 days, and then limit feed them with a polywire. Expecting 8-10" of snow tomorrow, with temps into the 40's again next week, so most of it will melt.

I'm working on revamping my unroller design now, so that I can insert the spikes more reliably centered from the tractor seat. My unroller is currently more like the Greg Judy design, where you need to drive the spikes in, ...and reliably hitting the center of the bale then usually means several "positioning attempts", if you want to get it right..... (or having your daughter there to help you, see below........ :) ). I can run my spikes right down close to the ground (about 3"), so most of the time, there's hardly any core left at all, and alot of the time, it just falls off between the spikes when I lift the loader on the go. I've got about 20" of space between the ends of the spikes. When I'm done rebuilding it, I'll be able to just "open" them, and the core will drop out, like it does with the "clamp type" unrollers. This is a bale clamp that I built for small square bales (held 36 bales, could put them in the barn, retrieve them, and load a trailer with them), so the wings on the ends were built to slide in/out hydraulically, however, I took the cylinders out and just "fixed" the width for a 5' bale. It wouldn't open wide enough to get the spikes out around the bale to just squeeze them in hydraulically... My custom grazed herd owner brought me 4' bales this year... they don't work so good with those "fixed sides", wishing I still had the hydraulic width adjust active on it now. Won't take much to put it back on, but like I said, I'm intending to rebuild it anyway. I've got a plan!

I want to be able to carry one on the loader, and two extra on the 3 pt. from storage to the pasture, on a single tractor (bigger one than this one, with a CAB AND HEATER!!!) I'll keep the duals on, to keep it lighter on the ground. 3 bales per trip will work for me. Feeding about 230 head total right now, but with my gradually increasing herd size, I need to be able to haul enough hay along to the cattle for feeding to make the trip practical, and still keep the whole thing compact and able to get through our snow (so if possible, I want to avoid the need for taking a trailer along to haul extra hay bales). I only want to start ONE rig to feed in the winter, and I want to store my bales in inline rows, preferably in a central storage area nearby to my yard and tractor shed, where I can blow out the bale yard easily, and put down some gravel for support in bad weather.

The picture below is a winter rye bale that just sat on the dirt alongside the field the whole summer... that's why it's flat on the bottom and dirty. I generally put posts underneath my inline stored bales now. Keeps them nearly "perfect", with almost no spoilage, and no frozen netwrap in the mud.

The "bale not wanting to unroll" thing is mostly because of some heating and then spoilage in the bale, causing the hay to stick together. Put up just a little too wet. The 4' ditch hay bales that my "custom grazed cattle owner" brought me are sticking like that too, and there's some light mold in them. I find it helps to go faster... centrifugal force throws it off as you go. Covered alot of ground getting his bales unrolled though!

Spike type of unrollers are about the simplest design you could ever come up with for unrolling bales, IMO. Nothing to go wrong pretty much. A trailer like Greg Judy's would never work for me. Too much snow, and a 4 wheeler wouldn't be able to pull the bale on our hills. CONTEXT.,.. Greg is in Missouri, NOT Minnesnowta. Bale grazing is absolutely the lowest day to day cost way to do it... but I want my resources spread out across the farm, instead of concentrated in one spot. Not so concerened about the "wasteage"... that will come back to you over time... I'm completely convinced of that. Where I bale grazed 2 years ago the grass was substantially better this past season... but last year those spots were devastated. Where I've unrolled, the grass is noticeably better too... but over a larger area, and to a lesser degree. Two years of bale grazing, and you've accomplished the same across the whole field that you do only in spots where you've bale grazed, IMO. So to me so far, it's worth the extra time, effort, and $$$ investment.

View attachment 10973
The picture below
You be carefull with her.

Ken
 

RDFF

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Without FWA you aren't going to be unrolling much in the fields come winter UP here. That old 2wd Allis would be stuck getting off the driveway. Ha
Yeah, you've got that right... we had just a covering of snow a few days ago, and it was spinning as soon as it came up against a frozen cow pie. I'd sure like to have a FWA with loader... but this is what I've got, so have to make due. I'm not kidding about using the Steiger though if it gets too difficult... that'd be my lowest cost way to have 4WD on a loader, even if I have to build the loader myself. REALLY don't want to go to chains... wouldn't be good on that 2 mile trek over to the cattle, especially for the first quarter mile that's paved! We don't get the lake effect snows, but we do get pretty deep at times. Typically we cumulatively get about 60" a year. 2 years ago we got 90". "Normal" snow cover through most of the winter is probably about 12-16" on the ground. Drifts of course can get much deeper.

I agree, NO tractors should be built without FWA or FWD........... can't believe it took them so long to figure that out. And neither should any pickup. Who the heck would want one of those? And why did it take so long to get decent cabs on tractors? I mean, golly, just about every car ever made all the way back to the beginning of the 20th century had an enclosed cabin on it... but we don't need to be able to get out of the elements and AT LEAST have a heater on a tractor???? What was up with that? I remember riding with my Dad to haul manure when I was a kid... trying to huddle down inside that canvas "heat houser".......... The tractors WERE water cooled for goodness sake... and you can't come up with a halfway decent enclosure and plumb the heat into it? Really? Our first cab tractor showed up in 1969... heat, but no AC... heater was a separate bolt in unit in the corner of the cab. No hot air blowing at the windshield... just through the radiator and "into the cab space"........... Of course, even the ones they have now on new tractors don't do a decent job of keeping the windows clear. WHY don't they just put the electric grid on the windows? My Deere combine is terrible when it gets cold in the fall.
 

chevytaHOE5674

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Little over 4k hours on it. Transmission is awesome, only thing that would make it better is a left hand shuttle. Trans has never been touched other than fluid and filter changes.
 

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