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The great baler debate

Jordan Anderson 02/19/2014 @ 4:22pm Digital Content Editor for Successful Farming magazine and Agriculture.com

Casey Lange got his feet wet in the farming world, and now he’s looking to take on his next big endeavor. “I started farming in northeast Nebraska about three years ago, finally bought some cows, and I have an interest in buying a round baler,” explains the young farmer. “Which balers are good quality and a good value? I’d prefer net wrap, but after the drought, funds are limited, as most of you understand.”

With an immense variety of styles, brands, and generations of balers out there, Lange received opinions from just about every angle imaginable.

“I have a New Holland 688, and I really like it.”

• “The Vermeers are good machines.”

• “I’ve used a John Deere 468 with net wrap. It made a good bale.”

• “I’d sure go for the Case.”

Proficient in the custom-haying business, Frank Sparks offers tips from his experience. 

“Have an estimate of how many bales you’ll make per year and what your budget is,” says the Montana farmer.

Lange plans to hay 200 to 300 bales, so Sparks instructs him not to get overly fancy in his choice of baler. “A little upkeep goes a long way.”

Weighing the pros and cons helps shrink the pool of decisions when making a big investment. 

“The automatic machines have their own pumps and hydraulics to run the twine, tailgate, and kicker. The older balers are lighter, so if you have a smaller tractor, it can handle them easier,” says Sparks. “These newer balers take a pretty good horsepower to run, particularly when going up and down hills.”

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