From Academic Kids

This article describes the farm machinery.
For the municipality in Aurora, Philippines, see Baler, Aurora.
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A round baler

A baler is a piece of farm machinery that is used to compress a cut, raked, crop (such as hay or straw) into bales and bind the bales with twine. There are several different types of balers that are commonly used.


Round baler

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A round bale

The most frequently used type of baler is a round baler. It produces cylindricaly shaped 'round' or 'rolled' bales. The hay is simply rolled up inside the baler using a number of rubberized belts. When the bale reaches a determined size, the twine that binds the bale is wrapped around the outside but not knotted. The back of the baler is opened up and the bale is discharged. These bales are 55 to 60 inches in diameter (about 150 cm) and about 60 inches in width. The bales weigh from 1100 lb (500 kg) to 1600 lb (750 kg).

The round baler was invented in 1971 by the Vermeer Company, which as of 2004 continues to produce them.

Rectangular baler

Another type of baler in common use produces large rectangular bales, each bound with a half dozen or so strings of twine which are then knotted. Such bales generally weigh somewhat more than round bales.

Square baler

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A square baler

A type of baler which is less common today produces small rectangular or 'square' bales. Each bale is about 15 in x 18 in x 38 in (38 x 46 x 96 cm). The bales are wrapped with two, three, or sometimes four strands of twine and knotted. The bales are light enough for a person to handle, about 45 lb (20 kg) to 60 lb (25 kg).

To form the bale, the hay in the windrow is lifted by tines in the baler's 'pickup'. The hay is then dragged or augered into a chamber that runs the length of one side of the baler. A combination plunger and knife moves back and forth in the front end of this chamber. The knife, positioned just ahead of the plunger, cuts off the hay at the spot where it enters the chamber from the pickup. The plunger rams the hay rearwards, compressing it into the bales. A measuring device measures the amount of hay that is being compressed and, at the appropriate length it triggers the mechanism (the knotter) that wraps the twine around the bale and ties it off. As the next bale is formed the tied one is driven out the rear of the baling chamber onto the ground. This process continues as long as there is material to be baled.

This form of bale is no longer much used in commercial agriculture because of the costs involved in handling many small bales. However, it enjoys some popularity in small-scale, low-mechanization agriculture. Besides using simpler machinery and being easy to handle these small bales can also be used for insulation and building materials in straw-bale construction.

Many of these older balers are to be found on farms today, particularly in dry areas (bales can be left outside for long periods) and where labour is not a problem.

The automatic-baler for small square bales took on most of its present form in 1940. It was first manufactured by the New Holland Company and it used a small petrol engine as the operating power. It is based on a 1937 invention for a twine-tie baler with automatic pickup.

Wire balers

Bales prior to 1937 were manually wire-tied with two baling wires. Even earlier the baler was a stationary implement, driven by power-takeoff and belt, with the hay being brought to the baler and fed in by hand. The biggest change to this type of baler since 1940 is being powered by the tractor through its power take-off, instead of by a built-in internal combustion engine.

See also


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