Baling is the 3rd and almost final step the process of making hay. After the windrows that have been previously raked are deemed dry enough to bale we can start this process. Sometimes depending on weather the baler can follow the rake around the field and bale right after the rake has flipped two windrows into one. Balers are pretty amazing machines they are composed of belts and rollers, which work together to form a bale. The baler picks up the windrows from the field and keeps wrapping the hay around until a bale is formed. Our bales are round and end up being about a thousand pounds, but there are all sorts of different bales big square bales little square bales (you see this more often for horse feed) the size or shape of bale doesn’t matter and the process doesn’t vary the only difference is the type of baler. When running the baler you always have to be paying attention (something that is very difficult for me, as my attention span is quite limited lol), so needless to say I’ve had some mini disasters. Our baler signals when it’s full and a bale can be dumped by a single beep, however that beeping sound is very hard to hear with the noise of the tractor, so you always need to have an eye on the meter that reads how full of hay the baler is. On occasion the baler is signaling me to stop picking up more haying because it has began the tying process, which wraps baler twine around the bale to hold all the hay together, so the bale can be transported, but I miss that signal and keep picking up hay. This is bad because it is hard on the baler, but also you make way bigger bales than the rest and the baler has started the tying process, but hay is still being picked up, so the result is fluffy looking bales because hay is sticking out from every direction under the baler twine. I get quite a hard time when I make my infamous “Big Bales” which are due to me day dreaming when I should be paying more attention. Also, the baling process is where I got the idea for the title of the Haying Series Blogs “Bug Bites and Dirt Tans” because we bale with an open cab tractor and the baler produces a lot of dust, so at the end of the day you are covered in dust and upon first inspection I get quite excited that I got a wicked tan from a day of sitting on the baler, but I’m quite disappointed at night when I shower and my tan disappears!
These picture are from when Dad and I were replacing the belts on the baler to try and ensure a smooth baling season and to help prevent breakdowns and down time. I quite enjoyed myself because I had to crawl inside the baler and wrap belts around the appropriate rollers and in the proper pattern.