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  #1  
Old 08/25/12, 10:30 PM
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: SW MO
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What type of bale ring should I get?

I need to replace the old ring I've been using and don't know what style to get. I probably won't have access to a loader at all times to put them out with. Are bale unrollers good? I'm looking to minamize waste.

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  #2  
Old 08/25/12, 10:46 PM
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We have a black plastic one, I think it is ABS. This is just its second year but so far so good. It is lighter and easier to flip over the bale than the metal ones. If the bull plays with it, it flexes right back. Paid $199 for it at the local farm service. We like it well enough to buy a 2nd one; we have some heifers over at our son's place that have been wasting more hay than they eat so they need a ring too.

We don't have enough cattle to use a hay unroller but if you have enough cattle to clean up a big bale in a day, they are slick.

According to tests I have read, the "cradle" type of hay feeders have the least waste but you have to have a front loader to drop the bale into them. We don't, we use a pickup with a spike to move bales, so it wasn't an option for us. Also the hay cradles are more expensive up front to buy.

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  #3  
Old 08/25/12, 10:52 PM
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: south central KY 75 miles SSE of Louisville
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MO_cows View Post
We have a black plastic one, I think it is ABS. This is just its second year but so far so good. It is lighter and easier to flip over the bale than the metal ones. If the bull plays with it, it flexes right back. Paid $199 for it at the local farm service. We like it well enough to buy a 2nd one; we have some heifers over at our son's place that have been wasting more hay than they eat so they need a ring too.

We don't have enough cattle to use a hay unroller but if you have enough cattle to clean up a big bale in a day, they are slick.

According to tests I have read, the "cradle" type of hay feeders have the least waste but you have to have a front loader to drop the bale into them. We don't, we use a pickup with a spike to move bales, so it wasn't an option for us. Also the hay cradles are more expensive up front to buy.
+1000

I LOVE our black plastic bale rings, think we gave $225-ish? each. They are lighter, they roll around nicely, I can lift them up while DH places the bale with the tractor......and, with Scottish Highlands, they can get their heads in and out of the openings nicely, without getting stuck and panicking like they did with the metal ones we used to use. That, and they have YET to break one of these....compared to DH always having to weld this or that back together on the metal ones.
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  #4  
Old 08/25/12, 11:31 PM
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Unrolling will probably keep waste to a minimum except when the weather is snowy, icy, or wet. Then they use it for bedding. If you have more hay than your cows can clean up in a day, only unroll what they will clean up that day.

We got to the point of not even using bale rings. Most of the guys around here just set the bales out in the open. I don't think they really waste anymore than with a ring. With a ring, they still pull out a lot more than they'll eat. If you notice they drop more and step on it than what they eat.

I never could see that using a bale ring saved me any money considering the costs of the rings.

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  #5  
Old 08/26/12, 12:36 PM
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Oklahoma
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I've fed bales without a bale ring in the past, but now I use skirted bale rings.

I like the type made out of square tubing with sheetmetal around the bottom, they are lightweight enough to tip up and roll to the next bale, but stout enough that the bulls don't tear them up.

When I was feeding bales without a ring, I'd guess that about 30% was being wasted and with the skirted rings I'd guess about 10% was wasted. Since a ring will last for 5-10 years, I could easily pay for a whole bunch of bale rings if I was just saving 5-10% on the amount of hay wasted.

But, saying all that, from what I've seen, I'm not sure that the unskirted bale rings save much hay compared to the skirted ones.

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  #6  
Old 08/26/12, 12:45 PM
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Here is El Cheapo bale feeder. I was able to use cedar trees that the goats had killed, plus $16 worth of drills and lag bolts.

It's light enough for me to tip it on it's side, roll it into place, and lay it down over the bale.

Round bale feeder pictures by genebo16 - Photobucket

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  #7  
Old 08/26/12, 01:46 PM
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by genebo View Post
Here is El Cheapo bale feeder. I was able to use cedar trees that the goats had killed, plus $16 worth of drills and lag bolts.

It's light enough for me to tip it on it's side, roll it into place, and lay it down over the bale.

Round bale feeder pictures by genebo16 - Photobucket
You must have way too much time on your hands!.......Kidding, looks like something I would do.
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  #8  
Old 08/26/12, 01:56 PM
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: South Ky Zone 7
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The unrollers are the way to go....you don't have to unroll the whole bale if you don't need it, just unroll what you need and do a little more next time.
IMO the only time you need to feed a bale stationary is in the spring when they are starting into grass or at times when you are only feeding a little.
There are several advantages of unrolling I think, especially during calving, unrolling gets the cows out in the open, all can eat at once without the stress of fighting for a bite. Calves are way less likely to get trampled, than when they are all huddled around a bale of hay.

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  #9  
Old 08/26/12, 02:46 PM
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I gave in to the unrolling theory for my little herd of Dexters last winter. Bad idea. There isn't any level ground in my pastures and the bale got away from me. Unrolled the whole bale and took down two sections of fence.

I fixed the fence. It would normally take my bunch 5 or 6 days to eat a round bale, but they never did eat that one. They pee'd, pooped and slept on it. The last of the hay disappeared in June. Good compost, but a little pricey.

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  #10  
Old 08/26/12, 04:34 PM
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: South Ky Zone 7
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i have three different herds...43hd,40hd and 20hd so the unrolling works out better the higher the cattle number. Don't know how many you have but with fewer, you can get by with a ring. Its probably best to move it to a new spot occasonally if its muddy.

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  #11  
Old 08/26/12, 10:28 PM
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Hang on to your rusty old ring. One day you may have goats and can cut it into sections to make a cradle feeder. I prefer unrolling. I just drop the bale and use the front end loader to play bale soccer until enough is unrolled. What Paul said about only unrolling a days worth...I feed little hay last winter, but wasted about half until I realized that I could pick up about half the bale and save it. A bale in-roller is on my father's day wish list. I don't like what the tractor does in sog when playing bale soccer.

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  #12  
Old 08/27/12, 12:19 AM
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I've honestly never used a skirted bale ring. If you can save 20% loss, it would be worth it, especially if you're buying hay. Every bit helps.

With us baling our own hay, we've probably gotten a little lax. I think most people that bale their own and always have excess tend to not worry about the waste as much. In years like this it can make a big difference, though.

The first time I unrolled a bale was in the beginning (years ago) when money was too tight to spend on a bale ring. I would set the bale on a hill and push. Unfortunately, the old baler we had then didn't bale tight enough and the bales squatted. It was a heck of a chore trying to unroll by hand even on a hillside. lol A neighbor suggested using an old pickup or car wheel and mounting it to the front of the tractor. Then you put that wheel against the bale and push with the tractor to unroll the bale. It worked great.

I seldom unroll a bale now. Depending on the weather, I will set out one or two bales per day. It's a lot easier to just set them and go. I use the skid steer now.

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  #13  
Old 08/27/12, 05:52 AM
 
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Last winter I just unrolled the hay by hand with the cows trying to eat as I unrolled. I was not concerned with waste as I had more hay then I needed and I was trying to add organic matter to the area anyway. Occasionally a bale would have a really flat spot and it would a bit more work than I would have liked. This year I have a different poor area I want to add organic to the soil so I parked the bales at the top of the slope - I'm hoping I can give a big heave ho to unroll.

While I have a goal of not feeding hay I'm not there yet - the cotton that grew here for generations was hard on the soil.

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  #14  
Old 08/27/12, 11:43 AM
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Zone 7
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A bale ring will slowly starve a very timid bovine. The boss animals will keep the timid animal run away.

I have a simple and cheap unroller bought 10+ years ago. As i recalled it costs $430 back then. Prior to going full time intensive rotational grazing I tried everything marketed to feed round bales. I even bought one of the big trailer type bale feeders which was a major mistake.
Other than rotational grazing nothing else beats the unrolling for feeding round bales IMO I will see if I can locate a link to the unroller.

Here is what I have. It would be a simple item to build if you can weld.
http://www.everythingattachments.com...roller-lb6.htm

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Last edited by agmantoo; 08/27/12 at 11:54 AM.
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  #15  
Old 08/27/12, 06:54 PM
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Oklahoma
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Agmantoo -

The unroller in the link looks simple enough, but I didn't see any hydraulics or obvious way to squeeze the arms in on the bale. So, how do you get it to pick up a bale?

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  #16  
Old 08/27/12, 07:53 PM
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: South Ky Zone 7
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you put a cylinder on it

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  #17  
Old 08/27/12, 11:04 PM
Dariy Calf Raiser
 
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This is what I use not my video




it makes it easy to put hay were you want it I farm in the hills this works great for putting hay in the cow paths were they go to water plus it is a little harder for the cows to get up and stand to eat so they T in to the pile..and you can stop anytime...I put out balage also and they will lick the ground if you do not put out enough
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  #18  
Old 08/27/12, 11:17 PM
Dariy Calf Raiser
 
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this is what mine looks like made by DEZEE

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  #19  
Old 08/28/12, 12:48 PM
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: SW MO
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Originally Posted by myersfarm View Post
this is what mine looks like made by DEZEE

where did you get that ive never seen one like that before. Do you like it? I might just get an unroller and patch my old bale ring up. Im supprise by all of the good things ive heard about the plastic rings, everyone who has one really likes them.
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  #20  
Old 08/29/12, 12:19 AM
Dariy Calf Raiser
 
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I bought mine off craigslist for $350 ...other companies make them I just have a problem getting the small bale off after I unroll almost all of it.... as in a 1 foot bale... but i can pull off by hand

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