Baling Hay

A couple days after Harland mowed the hay in the field featured in my hay mowing post, he was back to bale it.  He makes those large “elephant-sized” bales, and uses then to feed the cattle through the winter.

The baler, positioned over the row of hay left by the swather, is pulled around the field behind the tractor.

The hay is drawn up into the baler as it goes over it, is wound tightly together until the baler is full, netting is applied around the bale to hold it together, and then Harland pulls a rope on the baler which lifts the lid,

and discharges the bale out the back.

The lid comes back down,

and Harland is off again to make another bale. Each bale weighs about 1500 pounds, and we usually get about 4 bales per acre.

About every 50 bales, Harland applies baby powder to the netting on the back of the baler.

Roll of Bale Netting

Applying Baby Powder

Applying Baby Powder

This keeps the netting from sticking to the rubber rollers it is fed through.

It’s late afternoon, and Harland leans against a bale while taking a break. Taking advantage of the dry weather, he bales until 9pm before stopping for the day, and eating supper, so he has a snack to keep him going.

Snack Time

Back to the baling. Here another one is done, and Harland releases the baler lid.

Bale Lid Opening

Baler Lid Opening

The bale drops out,

Bale Drops Out

and the lid closes.

Bale Lid Closing

Here’s a close up of a bale.

Close-up Of Bale

An instrument inside the tractor cab indicates what is going on inside the baler, and lets Harland know via a flashing light and beeping sound when the bale is ready to be dropped out.

Baling Instrument

When all the baling is done, Harland will be back in the tractor with 2 bale spears, one attached to the back of the tractor, one on the front, each containing 3 long spikes. He’ll skewer the bales and carry them from the field to a central location, and arrange them in neat rows all touching. And there they will stay until needed for feeding to the cattle next winter.

Here’s what the field looked like when Harland finished baling here.

New Bales

He left to finish the baling in other fields, and I lingered to take pics of the finished hay. I wish I could include in this post what the bales smell like. Think freshly mown grass, times ten. It’s a very clean smell. I think it should be captured in a candle. Just my opinion.

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