Contractors baler not baling bales properly

box

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
NZ
Evening
As I chew through my winter supply of wrapped baleage, I'm running into a lot of problem bales which are a nightmare to unwrap in one piece, often ending up with bits of wrap and strands of net tangled up between the layers of silage. I guess what I want to know is, how well do balers actually work? How consistent should the end product be? What's "normal"? My thinking is that every bale should be almost perfect and a modern baler is idiot proof if it's set up and working properly....or am I expecting too much?

Issues are:
-Layers of silage between layers of wrap
-Layers of silage between layers of net
-Layers of net tangled in between layers of wrap
-Cone shaped bales which have lots of silage bunched up on one end and net all bunched up on the other end
-Bales coming out of the baler with massive holes torn in the wrap, usually near the edge. Not too many of these fortunately.

Raked with big tractor and 2 or 4 rotor rake, baled with massive tractors with Krone, Kuhn and McHale combis. Worst bales seem to be coming out of the Kuhn. Not chopped.

Last year I had them mow, rake, bale and stack, the mowers left half the paddock behind, the stackers ripped holes in every third bale. This year I had them rake and bale only, and they've made a bit of a mess of that too. Tempted to change to a different contractor, maybe I'm being a bit picky. Maybe they had inexperienced drivers because COVID. It's not like I know anything about balers.

Thoughts?
 

Martyn

Member
Location
South west
Baling and wrapping is a very simple task really, we may get one bale out of 400/500 that I haven't concentrated well enough when baling and not notice fast enough that the net has started to be pulled into bale, but our baler soon bleeps to tell us something is not right.

I'd change contractor if they can't get this right I dread to get them to drill fields etc.
 

Kiwi Pete

Member
Livestock Farmer
Sounds like speed-baling to me....

Although, film-on-film baling can teach operators bad tricks for when they use a net baler - the difference being, you want the film to start while there's still silage disappearing into the throat of the baler, pulls it in and starts to wrap.
With net you need to stop sooner as it feeds better, it isn't a sticky roll, but I guess you don't think of it if you aren't feeding them out? 🤷‍♂️

The cone-bales are caused as you'd expect, too much row in one side of the throat, which can be caused by lopsided rows or inattention.

Lumps of silage in the wrap, that's generally crop that has gone into the baler after netting, eg when you back through a row to sit a bale on the contour

All sounds like rookie stuff TBH, some guys are all about numbers and don't care about what falls out the back.

Have a word with your contractor first, if you get blown off then have a change!
 

Optimus

Member
We'd a similar issue with the baler making soft bales on one side.nightmare to wrap an stack.did a fair few before got to the bottom of it.
 

yellowbelly

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
N.Lincs
There are many things that need to be right to produce good, solid, well wrapped bales.

With today's modern machinery the job is much easier than it used to be but it still requires a good bloke on the tractor seat of each link in the chain (raking, baling, wrapping, carting and stacking.

You're the one with the cheque book - a top job deserves a top price, something less needs you to withold some money.
 

kiwi pom

Member
Location
canterbury NZ
Get a new contractor, lay down the law from the start. One of the problems I see with some firms round here is they have a lot of blokes riding round in utes, seemingly too important to drive machines. They'd rather put inexperienced guys on the tractors and work them into the ground. Problems often ocur at night when the ute drivers have long gone home after telling the tractor drivers what they must complete before they knock off.
 

glasshouse

Member
Location
lothians
Get a new contractor, lay down the law from the start. One of the problems I see with some firms round here is they have a lot of blokes riding round in utes, seemingly too important to drive machines. They'd rather put inexperienced guys on the tractors and work them into the ground. Problems often ocur at night when the ute drivers have long gone home after telling the tractor drivers what they must complete before they knock off.
So if one of your drivershas a problem 20k away, how do you get thereif you are on a tractor and dont have a ute?
How do you organise the next job, talk to the customer etc?
 

Henarar

Member
Livestock Farmer
Issues are:
-Layers of silage between layers of wrap
-Layers of silage between layers of net
-Layers of net tangled in between layers of wrap
-Cone shaped bales which have lots of silage bunched up on one end and net all bunched up on the other end
-Bales coming out of the baler with massive holes torn in the wrap, usually near the edge. Not too many of these fortunately.

silage between layres of wrap would indicate not enough or poorly applied net
silage between layers of net is down to not stopping quick enough when the buzzer goes
net tangled in wrap would be pooly applied net or bad shapped bales
poor shapped bales is driver error or badly rowed up but as the contractor is rowing up they should know better
the last one I would think it catching on something ?

you need a new contractor
 

kiwi pom

Member
Location
canterbury NZ
So if one of your drivershas a problem 20k away, how do you get thereif you are on a tractor and dont have a ute?
How do you organise the next job, talk to the customer etc?

Nothing wrong with having an organiser, its just some places are getting a bit top heavy with loads of managers and seem to have forgotten its the tractors that make the money.
Good operators don't need watching, phones for communicating.
You need to be realistic about how much can be achieved each day too.
 
Could it be going for the cheapest man out there who’s rushing around to try and get some money back after spending a fortune on expensive kit ???
 

box

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
NZ
Good replies so far, thanks. I briefly had a whinge to manager man a couple of months ago, he mumbled something about COVID and a lack of skilled drivers......it kind of makes sense because I didn't really have any problems with the construction of the bales last year. I wonder if it's going to be the same story with another contractor? Afterall, they all rely on seasonal workers coming in from UK/Ireland.

Does challenging terrain make the job harder for them? Some of my paddocks are pretty horrible, I certainly noticed more damaged wrap and funny shaped bales on steep paddocks.

I thought everything farming related was done perfectly in NZ;)
Perfection seems to go out the window the moment you rely on someone else to do a job.

Could it be going for the cheapest man out there who’s rushing around to try and get some money back after spending a fortune on expensive kit ???
Certainly not the cheapest, nor is it "a" man....more like a family owned contracting/dairy farming empire.

You're the one with the cheque book - a top job deserves a top price, something less needs you to withold some money.
I would love to withold some money, the problem is the bales were made and paid for 9 months ago.
 
Last edited:
Covi
Good replies so far, thanks. I briefly had a whinge to manager man a couple of months ago, he mumbled something about COVID and a lack of skilled drivers......it kind of makes sense because I didn't really have any problems with the construction of the bales last year. I wonder if it's going to be the same story with another contractor? Afterall, they all rely on seasonal workers coming in from UK/Ireland.

Does challenging terrain make the job harder for them? Some of my paddocks are pretty horrible, I certainly noticed more damaged wrap and funny shaped bales on steep paddocks.


Perfection seems to go out the window the moment you rely on someone else to do a job.


Certainly not the cheapest, nor is it "a" man....more like a family owned contracting/dairy farming empire.


I would love to withold some money, the problem is the bales were made and paid for 9 months ago.

covid has been an arse. And this season will be more of the same sadly.
ad to that the issue of parts and equipment supply. It’s not over yet.
 

Drillman

Member
Mixed Farmer
Good replies so far, thanks. I briefly had a whinge to manager man a couple of months ago, he mumbled something about COVID and a lack of skilled drivers......it kind of makes sense because I didn't really have any problems with the construction of the bales last year. I wonder if it's going to be the same story with another contractor? Afterall, they all rely on seasonal workers coming in from UK/Ireland.

Does challenging terrain make the job harder for them? Some of my paddocks are pretty horrible, I certainly noticed more damaged wrap and funny shaped bales on steep paddocks.


Perfection seems to go out the window the moment you rely on someone else to do a job.


Certainly not the cheapest, nor is it "a" man....more like a family owned contracting/dairy farming empire.


I would love to withold some money, the problem is the bales were made and paid for 9 months ago.
Sounds like you need to do spot checks in the field when operations are on going.

if not happy stop the job and give the head honcho chance to sort it/ a bollocking…..
 

balerman

Member
Location
N Devon
There is no excuse really these days with modern machinery.Poor raking is my biggest problem,single rotor rakes the main culprit cos they take a bit to set up properly and most dont bother just crack on.All my customers want to rake their own grass,despite trying to educate a couple of poor ones,the raking is the key to good shape bales which are easier to wrap properly.
 
There is no excuse really these days with modern machinery.Poor raking is my biggest problem,single rotor rakes the main culprit cos they take a bit to set up properly and most dont bother just crack on.All my customers want to rake their own grass,despite trying to educate a couple of poor ones,the raking is the key to good shape bales which are easier to wrap properly.

I single rotor rake my own grass, BUT, I also do a lot of my own baling, both for hay and silage. It can be done... :)
 

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