University of Missouri Extension

G1250, Revised March 1987

Large Round Balers

Bill Hires and Charles Ellis
Department of Agricultural Engineering

The continuing search for a labor-saving method of hay harvest led to the development of the large round baler. At this time there are 15 manufacturers selling over 40 balers that produce large round bales of 400 to 2,300 pounds in size.

Types of large round balers

Three baler types are produced:

Ground roll baler
At the present time there is one ground roll baler being manufactured. Following are some of its characteristics. The bale rolls on the ground on top of the incoming windrow. The upper portion of the bale is confined by a series of cables and rollers. Ground roll bales have an average density of 11 to 12 pounds per cubic foot. Tractor power takeoff (PTO) horsepower requirements are in the 30 + horsepower range for ground roll balers.

Ground roll baler

Figure 1
Ground roll baler. Lundell 760D: (A) pickup; (B) bale forming roller; (C) bale forming cables; (D) bale forming roller; (E) twine rollers; (F) second bale starter.
 

Expandable chamber balers
Bales formed in these balers have tension applied by either belts or chains and slats commonly called raddles. Tension is applied to the bale as the core is formed until the bale is completed. Some of the balers of this type produce a bale with a uniform density, while others produce a bale with a density at the outer diameter that is about double that at the center. Whole bale density averages from 10 to 17 pounds per cubic foot, and production averages from 6 to over 20 tons per hour. Tractor PTO horsepower requirements vary from 30 to 120 hp.

Expandable chamber baler

Figure 2
Expandable chamber baler.
 

Carried fixed chamber balers
These balers tumble hay within the bale chamber until the last stages of formation, when tension is maintained by hydraulic pressure. The baling chamber is a series of belts or rollers. The operator reads a hydraulic pressure gauge to determine when a bale is done. These bales have a low density or soft-core center and an outer diameter density about double that of the center. Whole bale density averages from 10 to over 19 pounds per cubic foot, and production capacity is about 4 to 18 tons per hour. PTO power requirements are 30 to 70 hp.

Carried fixed chamber baler

Figure 3
Carried fixed chamber baler.
 

Work quality

Ground roll balers
This baler produces a lower density bale with irregular surfaces. Nonuniform windrows cause poor-quality bales. Irregular and lower density bales result in severe weathering with high moisture penetration. Pickup and bale-chamber losses are impossible to measure because hay is rolled on the ground, and all losses appear on the ground behind the pickup.

Carried expandable chamber balers
Good bales are easier to make when windrows are large and uniform. Occasionally, the bale core is hard to start and might even need to be discharged and a new bale started. Bale formation is usually easier if an extended weave pattern is followed while baling. Some balers now weave automatically allowing the tractor to drive straight and produce a uniform bale. These balers can be used to produce bales varying in weight. Bales tend to be uniform in shape and density. Under most conditions, you back up the baler before discharging the bale. You must take care in lowering the rear gate or door, as expensive damage can occur if the gate strikes the unloaded bale as it closes. Driving forward before closing the gate prevents this. Some balers have an optional attachment that will cause the bale to move away from the rear gate. Twine consumption varies with bale size and number of wraps. From 150 to 450 feet per ton are needed, as compared to small square bales that need 670 feet per ton.

Carried fixed chamber balers
Windrow size and shape is not as critical for these balers, and an extended weave is not needed when starting the bale because the hay tumbles loosely in the chamber. When the outer part of the bale is being formed, an extended weave driving pattern will be needed on irregular or light windrows, because as the hay is under tension and will not move across the chamber. For ideal bales, use the maximum bale chamber capacity.

Baler attachments

Attachments available depend on the particular manufacturer. Horns or lights can be mounted on the tractor to signal when the bale is done. Some manufacturers offer bale sensing instruments that warn of an improperly shaped bale.

Manual, electric or hydraulic twine feeding mechanisms may be used. Automatic and dual twine feed mechanisms are also available. They speed up tying and make faster baling possible.

Tedder devices are being used to fluff wide wind-rows mashed down by tractor tires or to bring wide windrows to the same width as the baler pickup. Bale ejectors can move the bale away from the tailgate. Bale counters are standard equipment in most cases.

Two attachments available on some machines or from outside manufacturers are wrapping equipment for applying plastic completely around the bale and hay preservative equipment for metering chemical preservatives into the bale as it is formed.

Ground roll balers

Model or series designation Lundell 760D
Maximum weight of bale, pounds 1,400
Bale diameter to 66
Bale length, inches 60
Bale wrapped with twine yes
Number of twine knotters none
Number of twine wraps around bale varies
Type of twine recommended baler
Baler capacity, tons per hour 6 to 10
Pickup width, inches 60
Pick up type; tine bar, other  
Bale compression method rollers
Baler overall height, inches 78
Baler overall width, inches 96
Baler overall length, inches 196
Baler shipping weight, pounds 3,700
Tractor size required, PTO horsepower 30 +
Tractor PTO used, 540 or 1000 none
Tractor minimum hydraulic pressure  
Tractor minimum hydraulic flow rate  
Recommended travel speed, MPH to 5

Carried fixed chamber balers

Model or series designation Claas M&W
R034 R044 R062 R085 1500 1800
Maximum weight of bale, pounds 500 772 1325 1875 varies varies
Bale diameter 48 48 48 60 59 70.87
Bale length, inches 36 48 64 72 47.25 59
Bale wrapped with twine yes yes yes yes yes yes
Number of twine knotters none none none none none none
Number of twine wraps around bale opt. opt. opt. opt. var. var.
Type of twine recommended sisal sisal sisal sisal certified  
Baler capacity, tons per hour         6 to 11 8 to 18
Pickup width, inches 58 58 58 63 53.6 61.87
Pick up type; tine bar, other tine bar tine bar tine bar tine bar tine bar tine bar
Bale compression method rollers       spring and linkage  
Baler overall height, inches 77 87 87 109.5 82.6 94.5
Baler overall width, inches 83 83 83 94.5 80.75 96.5
Baler overall length, inches 150 156 174 177 132.25 143.75
Baler shipping weight, pounds 2976 3527 3968 4635 2866 3748
Tractor size required, PTO horsepower 40 + 40+ 40+ 70+ 40 45
Tractor PTO used, 540 or 1000 either either either either 540 540
Tractor minimum hydraulic pressure 1500 1500 1500 1500 1000 1000
Tractor minimum hydraulic flow rate 6 6 6 6 4 4
Recommended travel speed, mph 3 to 7 3 to 7 3 to 7 3 to 7 var. var.

Carried fixed chamber balers

Model or series designation KMN/Krone Owatonna
KR100 KR12S KR1S1 KR181 590 595
Maximum weight of bale, pounds 400 500 1100 1800 850 1500
Bale diameter 48 x 36 48 x 36 48 x 60 60 x 72 51 72
Bale length, inches 48 48 60 72 48 60
Bale wrapped with twine yes yes yes yes yes yes
Number of twine knotters DNA* DNA* DNA* DNA* none 1
Number of twine wraps around bale var. var. var. var. opt. var.
Type of twine recommended baler baler baler baler baler baler
Baler capacity, tons per hour 4 to 8 5 to 10 6 to 11 8 to 18 to 12 10 to 15
Pickup width, inches 54 54 54 62 53 66
Pick up type; tine bar, other tine bar tine bar tine bar tine bar tine bar tine bar
Bale compression method         rollers rollers
Baler overall height, inches 67 71 83 94 89 106
Baler overall width, inches 83 83 83 94 87.5 96
Baler overall length, inches 132 127 133 145 151 174
Baler shipping weight, pounds 2230 1650 2855 3748 3450 4365
Tractor size required, PTO horsepower 35 35 40 45 55 70 +
Tractor PTO used, 540 or 1000 540 540 540 540 540 either
Tractor minimum hydraulic pressure 1000 1000 1000 1000 1200 1200
Tractor minimum hydraulic flow rate 4 4 4 4 DNA* DNA*
Recommended travel speed, MPH var. var. var. var. 6 6
*Does not apply

Carried expandable chamber balers

Model or series designation Case-IH John Deere
3450 3650 330 430 530
Maximum weight of bale, pounds 900 1800 650 1400 1850
Bale diameter 48 72 48 72 72
Bale length, inches 60 60 46.6 46.6 61.6
Bale wrapped with twine yes yes yes yes yes
Number of twine knotters none none none none none
Number of twine wraps around bale var. opt. var. var. var.
Type of twine recommended baler sisal sisal sisal sisal
Baler capacity, tons per hour 15 18      
Pickup width, inches 76 76 46.6 46.6 61.5
Pick up type; tine bar, other tine bar tine bar tine bar tine bar tine bar
Bale compression method belts belts belts belts belts
Baler overall height, inches 78.5 96 91 110 110
Baler overall width, inches 94.5 96 89 96 112
Baler overall length, inches 149 173.25 135 146 146
Baler shipping weight, pounds 2760 4100 3050 3940 4350
Tractor size req uired, PTO horsepower 60 70 45+ 50+ 70 +
Tractor PTO used, 540 or 1000 either either 540 540 540
Tractor minimum hydraulic pressure DNA* 1500 1000 1000 1000
Tractor minimum hydraulic flow rate DNA* 6 6 6 6
Recommended travel speed, MPH 3 to 7 3 to 7 2 to 8 2 to 8 2 to 8
*Does not apply

Carried expandable chamber balers

Model or series designation Hesston
5510 5530 5540 5580 5800
Maximum weight of bale to pounds 1100 550 1200 1500 1500
Bale diameter 60 54 72 72 72
Bale length, inches 60 39 47.3 60 60
Bale wrapped with twine yes yes yes yes yes
Number of twine knotters       DNA* none
Number of twine wraps around bale 8 to 10 8 var. var. 8 to 10
Type of twine recommended baler sisal sisal sisal baler
Baler capacity, tons per hour to 8 to 7 to 10 to 12 8 to 10
Pickup width, inches 60 38.75 54 66 60
Pick up type; tine bar, other tine bar tine bar tine bar tine bar tine bar
Bale compression method belts belts belts belts belts
Baler overall height, inches 100 82 102 103 105
Baler overall width, inches 95 81 83 95.8 92
Baler overall length, inches 146 135 147 147 158
Baler shipping weight, pounds 3620 2565 3800 4215 3910
Tractor size required, PTO horsepower 55+ 30+ 40+ 45+ 55+
Tractor PTO, used, 540 or 1000 540 540 540 540 540
Tractor minimum hydraulic pressure 1500 DNA* DNA* DNA* 1500
Tractor minimum hydraulic flow rate DNA* DNA* DNA* DNA* DNA*
Recommended travel speed, MPH 2 to 6 2 to 6 var. var. 2 to 6
*Does not apply

Carried expandable chamber balers

Model or series designation Massey Ferguson Gehl
645 656 1400 1550 RB 1460 RB 1860
Maximum weight of bale, pounds   2200 1300 1700 1000 + 2000+
Bale diameter 48 x 72 61 x 74 48 to 60 60 to 72 60 72
Bale length, inches     48 60 45 60
Bale wrapped with twine yes yes yes yes yes yes
Number of twine knotters none none none none none none
Number of twine wraps around bale var. var. var. var. var. var.
Type of twine recommended baler baler baler baler baler baler
Baler capacity, tons per hour   22 8 10 to 12 6 to 10 8 to 12
Pickup width, inches 48 61 48 60 56 72
Pick up type; tine bar, other tine bar tine bar tine bar tine bar tine bar tine bar
Bale compression method belts belts belts belts belts belts
Baler overall height, inches 108 108 94 104 97 109
Baler overall width, inches 83 to 92 95 84 95 80 96
Baler overall length, inches 148 148 162 170 142 174
Baler shipping weight, pounds   5075 4100 4780 3790 4450
Tractor size required, PTO horsepower 70 70 45 55 50 60
Tractor PTO used, 540 or 1000 either either either either either either
Tractor minimum hydraulic pressure 1600 1600 1600 1600 1000 1000
Tractor minimum hydraulic flow rate 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 5 5
Recommended travel speed, MPH 6 to 8 6 to 8 to 6 to 6 var. var.

Carried expandable chamber balers

Model or series designation New Holland Vermeer
848 853 855 856 605J
Maximum weight of bale, pounds 1100 1200 1700 2300 2200
Bale diameter 54 80 66 66 74
48 57 66 90 61
Bale wrapped with twine yes yes yes yes yes
Number of twine knotters none none none none none
Number of twine wraps around bale var. opt. opt. opt. var.
Type of twine recommended baler baler baler baler baler
Baler capacity, tons per hour 6 to 10 8 to 13 1145 to 18 20
Pickup width, inches 58 56 72 97 61
Pick up type; tine bar, other tine bar tine bar tine bar tine bar tine bar
Bale compression method raddle raddle raddle raddle belts
Baler overall height, inches 93 101 101 101 108
Baler overall width, inches 85 90 108 135 95 to 104
Baler overall length, inches 153 162 172 217 148
Baler shipping weight, pounds 3580 4300 5500 7465 5075
Tractor size required, PTO horsepower 40 to 60 40 to 60 55 to 75 90 to 120 60
Tractor PTO used, 540 or 1000 540 540 either 1000 either
Tractor minimum hydraulic pressure 1500 1500 1500 1600 1600
Tractor minimum hydraulic flow rate 6 6 6 6 6
Recommended travel speed, MPH 3 to 6 4 to 6 4 to 6 4 to 6 4 to 6

 

G1250 Large Round Balers | University of Missouri Extension

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