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Low Cost Bale Squeeze
A low-cost, homebuilt "balesqueezer" lets Merl Hawthorne, Taylor, Neb., shorten bales to 19 in. - about half their original length - to reduce transportation costs for shipping.
Hawthorne's "bale squeeze" is operated by an air-cooled 10-hp motor or off the tractor's hydraulic system. The motor powers a 36-in. long hydraulic cylinder that applies 25,000 lbs. of pressure. One man puts bales on the "bale squeeze" and an-other man takes them off. Bales are retied by hand when compressed. The unit can be trailer- or 3-pt. mounted.
"Commercial bale compactors cost $40,000 to $60,000. I built my bale squeezer for less than $2,000," says Hawthorne, who buys premium-quality alfalfa hay and ships it to Puerto Rico and other countries as a sideline to his 600-head beef backgrounding operation. "Normally 4 wouldn't be able to get more than 35,000 lbs. worth of bales on a semi-trailer. My bale squeezer lets me transport the legal limit of 52,000 lbs."
Hawthorne can set the bale squeezer so that the controls automatically kick back to neutral when a certain pressure is reached. He says the optimum moisture content of alfalfa hay for compacting is 15 to 17%. At higher moisture, the water is literally squeezed out, and at 12 to 13% moisture, too many leaves shatter.
Hawthorne says he sells "bale squeeze" models compress 1 to 4 bales at a time for $1,200 to $3,400.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Merl Hawthorne, Hawthorne Ranch, Taylor, Neb. 68879 (ph 308 942-5995).

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1990 - Volume #14, Issue #1