Bill has a different round baler this year and it will do either twine tie or net wrap. His old one was twine tie only. The debate between net wrappers vs. twine tiers keeps farmers and ranchers entertained during rainy days:
- The net wrap process is quicker, saving time and, therefore, using less gas in the tractor.
- Net-wrapping leaves less waste under the baler during the wrapping process because twine tie requires more revolutions of the bale to get it tied, resulting in more hay falling out of the baler.
- Net-wrapped bales shed water much better than twine-tied, a particular advantage this year with the frequent rains. This also means less spoilage for bales stored outside.
- Net wrap is more expensive than twine but, in the opinion of the die-hard net-wrappers, the other benefits outweigh the extra cost. And there are websites that will help a farmer calculate the cost savings.
- Biggest disadvantage to using net wrap is feeding during ice and snow conditions when net freezes to the bale. It can be difficult to remove without also pulling off a layer of hay. Someone suggested beating on the bale with a baseball bat. So, dig out that Louisville Slugger from your Little League days and dust off that home run swing to break the ice and loosen the wrap!
The “net” result, in Bill’s opinion, is net-wrap wins hands-down!
I did a ride-along with Bill to watch the baling process on-screen from the tractor cab. Yes, it’s computerized! This is a shot of the screen while hay is being pulled into the baler. There are two columns that represent the right and left halves of the bale-to-be. The goal is for both columns to fill evenly so both halves of the bale will be the same size instead of lop-sided. This shot is blurred due to the bumpy ride—I was using both hands to steady the camera while trying to balance myself to avoid falling across Bill's lap and hitting numerous levers, some hydraulic, which would result in too many disasters too horrible to contemplate! Also picked up some serious glare on the screen.
The number in the lower right corner of the screen represents the desired diameter of the bale and Bill has it preset to 57 inches. When the magic number is reached, an alarm screeches that signals Bill to stop and let the bale wrap. The little bale icon in the center on the left side of the screen below indicates the bale is wrapping.
When the wrapping process is complete, a different little icon appears on the left side of the screen to indicate the baler is ready to eject. This was a different bale than the last photo. See where the diameter gained a half inch?
While I was waiting for bales to wrap I amused myself by taking pictures out the front of the tractor...
…and out the back, looking down behind the tractor at the hay being raked into the baler.
Thanks for the ride, Bill! Now, let’s go see what the process looks like from outside the tractor. It’s not really much different than watching a twine tie bale eject. The back of the baler rises, the bale rolls out…
Voila! A net-wrapped bale!
For comparison, here are some twine-tied bales:
How much does one of these bales weigh? We’ll look at that soon in...