Last we left Farm Equipment Fridays, we had finished raking the hay into windrows. Next comes the baler.
(This is a photo-heavy entry, so be a little patient. I promise, it’s worth it!)
We use a round baler. This equipment makes, you guessed it, bales of hay that are round. There are other balers that make square bales. We may talk about those later. But, for now! The round baler!
The tractor drives over the newly raked windrows, and pulls the baler behind it. The baler has a rake at the bottom that rakes up all the hay from the windrow and throws it inside the baler.
There are conveyer belts inside the baler that roll the hay around and around and around inside. More hay gets added to the outside, sort of like a big snowball. This whole time, the conveyer belts are packing the “hay ball” tight.
When the baler is full, it beeps, and the tractor driver knows to stop. A full baler has a bale of hay that is about 5-1/2 feet in diameter.
Once the bale is made, it needs something to keep it together. We use string, but other people use plastic. The full bale is rolled around inside the baler some more, and the string is wrapped around the bale.
Once the bale is wrapped, the back door of the baler opens, and the bale falls out.
Pretty neat, huh?
The baler has a bar that pushes the completed bale away from the back of the equipment, so the door can shut again.
The bale rolls away a little bit, the door closes, and the baler moves on!
And we are left with bales of hay scattered around our field.
(Don’t worry, we’ll come back and pick them up later.)