Bale size andbaler selection

When choosing equipment for agriculture, there are always a lot of details to consider. This also applies directly to balers for packing feed stuff in a bale net wrap.

It is necessary to look not only at the price and capacity of the equipment, but also take into account the needs of the farm or enterprise with the equipment already available. In addition, an important factor is the desired size and type of bales, which will be most convenient for staff, take into account the number of livestock and the specifics of the formation of the diet for animals on the farm.

Now there are balers that can make bales of different sizes depending on the settings on the equipment. In previous years, packing in square bales was common, but now it is more common to pack feed stuff in large round bales.

The following table can help you understand the choice of packaging method and selection of equipment:

Round balers

It only takes one operator to pack large quantities of feed stuff into round bales with a round baler and bale net wraps. However, such a large package further requires special vehicles for transportation.

A tractor with sufficient power must be selected for the round baler. The density of the roll and the speed of feed processing will depend on this. Even small balers usually need at least 35 hp tractors. You can find recommendations for power depending on the size of the bales in this table:

But even more important than power selection when choosing a tractor for a baler is its weight. The weight of the tractor must be greater than the weight of the baler. In this way, you will be able to maintain control over your packaging equipment even on uneven terrain such as slopes.

The price for one hour of operation of a baler practically does not change depending on its performance. It will be plus or minus the same at half power, and at 90%. Therefore, the higher the productivity, the more profitable and cheaper the wrapping of one bale net wrap. This can be calculated using the formula:

Baling cost ($/ton) = Cost to operate ($/hour) ÷ Throughput (ton/hour)

Attention! Despite the seeming benefit of working at maximum performance, you should not chase it too hard. If the equipment gets stuck and you have to make an emergency stop, it can take half an hour or more. Such downtime can cost you your crop and more money than the high harvesting output per hour of operation of your baler.

Round balers are available with fixed and variable chambers:

  • In a typical fixed chamber baler, the hay is rolled inside until the entire space is filled. After that, the bale is wrapped and ejected. As a rule, such bales have a soft core. The internal working parts of the fixed chamber are usually belts, chains, rollers or drums.
  • In a variable chamber baler, special flat belts or chains with slats hold the bale throughout the entire process, from initial formation to completion. This ensures the same density of packing over the entire diameter.


Innovation! Some balers may have two bale chambers: while a new bale is being formed in one chamber, it is wrapped, tied and ejected in the second. Thanks to this, in the process of work, there is no need to stop the tractor during wrapping.

Which round baler do you prefer? Studies show that an adjustable chamber and belts reduce hay loss compared to equipment with a fixed bale chamber and rollers. But on the other hand, rollers usually require less maintenance time compared to belts and chains. Therefore, it all comes down to the personal preference of the buyer and the end user.

Round balers come in a variety of sizes. As a result of packaging, you can get a bale net wrap from 4 to 8 feet wide, and the weight will vary from 500 to 2500 pounds, depending on the type of feed stuff and cutting time.

There are also mini round balers that can be suitable for smaller farms. Bales from there usually weigh between 40 and 55 pounds. Thus, even one person can lift them into a trailer for transportation or transfer to a feeding place.

News from Polypak: Soon we will announce our net bale wraps for mini round balers! Follow our news or contact our managers now.

Square bales

Some farms prefer to pack feed stuff in large rectangular bales with a high density. This is convenient when long-distance transportation is subsequently required. These bales are 23 to 50 inches high and wide and 47 to 98 inches long. The weight can range from 400 to 2200 pounds depending on the packaged feed stuff.

Packing such large rectangular bags requires a large capacity baler and tractor. Usually the minimum required tractor power in this case starts from 120 hp. Special equipment will also be needed for transport and feeding later, due to the heavy weight of the bales.

As with round balers, one of the key features remains the weight of the tractor. It must exceed the weight of the baler. However, in some cases, the width of the equipment and some other details must also be taken into account. All this information is usually found in the instruction manual.

Some farms still package feed stuff in small rectangular net wraps with a cross section of 14 to 16 inches and a length of up to 50 inches. The weight of the food packaged this way will average 55 to 75 pounds. Thus, the rectangular bales can be manually handled during stacking and infeed. The process is labour-intensive and often requires 4-5 people at the same time to transport from the field to the storage, but there is no need for additional equipment.

Brief summary

The choice of a baler should first of all take into account the shape and size of the bale, which will be convenient for the farm. You should also consider the amount of hay that will need to be collected. Plus, be sure to take into account the power and size of other necessary equipment to ensure the operation of the baler and the transportation of packaged feed stuff.

As a packaging material, we recommend using Polypak bale net wraps. We have written about many of their benefits in this article. And here you will find a comparison of net and twine packaging – which is better?

Have questions? Look for the answer in the FAQ or ask our managers.