[Market-farming] Round bales: Moving, Transporting, and Feeding

Cherry Tree Farms ctfarms at helicon.net
Thu Feb 24 11:49:11 EST 2005

Hi folks,

For round bales, I have an 8 bale carrier (4 on each side) that I can load
at one farm and pull with the pickup to the home farm for unloading, saving
all the miles on the tractor tires.  For close acreage, I set the sliding
tongue to the middle position so that the 3 pt forks will just clear the
front tires; pull the wagon to the loading spot, unhook and load, then
connect and pull home without having to take forks on and off.  Also
replaced the top link with a cylinder, makes it nicer to work with.

I make 4x5(d) bales and am currently using a king-cutter fork.  Before I had
a fire I had a farm-pro fork, and I liked that one better since the tines
were about 8" closer together - made a lot of difference for how the bales
handled.  We have to use forks, our variable open throat baler packs it
tight enough that once you manage to work a spear into one you drag it 1/4
mile trying to get it back off.  Conversely we only get about 3" of rain-rot
with the rest of the bale good from June baling to April feeding, so having
to use a fork is not a bad deal.

We don't have much flat ground, so we habitually set the bales down for
pasture feeding so they unroll down the hill.  I know we don't get as good a
feed utilization this way though it does help renovate the paddocks.  The
bale carcasses also gives the critters something to lie down in other than
mud so they are not so mobile and churning up the ground wandering looking
for a place to bed and don't feel they need to come back to a building all
the time.
Otherwise we have taken a 1 1/2" rod and sledged it through the bale center
then chained it to each 3 pt arm and drove to unroll that way - works good
for covering over utility line ditches!  One of these days when I get some
time (ha hahahaha) to be inventive it would be easy to rig some spools to
clamp onto a bale and then either drag on the ground to unroll or put a
hydraulic motor to rotate and unroll the bale.

On this grass based animal operation we are currently feeding Cows, Sheep,
and Goats with rounds and have no problems over the past 4 years of doing
so.  The pregnant animal problem seems to come from poor quality, not the
fact they are round.  Other folks have also experienced problems from
wrapped bales that leaked and allowed fermenting building up toxins in the
hay - you can pretty effectively kill animals with those conditions.  As
previously posted, mold can be a problem.

Hope this helps,
Cherry Tree Farms

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "mtlivestock" <crublee at libby.org>
To: <market-farming at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Thursday, February 24, 2005 10:15 AM
Subject: [Market-farming] Round bales: Moving, Transporting, and Feeding

> <<<Purpose is to be able to pick up mulch hay from neighbor farms to
> bring back to my farm. I can also see using it to deliver bales to my
> beef. In addition, yes, I am interested in a bale unroller.>>>
> Allan,
> I am sorry I have not gotten back to you on this topic.  I cannot seem to
> find some of the pertinate information I had on round bales-moving,
> feeding.  I will keep looking.
> Most of the info. I have came from another forum, Front Porch, on the
> Heritage magazine site.
> http://www.ruralheritage.com/messageboard/frontporch/index1.htm
> Some of it pertains to using and making bale moving equipment for horse
> But some is not and is very good information.  Maybe you can look up the
> thread in the archives or post the question there.  Many folks on that
> farm with machinery and horses, so they probably wouldn't mind answering
> your question.  (Some use ATVs with sleds and such for moving bales.) Have
> you tried other farm forums that deal mainly in farm equipment or
> There is alot of good info out there!
> Have you tried the Farm Show site?  I use to get their bi-monthly.  It had
> several ideas on making bale moving equipment.  I remember a picture and
> description of a thing one guy built to unroll the bale in the field using
> his pick-up.  He hooked something up to his hubs to use the turning of his
> back wheels to unroll the bale as he drove.  http://www.farmshow.com/
> The following is another site that has become invaluable to me.  I highly
> recommend this site:
> http://www.agf.gov.bc.ca/resmgmt/publist/Farm_Structures.htm
> Alberta agriculture/livestock gov. site has great information for a beef
> producer.  I think there info is more valuable than anything I have run
> across in the US.
> You may also want to do a search "Agricultural Engineering Publications".
> I believe Cattle Today website has some info on round bales too.  I
> something about estimating weight and feed value/waste of round bales.
> Maybe there is some info on moving, transporting, and feeding out of round
> bales too.
>  Hope this helps! Let us know how your research goes!
> BTW:  If you are getting "rained on" or "year old" bales, don't discount
> their feed value.  Although the first several layers may be bad, the
> core could be good feed for steers.  I did this myself last year with some
> free bales.  It stretched my hay bill.  I don't recommend feeding it to
> pregnant cows.  BE SURE THERE IS NO MOLD!
> Christina
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