1996 - Volume #20, Issue #3, Page #02[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
First-Of-Its-Kind Square Bale Bagger
What makes the bagger unique is that it first compresses two big 8-ft. long square bales and then shoves them into the end of a long "sausage-type' silage hag where they re-expand to their original size, tightly sealing themselves into the air-tight }rags.
The two-wheeled, self-contained bagger unit is designed to handle two 3 by 4 by 8 ft. bales at a time. Power is supplied by a gas engine-driven hydraulic pump mounted on top of the rig. Boone uses a front-end loader to load bales two at a time into the bale chamber. Then he flips a lever to activate four cylinders that push one of the plate steel sidewalls into the bales. Once the bales have been compacted down to about 6 112 ft. in length, he flips another lever to activate the A-shaped push frame which pushes the bales out of the compaction chamber and into the bag where they re-expand tight against the sides of the bag.
"We used it for the first time last fall and it worked great," says Boone. "As the bales re-expand they displace the air and force oxygen out. Before closing up the bag we use the suction side of a leaf blower to re-move any excess air. The result is higher quality silage than you get with bagged haylage.
"We use it to make feed for our beef operation and also to sell to dairymen. We pull the unit behind a pickup. We normally bag bales at about 50 percent moisture and a weight of 1,800 to 1,900 Ibs. We can get about 70 bales in a 150-ft. long bag. We leave the bales in the hag for at least 21 days to give them time to ferment properly. When we start taking bales out we don't have to tie the bag back up because the last bale serves as a seal.
"High moisture big bale silage is gaining new attention because of the problems some dairymen arc having with haylage. Haylage is chopped fine and it's so high in protein that it often goes through cattle too fast, causing- them w lose eight.
"Another advantage of making big bale silage is that it costs less than to make chopped haylage, and silage hales also have a longer shelf life than bagged haylage.
"We use a conventional 8-ft. dia. silage bag but fasten it to a square frame instead of a round one. The bag has two layers of plastic. As the bales begin to re-expand in-side the bag they catch the inner layer of plastic and pull it along. For the first four to six bales we raise the rig's wheels until it sits on the ground. After that we lower the wheels so that the machine rolls forward on its own as it pushes the bales into the bag."
A 25 hp Kohler gas engine powers a 16-gat. hydraulic pump. The compactor plate uses four 4 by 24-in. cylinders controlled by a flow divider that runs them all at the same speed. The push frame is operated by two 4-in- dia., 60-in. long cylinders. A 4 by 24-im cylinder opens or closes the push frame and another cylinder latches it shut. Contact: FARM SHOW Fo1lowup, Darin Boone, 3834 Dogwood, Pasco, Wash. 99301 (ph 509 266-4423).
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