Hay Bales (From overseas in Wisc.)

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I'm an European small homestead(Portugal), and I would like to know if someone can tell me the best way to make hay bales (rectangular), with simple tools, not using any fancy equipment. Also I would like to visit a small farm, to see how sheep, goats and very small quantities of cattle are raised in America. I'm staying in Appleton, Wisconsin, and my phone is (920)832-8943 Obrigado!! Thanks a Million!!

-- Manuel Franklin Gdog G (Gdog G@famvid.com), April 18, 2000


Response to Hay Bales

I don't believe you can make bales of hay without a baling machine, though some of the early ones just compressed the hay and somebody had to manually tie the string around the bale. There are several ways of curing and storing hay without baling it, though. Maybe someone with more experience in that area will write in.

-- Kathleen Sanderson (stonycft@worldpath.net), April 18, 2000.

Response to Hay Bales

Here's a left over piece of information that we learned for Y2K. Though I would have loved a break from the hussle and bussle, when you really start realizing what we would have to do to survive, thank you modern technology. Build yourself a box the size you want your bales to be, for example 2 feet wide by 3 feet long. Not to heavy now! And no lid! You then put down two stings going width ways and two stings going long ways (modern bales have 2 strings only, but they are packet much tighter. Now sythe (sp) down your grass, the longer the better, let it dry in the sun and flip it over the next day. When it is dry, place it in the box, on top of the stings, and pack it down, small layer upon small layer, crossing the grass back and forth so it doesn't just fall out, if you can make a lid for this that is smaller all the way around than the box, you can use it as a press. Now tie your neat little package of hay and make sure and keep the hay where the moisture can evaporate. This method could work well in a dry climate, here near the Gulf of Mexico, in Texas, we would have to really check our hay for mold. You can stack your grass that is cut into those cute little teepee's that you see folks do with wheat, which would help it dry faster. Don't bale until afternoon so the dew is dried. Vicki

-- Vicki McGaugh (vickilonesomedoe@hotmail.com), April 18, 2000.

Response to Hay Bales

Are you sure you can't just make stacks? Easiest way without a baler. The way to make small bales (but they won't look much like those made with a baler) is to compress loose hay and tie it. I've seen balers made from old metal 55 gallon drums, large shipping crate type boxes, something that will withstand a fair amount of pressure. Put the twine in, then the hay. Stomp or press the hay, and keep going until the baler is filled, tie off. Some of them have a hinged arm with a pivoting arm hanging from it. The pivoting arm is a container-sized plunger. The hinged arm extends on past the other side of the baler and you pull/push it down to force the plunger into the hay to compact it. (Something like certain hand-held garlic presses)

Mother Earth News had an article about homemade balers once, but I don't know the issue. Build It Better Yourself by the Editors of Organic Gardening and Farming (ISBN O-87857-133-7) has plans for a small bale maker on pages 806 and 807. Check with the library where you are to see if they have this book. It makes roughly a 16"x34" bale of about 25 pounds. Gerbil

-- Gerbil (ima_gerbil@hotmail.com), April 18, 2000.

Response to Hay Bales

Looks like it would be lot faster to just store the hay loose, if you had enough barn space!! :-) But I've learned a new trick that I'll keep in mind for the future!

-- Kathleen Sanderson (stonycft@worldpath.net), April 18, 2000.

Response to Hay Bales

My buddy uses a baler for his hay, but when it comes to his tobacco, he uses a home made baler. Maybe you could something similar.

He uses a wood box that had a post that come up the middle of the back. To this post he has a bracket attached.

He puts some twine into the box, throws in the tobacco until it's full, places a board that fits inside the box on top, then he places an old "bumper" style jack between the board and the bracket on the post. Then all he has to do is crank the jack "up" which compress everything in the box. He does this a couple of times until his bale is the size he wants, ties it off and stacks it.

Good luck!

-- Eric Stone (ems@nac.net), April 24, 2000.

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