Iain Price wrote:Hi, I have been trying to find plans to make an automatic hay baler. Most plans are for hand balers or hay presses without auto knotters.
I have never found any either, and I build a lot of home built equipment.
Myself, I think the answer today might be reverting back to loose hay. This sounds strange but when balers are now approaching $44,000, they are just not worth their intended use. That was actually for logging, and not farming. It was a way for hay to be delivered to horses working deep in the Maine forest back in the early 1900's. They did work well for compressing hay so farmers could get more hay in the same size barn.
Today with fabric barns, it is actually cheaper to build a huge fabric barn for say $12,000 rather then spending $44,000 on a hay baler to compress the hay.
My suggestion might be to look into loose hay. A great place to look is homemade "hay sweeps" on youtube!
posted 3 months ago
I would love to do a kickstarter for simple affordable balers as lots of small scale farmers would love one if the price was right. I've been collecting baler servicing manuals and looking at older knottter units. Atv or quad bike driven baler would be ideal.
There is an alternative already of sorts, and that is in 2 wheel tractors like the BCS Tractors.
I did some looking into what you propose for a class on sheep farming that I do, and I found a tractor haying package was $27,000 not counting the tractor. That was not too bad, but still pretty darn high I thought! But compare that to a BSC haying system that with mower, rake and baler for $9000, and it is 3 times cheaper. Obviously there is some scale issues as there is a limit how much acreage a BCS System can efficiently do, but for a small farmer...once again, a two wheel tractor is pretty affordable.
Other options are building a persons own equipment. Mowers, tedders and rakes are easy to fabricate because they are so simple. Balers are a bit different which is why I lean towards loose hay being what will occur in the future.
On my own farm, I am moving towards grass silage since the equipment needs are less, and cheaper to purchase. (Mower, Flail Chopper).
James Whitelaw wrote:I was going to post the 9k CAEB baler, but Travis beat me...according to Earth Tools the CAEB is very sturdy. I’ve seen images of them being towed by ATV/UTV’s and mini tractors as well.
The guy at Earth Tools is amazing and awesome. My father knows him on a first name basis. I have a used BCS, but should I ever buy a new one, I am avoiding the local dealers here and driving to KY to get it direct from him. 2 wheel tractors is all he does, and he does them well.
Myself...I love my Kubota, but REALLY like the BCS 4 wheel articulated tractor as well. I would cut off the ROPS as it looks silly, but I really like this tractor.
Iain Price wrote:I was hoping to sort a machine for 3k if I can just get a simple reliable knitter mechanism
I would think that would be a difficult proposition. PTO shafts alone run $300 in US dollars here. That is 10% of the cost of your machine and nothing has even been started to get the bale of hay started to be formed.
Using vacuum to suck the hay into an airtight chamber and then compressing the hay inside could be done with a dropped weight. That would save a lot of expensive mechanical mechanisms like tines, belts and augers. That is the only way I see to get the cost of a baler considerably down.
Nice discussion by the way, I love fabricating my own equipment! Really it is the only way to farm in small scale. A person is not going to do it writing checks every month to equipment dealers.
Ever since I found this suit I've felt strange new needs. And a tiny ad:
planting cacao in the forest (rainforest of S. Belize) ( 640 acre farm for sale there)