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The Round Baler

The first website dedicated to round balers, and those that run them.

Baler Blog

Baler Blog

The Latest Round Baler News

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Getting Your Baler Ready

Posted on April 30, 2019 at 2:55 PM Comments comments ()


For many of us it's time to start getting our hay equipment ready to go for the upcoming season. It can be exciting and overwhelming at the same time, but it is essential to prepare your baler to make sure you have the least amount of problems as possible this season. Some people may have their dealer service their baler, but for many of us it's up to us to get prepared.

The very first thing you should do is inspect your baler. Check for missing teeth, worn bearings, sprockets and chains as well as any other wearable part. Make a list of anything and everything your baler needs and either get it at your dealer or if you are good on a computer and with part numbers, order it online. Also, check the tires and add air if necessary. Check the tension of your belts and adjust to the specs provided to you in your owner's manual.

Next, grease your baler well and oil the chains, replace if needed. Once you get your baler all lubed up and you have replaced any worn parts, it’s time to test run it. Hook it up to your tractor, first check and make sure your monitor (if equipped) is working properly and is set to the right settings. Next check your hydraulics by lifting up and down the gate as well the pickup head (if equipped with a hydraulic pickup head). Make sure everything works as it should then walk around the baler and inspect for any hydraulic leaks, replace any lines and/or fittings if necessary. After that, run your baler and get it up to PTO speed, make sure your belts and pickup head are turning properly and there are no strange noises. If the belts don’t start spinning immediately try lifting up the back of the baler to loosen pressure on the belts, if that doesn’t work, shut the baler off and identify the problem. After you have ran the baler for several minutes, shut it off and give it a few minutes to cool down before reinspecting it.

As always make sure to put safety first when working on your baler. A good preseason inspection can prepare you for the season ahead. We wish everybody a good hay season ahead of us, many farmers in southern climates are already cutting and hopefully those of us in the Northeast will be able to get out in the fields soon.


Round Baling With an Open Station Tractor

Posted on January 24, 2019 at 2:50 PM Comments comments ()

Round baling with an open station tractor can be hot, noisy and even dangerous. That being said many people like to round bale with an open station tractor, either because that’s all they have or they just prefer it. It can be nice in good weather conditions, and it is a great way to learn, as you can get a better feel of the machinery. If you prepare yourself, baling without a cab can even be enjoyable.

The biggest thing that can make baling without a cab, is the heat. The best way to beat the heat is with shade. A good reasonably priced canopy, like the one here attaches directly to your ROPS and can make you much cooler as well as protecting you against sun burns and even skin cancer. Another low priced choice is a good 3 bow canopy, like this one, that is often seen on older tractors but can fit almost any tractor and attaches directly to your fenders.

Another problem when baling with an open station tractor, is the noise. The noise can cause permanent hearing damage as well as making for a long day. Many people use ear plugs that can be bought in bulk and can be found at most stores or online here I prefer a set of nice noise cancelling over-the-ear headphones, like these ones, that also have built in AM/FM radio.

The last major issue with an open station, is safety. Pickup heads like to fling rocks and mud at you, sometimes at high speeds. The first thing to do is make sure your pickup head is set to the proper height. The teeth on the head shouldn’t touch the ground, but be just low enough where they pick up the windrows, (this is different for all crops and regions.) Also I recommend a pair of safety/sunglasses that can protect your eyes from flying debris while also protecting them from the sun. When I used to bale with an open station tractor, I had a pair of these, they worked well and were a good price, you can spend hundreds of dollars on a pair of safety/sunglasses, but in my opinion these are just as good.

If you get the right gear baling without a cab can be just as good as a cab, although on those 90* days I wouldn’t trade my cab for anything. What do you think? What do you bale with, let us know in the comments below!


Round Balers for 40HP-50HP Tractors

Posted on November 8, 2018 at 3:00 PM Comments comments ()

As the hobby farmer trend continues to grow, there is an increasing need for smaller equipment, much different from the trend only a couple of decades ago where machinery continued to get bigger and bigger. Small farms are again becoming a large portion of a machinery dealer’s sales. Between hobby farmers, weekend farmers, small organic farmers, and amish farmers there is a strong demand for equipment for tractors with 40-50 HP. Some manufacturers have realized this and have started, or have been, making round balers suited for small tractors.

New Holland has recently started building a fixed chamber baler, the RF series, using chain/slats to form the bale. New Holland got started in the round baler market by making chain and slat balers, but stopped production many years ago when their belt balers outshined their fixed chamber counterparts. These early chain/slat balers were big and awkward looking with no safety guards to speak of. The new ones look slick and light enough to be handled safely by a 40HP tractor. The RF balers use a roller to help start the bale and can be had with twine and or net. The RF series balers from New Holland require as little as 40HP and are affordable, starting in the mid 20’s for the most basic machine.

Krone’s Bellima series of round balers is another option for small tractors. These are also fixed chamber balers, but unlike New Holland the Bellima has an all roller design. Like the New Holland RF series,the Bellima balers are simple balers built for the small farmer. The Bellima balers can also be run with as little as 40HP

Other brands are starting to hop on the small tractor bandwagon as well and soon I expect there to be more choices for the small farmer. You can now find a round baler for almost any size tractor, just be sure to know how much baler your tractor can handle before purchasing one. You not only have to make sure you have enough HP to run the baler but also enough weight, especially in hill country, a lightweight tractor will be pushed around by a baler with a ful bale in it. What do you think of the small round baler market, is it just a fad? Or is it a long term thing? Let us know in the comments below!


Best Methods to Feed Round Bales

Posted on November 1, 2018 at 1:10 PM Comments comments ()

You work really hard to make good quality round bales to feed your livestock. If fed improperly much of the bale will get wasted, not only wasting money but it also makes a mess. Ever since round balers were invented, farmers and ranchers have been coming up with new ways to fed them. There are now many options available, from low budget to expensive machines, to fit every farmer and want to be farmer out there.

Unrolling Bales

Many people with larger herds, unroll their round bales in the pasture or feedlot, and let the cows eat it off the ground. This gives the cows plenty of room to eat but there is more waste as with anything you feed on the ground. This a good idea for those that out winter their herds as the cows will eat some and then use the rest for bedding. You can buy simple three point hitch unrollers of more complex side discharge feeders.

Ring Feeders

Probably the most common type of bale feeder, ring feeders can be bought for around $300 (go to ) , more for heavier duty ones, and do save hay compared to feeding on the ground. That being said you still waste some hay as most animals won’t eat anything that touches the ground. You will have to move the feeder around to prevent a mess, and cleaning up from a ring feeder can be tedious. These feeders are still the most economical way to save hay, and the most common choice for smaller farmers.

Cradle Feeders

These type of feeders hold the bale off the ground and have feed slots for the animals to stick their head in and eat. There are many types of these feeders, you can get them on skids, on wheels, stationary, and even ones with roofs to further protect your hay. These feeders cost $2,000 and up, but are probably the best way to feed round bales, as they save the most hay.

Feeding In the Barn

Some farmers who house their cows or horses in barns have found innovative ways to feed them large round bales. If you can not fit a tractor or skid steer in your barn, then you’ll have to do it all by hand, or with the use of a cart. There are specially made carts to unroll round bales but are still often to large to maneuver in older barns. Most people have to use a pitch fork and pull the hay off and bring it into the barn one fork full at a time. There are now specifically built saws that are used to cut the round bales making it much easier to fork them into the barn. Newer barns are usually built to accommodate rounds bales, and many farmers have retrofitted their old barns to feed round bales.

However you feed your round bales be sure to give you’re livestock a clean dry feeding area, and adequate space for everybody so nobody gets left out.

How do you feed your round bales? Tell us in the comments below!


Looking For a Bale Wrapper

Posted on October 25, 2018 at 11:25 AM Comments comments ()

     In many areas of the U.S. this year, many farmers have had a hard time getting hay dry enough to bale. Many are now looking at bale wrappers, to make balage, to help with unpredictable weather. With a bale wrapper you can bale hay with moisture contents up to, and sometimes over, 50%. A lot of producers use the “hay in a day” method, where they mow, bale and wrap all in the same day, eliminating the need for long dry spells. Before buying a wrapper, make sure your baler is capable of baling green hay, many older balers will have nothing but trouble with balage. Also be sure you can lift the bales, balage bales, due to the higher moisture content, are much heavier than dry bales. If you have decided you want to purchase a wrapper there are three main types of wrappers, not including the wrappers that are built into the baler,, which are nice, but due to cost and other concerns, is not a feasible option for most.

Three Point Hitch Wrappers

     The cheapest and simplest type of wrappers is the three point hitch wrapper (sometimes mounted on the front of a loader or skid steer as well as on pull behind units.) These wrappers can be brought new from $3,000, for a simple off brand one, to $15,000 for a nicer name brand one with a remote to control it from the cab of the loader. The downfall to these wrappers is they generally take two tractors to use them, one to wrap, and one to load. They are also slower, as it takes a few minutes to wrap a bale, dump it, and load another, it takes even longer if you’re alone. But for the money, if you only plan to wrap 100 bales a year or so they are an economical choice. I have done around 300 in a year with one before, although I often didn’t get them all wrapped til the day after I baled them. Many of them are very simple machines running off of one hydraulic remote and have two chains to spin and rotate the bale at the same time. You can run one with a tractor with at least 35 hp as long as it's heavy enough in the front to lift the bales and dump them safely.

Pull Behind Wrappers.

     Probably the most common type of wrapper in the U.S. these wrappers also wrap one at time, but only require one tractor as they have an arm to load themselves. They can be pulled in the field to wrap the bales where they were left by the baler saving time in moving them with a loader. That being said, after they are wrapped you will need a bale hugger to move them and if you wait to long, this can disturb the fermenting process. These wrappers range from $15,000 to over $30,000 for a fully automated machine with high speed wrapping.

Inline Bale Wrappers

    These are the most efficient wrappers, as some can wrap over 100 bales an hour. The machine contains its own small engine and only requires a loader to load the bales as the wrapper wraps them. You place the bales end to end on the machine and it wraps the outside of them, eliminating the need to wrap the ends of every bale, saving time and plastic. After wrapped the bales are all in a row end to end. The downfall to these types of wrappers is that once you start feeding the bales you need to feed the bales quick enough to avoid spoilage, usually a bale a day will keep them from going bad, although different climates may vary. They have become a staple on many dairy farms, and other livestock operations. If you plan on selling the bales, inline wrappers may not be a good choice, unless the buyer is a local farm that can feed them out fairly quick. These machines start at $30,000 new, and go up with many available options.

    There are a lot of used and new wrappers available, all different kinds and brands. For many there may even be one available locally to rent. Balage has become increasingly popular over the past 20 years, especially in states where making dry hay is hard. Many farm suppliers couldn’t keep enough wrap in stock this year.

What kind of wrapper do you have? How many bales a year do you do? Or are you looking to start making balage? Let us know in the comments below!


Looking For A Used Round Baler

Posted on October 11, 2018 at 3:10 PM Comments comments ()

So you decide it’s time for you to buy a round baler. Maybe you’ve had an older one, maybe you’ve been hiring it done, or maybe your switching from square bales to save on labor. For many the cost of a new round baler is not in the budget, so you decide to look for a good used round baler. It can be overwhelming, with many magazines and websites loaded with used round balers. Read on to learn about the used round baler market and how to navigate through the junk to find one that will suit your needs for many years.

Before anything make sure to set your budget, and stick to it. Write down what your budget is so you can be reminded of it when looking at balers. Its common for people to start wanting more and getting way out of budget. If you have a spouse or significant other, they can be a great way to remind you of your budget. ;)

First thing you need to do is make a list of what you need in a round baler. What kind of chamber, fixed or variable, endless belts or laced, size of bales, e.t.c. You also need to determine how much horsepower your tractor is, and also the size/weight of it so you can look for a baler that you can safely pull. Also what other feartures you want, such as precutter knives, silage package, bale ramp, e.t.c. Then you can decide what brand or brands of baler you are interested in, and you can even narrow it down to specific models. Once you determine what you need in a baler, and what kind of baler you are looking for, it’s time to start your search.

There are many places to start searching for your next baler. First, check around your local dealer yards, not only is this good for looking at balers, but also a great way to see what dealers have the best parts and service departments. If you have a specific dealer that you deal with a lot, and they treat you well, than I advise starting there. Also talk to the salesman, (their not all bad), as many times just because they don’t have something on the lot that interests you, they usually have many connections around the country and can find you something that fits your needs. Tractorhouse and Fastline magazines are great to browse through and also have good websites that make it easy to look at balers that fit you. I suggest avoiding sites such as craigslist, not because there may not be some good balers on there, but most are generally on there for a good reason.

Once you find a baler you are interested in, its time to go look at it more in depth. If you have a friend that has worked on farm machinery, try to take them with you, even if you don’t an extra set of eyes is always a smart idea. Check the baler thouroghly and make sure you get to see it run. Check the belts, chains, and pto shaft for wear and signs of abuse. If possible, ask the dealer to let you try it out in the field. If the dealer lets you use it for a few days, this not only is good to check the baler out, but also is a good sign of a dealer that is going to stand by their product.

After you find a baler you want, thats in your budget, and passes your inspection, you can now purchase it. After purchasing a used piece of machinery, its always best to change any fluids that need changing and lubricate it up well. If you need help in your search for a new used round baler, contact us ( we will be more than happy to help you! Also be sure to subcribe to our newsletter, to stay up to date on theindustry and learn how to get the most out of your baler.

Self Propelled Balers: The Next Big Thing?

Posted on October 5, 2018 at 12:40 AM Comments comments ()

With Vermeer's new innovation, the ZR5, the world's first self propelled round baler, we find ourselves wondering, will self propelled round balers be the next big thing? Just take a look at how the combine evolved, from stationary threshers, to pull behind units with mounted motors, to the large behemoths that roam the countryside today. Will round balers follow the same path as combines? Or will the self propelled round baler only be a fad and be a collectable in 50 years? We will look at it from all angles.

Combines also started out as pull behind units, but when manufacturers started making self propelled units, they caught on quick, and now no manufacturer makes a pull-behind unit and haven’t for decades now. Combines have such a important job on the farm, it only makes sense that they are a dedicated machine, with their own engines and drivetrains. But many hay farmers use their tractors for multiple purposes throughout the seasons, especially livestock producers. It wouldn’t make sense for a lot of them to have a dedicated machine for round baling, when they could have another tractor that could be used on multiple implements. Also if the tractor breaks down you can put another tractor on the baler, that is not the case with a self propelled round baler.

Although the ZR5 is the first self propelled round baler it is not the first self propelled baler. New Holland made a self propelled version of their small square baler many years ago, although there are still many in use today, it never caught on and New Holland decided to seize production. There is also a lesser known company called Freeman, that continues to make Self Propelled square balers, although I have never seen one here in the U.S. These self propelled square balers never caught on, mostly due to the fact that they didn’t have much to offer that a regular pull behind baler couldn’t.

But round balers are different. Better maneuverability and visibility in the field could give self propelled round balers the boost they need to gaintraction in the marketplace. There is no word on price yet, but if it is comparable to the price of a new round baler and compatible tractor, then it may make perfect sense for larger producers and custom operators. But farmers are a hard group to convince and until they start hitting the local fields and dealer lots, it is nothing but a crazy idea to the average farmer. And like most crazy ideas it will take time and evidence to prove to farmers that self propelled balers are superior to their pull-behind counterparts.

I believe the fate of self propelled round balers lies heavily on Vermeer. If they bring out a machine that is nothing but headaches then that will leave a permanent stain on the industry, and will remain in farmers minds for many years to come. On the other hand if the ZR5 is a dependable machine and starts to catch on, it wouldn’t be long before other manufacturers followed suit. Only time will tell, but I think if the ZR5 is a solid machine they will become common place on larger operations but I don’t see them coming to small farms for a while.

What do you think? Will the self propelled round baler catch on? Would you own one? Tell us what you think, leave a comment below!

Replacing Your Baler Belts

Posted on September 27, 2018 at 7:00 PM Comments comments ()

The large belts that form the bale in your round baler are essential in making a good bale. When your belts get worn they tend to break more often and make lighter bales. When your belts start to wander more than normal it may be time to place them. You may also notice odd shaped or lighter bales. If you have laced belts they may also start coming apart quite often. It is essential to know when and how to replace your belts when the time comes.

Normally belts will last anywhere from 5,000 to 25,000 bales, and more is not unheard of. There are a lot of factors that contribute to life of your belts, the age of your baler, maintenance, the operator, type of baler, e.t.c. Endless belts will generally last longer then laced belts, as they don’t have a connection, which is often the place where a belt will rip. Although they last longer, endless belts are much harder to replace. They require disassembling the machine to install them, whereas laced belts can easily be replaced on the home with two people in a couple hours or less. That being said you can always replace endless belts with laced belts when the time comes, all you have to do is cut the old belts and place the new belts in their place and lace them together.

When you replace laced belts, or repair broken belts, the best way to do it is with new clips. If you use a vise, it is easy to replace the clips on your belts. Just do a quick google search for kits and you’ll find an easy to use kit, and I recommend anybody who owns a round baler to own one, as they come in handy on a Sunday with hay on the ground and rain in the forecast.

Whatever kind of baler you own, if it has belts, you will eventually need to replace them. Belt’s, like anything rubber, is prone to premature wear. It’s always best to have a spare just in case. If you have any questions about replacing the belts on your baler, contact us, we’ll be glad to give you advice, free advice of course.

Vermeer to Not Only Rebuild But Also Expand

Posted on September 19, 2018 at 7:05 PM Comments comments ()

On July 19th a tornado formed near Pella,Iowa and ripped through the Vermeer Corp. factory and business center. It was a miracle no one was hurt. The employees at Vermeer have come together,like a family, and have started the process of rebuilding. Vermeer, founded in 1948 by Gary Vermeer, is a leader in the hay industry, and pioneers of the modern round baler. Vermeer is also the largest employer in the Pella, Iowa area with approximately 2,800 employees according to the Des MoinsRegister.

Vermeer has been shuffling around trying to keep production going through this difficult time. They are currently back to 100% production and are in the process of rebuilding after two of their buildings were deemed complete losses and need to be torn down. They have received much support by the community and their customers as they have remained positive.

Not only are they planning to rebuild, they are also planning to expand production. They are currently in the planning phase and plan to complete the project next year (2019). We are very glad no one was hurt in the storm and believe Vermeer will take this as an opportunity to improve even further upon their company and their employees.




How to Haul Round Bales

Posted on September 13, 2018 at 7:45 PM Comments comments ()

After you have baled your hay, you have another task at hand, how to get the hay home. Every person you talk to will have different advice, and different ideas. Some people like to use a tractor with a front and rear spear and do two at a time while others will use a tractor trailer with a flat bed and do 40 at a shot. Depending on your location, budget, land and distance from field to storage area you will have to decide what's best for you.

One of the simplest ways to haul bales home is with a spear on the loader and a spear on the 3 point hitch. You generally never have to leave the tractor and don’t have to worry about more equipment to buy or take care of. This is a time consuming process and unless your putting the bales on the edge of the field, it isn't very practical.

The most common way to haul round bales is with a round bale wagon, or a flatbed wagon (some people convert old square bale wagons to use for round bales). If your fields are within a couple miles you can easily use the same tractor to load, haul and unload, which is very common for people who do it by themselves. This is a good option if you have a good loader tractor that can travel at decent speeds on the road. You can find wagons that will fit anywhere from 6-40 bales at a time, and if you have a large enough tractor you can hook two together to make half as many trips. Some people will also use a tractor or skid steer to load and another one to load, then use their pickups to haul the wagons, which can be much quicker on the road. You can also find wagons that are self-unloading.

Another option is a round bale accumulator. These can be expensive and are not practical for smaller producers. They are self loading and unloading eliminating the need for a loader. They are very efficient and some of them even stack the bales if you are stacking in a barn. They generally require a larger tractor (120hp+). If you are moving a lot of round bales they are definitely worth looking into as they can be big labor savers.

Some people prefer to use gooseneck or bumper pull trailers pulled by their pickup and load/unload them with loader tractors and skid steers. This is a good way to haul from those farther away fields. They are quick on the roads but can be a pain in wet fields. They also have to be strapped down which takes time,and if the fields are close can be not time efficient. Another thing to remember is that a gooseneck trailer can be used for many other purposes than just round bales,like buying another tractor. :)

Every farm is different and depending on your fields, roads and time you will have to decide which option is best for you. Many times people will try different methods till they find the one that suits them best. Sometimes you can also work with your neighbors to share equipment which can be a smart move for both of you, but be sure to know who your dealing with before getting involved in this.