- This topic has 84 replies, 17 voices, and was last updated 4 years, 4 months ago by Anonymous.
- April 10, 2013 at 2:17 pm #78441PaulkParticipant
I did do a search for the mini balers and now I want one! There is the Italian company that has one that will fit in the bed of a pickup that would be perfect. I don’t have any hay ground but my grandmother does have about 15 acres of pasture and another 10acres of farm ground I could turn into hay ground. I have been tossing the idea around but when I weigh spending a minimum of $15,000-$20,000 on used wore out equipment I don’t know if it is worth it. I spent about $1300 on hay last year and feed as many as 50 head of goats and three equine. It would take me 12+ years to break even unless I could sale surplus hay and thats with no labor. I can’t decide if I need more on my plate by getting into the hay business. I have several tractors but all but one are pre 1940 and the one is a Massey 35 diesel that I use to move hay,blade the drive etc. I don’t know if I would pull it with my team but I could if I had a good pot cart I guess, i just think it would be good for baling enough to feed my animals. I could mow and rake with my mules and bale with my tractor I already have though. It does seem a little funny that Allis Chalmers had this Idea with the cigar balers or mini round balers years ago but they didn’t really catch on. I have seen a few but didn’t pay enough attention as to wether they would be fit for a ground drive cart. Anyway if I had $9000 dollars burning a hole in my pocket I would consider a mini baler.April 10, 2013 at 4:17 pm #78444
I have seen many picture of people baling with two horses on a regular size baler..I don’t think they could keep up the pace for many rounds. Although three head on a minni would be a big step up. With the minni weighting 1000-1300 less. Things start looking better. Also with the center pickup you help a little with the over all draft. Its just the two things holding every one back ,Price and plug…A little weight would help the plug, as well as a good fly wheel set up. Just don’t know if enough. If not you could put a even smaller engine to it and get buy,,just be adding to the over all price. You can buy a lot of custom hay or regular hay for that price.April 10, 2013 at 8:01 pm #78446
Thanks you very much for that explanation, makes a lot more sense to me now. If you had been in my mind while I read that you would have seen the light bulbs go on! Now you have done it, another tool to put on the list to get. Just in the process of picking up a New Holland 477. 7′ haybine, I think that would work pretty well behind a powered forecart. I still might look at the HD ground drive forecart to see if that would be up to the task.
Don, I know what you mean, I used mixed power in the woodlot in the winters, horses to skid, tractor and forwarding trailer to get to the landing. I’d way rather just use the horses, but the types of cuts(80% firewood) I do depend on production and being as efficient as possible. If the other option were to cut down the volume coming out and do a more high grade type cut, I wouldn’t be doing it at all.
SteveApril 10, 2013 at 8:17 pm #78449bendubeParticipant
For some context on biodiesel-
For rape or canola, it takes 20 lbs of seed to make a gallon of biodiesel, which is worth just slightly less than a gallon of diesel, or slightly more than a gallon of gasoline. At 3000#/ac, that’s a little less than 1500 sq ft for Donn’s 5 gallons needed per thousand bales. That looks pretty favorable to me!
Coincidentally, the corn to ethanol ratio is also about 20 lbs to the gallon. Your yields of corn would usually be higher. A lot of this probably comes down to what equipment/expertise different folks have.
If a fraction of an acre of fuel crops can provide supplemental power for high-energy tasks during tight windows in a peak working season, it seems like this a pretty powerful synergy between the two technologies. Because the amount of power needed on a farm is pretty bounded by these “choke points” you might be able to farm a substantially larger area with the same number of animals by adding a few gallons of fuel to the mix.
btw andy- I wasn’t seriously suggesting that you manufacture the apparatus, just that it would make my day to see a behemoth like that!April 10, 2013 at 9:23 pm #78450
So with that in mind, I’d say we might be onto something bigger here, biodiesel powered forecarts and farm oriented processing systems. I think there is an opportunity here to be efficient, yet independent of the petro chemical companies.
The processing doesn’t seem to expensive, you can buy a ready made processor for a pretty penny or build one for much cheaper, I have some engineering friends, I actually contacted one months ago to see what she thought about the idea, but never really followed through with pitching it to her, thought maybe it was a bit too big of process to make sense, but if that small an area could produce that much bio-diesel, it is very feasible.
Still having a bit of trouble picturing the inputs, basically the footprint of a very small house, could produce enough biodiesel to run a forecart to bale 100 bales. got it .
I guess it’s a go, will have to get a diesel powered forecart, plant some crops, build a processor, produce the biodiesel.
When did driving a team get so complicated?April 10, 2013 at 11:13 pm #78451
Anyone thought about gathering fryer grease ? might be something to think about . Filter ,warm and pour. For the small amount needed to bale one season of hay, might just fit in.
I think its worth doing when you look at all the possessing going on the bio-diesel. I was always short of time and help. Then give up crop land to boot. We as want to be horse farmers have scaled down in the farming world already. Time to do that and land to do it on might be hard to get.
My first tractor was a 8N ford,,nice little guy but very limited. Next was a 30-35hp Int.300 Utility. Had good and bad points as well. PTO was the biggest. and just to under powered to pull baler and wagon. The best all-around was a 50hp Zetor,4×4 with a good loader. Was able to handle round bales and pushed a good bit of snow. Not bad on fuel. That would suit me at this point if I went to power for hay making. And snow. Also I could gather fryer grease and gut the expense way down. My old land lord used straight grease in a old Mercedes car and went every where,,every day. Just smelled like French fries. He converted it all himself, so that contested to the simplicity of it all.April 11, 2013 at 8:18 am #78456Andy CarsonModerator
Both biodiesel and ethanol require processing and cropland for the raw material. I wonder about the utility of steam power for this application. As it is an external combustion engine, it is more flexible in fuel sources and can use poorer quality fuels, like firewood and other combustable raw materials that migth be on hand. In long distance applications, this technology is limited by the weight of the fuel and boiler water one has to haul around. On the farm, one can make a short trip to pick up more fuel and water, and this might be less of a limitation. This might allow this more flexible technology to make use of firewood fuel gathered in woodlots in the winter (rather than take cropland and be processed in an already busy season). I wouldn’t want to get into designing a new steam engine, but I would rob one off of something and adapt it. Perhaps there might be new modern steam designs that are more efficient. Turbines? A small boiler and water tank are within many peoples manufacturing skills. I have a use for a small steam-powered engine (probably semi-stationary on skids). Perhaps if I get a system like this working well, others would be interested in other applications for a small steam engine, perhaps on a PTO cart to be oil independant. Does anyone have any ideas on were I might find a small (maybe 10-20 HP) capacity steam engine that I might aquire/adapt to experiment with? I am all about taking parts off of other things, but I don’t even know what would have something like this…April 11, 2013 at 8:39 am #78458bendubeParticipant
Steven, heres another way to think of it:
If you get 200 bales an acre in 2-3 cuttings and 3000# an acre of oil from rapeseed, then you would need 1 acre of oilseed for each 150 acres of hay baled. (Did I do that math right!?) Plust you get seed meal and stubble pasture. Of course, if you have a motorized forecart, you will probably use it for other tasks too, but a small animal-powered farm could easily get away with an acre or less of oil crops.
Another thought would be sugar beets for ethanol. The beet pulp could substitute for at least some of the grain in a working ration, or a supplement for “100% grass-fed” dairy or beef (I know that beets aren’t a grass, but since beets are fiber-based, most companies allow them in grass-fed protocols.)
All of these options face the problem that a small farmer won’t need very much fuel, and harvesting the crop either requires specialized equipment or a lot of heavy labor. The same with equipment regarding the processing…April 11, 2013 at 8:59 am #78459
Andy,,,after your hay is up you can put the steam boiler to making electricity. Have seen boilers that ran off as little as 11lb. steam pressure. 500 watt,,,,and 1500 watt at about 35-40.April 11, 2013 at 9:22 am #78460Andy CarsonModerator
I would probably be using the engine to power a small threshing machine, but I get your point and I think it is a good one. Where did you see these little steam engines? What were they hooked up to?
I think your math is right about the biodiesel, but I have concerns about
1) The cost of the equipement to raise the canola (Any special planting/cultivation equipment, harvesting/threshing/or combining, as well as oil processing
2) The labor cost of growing canola. It might be more work to grow an acre of canola without spray than 150 acres of hay.
3) The recurring energy and chemical expenses. The processing I have seen is an acid/base catalysed transesterification in a heated vessel. This means you have to buy the chemicals and heat the vessel every time you make a batch. Somehow this doesn’t get icluded in the calculations, but it ought to be.
This is not to say that it is a bad idea, I just think that with the expense and equipment involved, it would be better to make lots of it and trade it, or make none of it and trade for it.April 11, 2013 at 9:59 am #78464
There’s a guy on line somewhere in the south that makes two kinds . One he calls a 500watt the other 1500 watt…hook them to your own steam engine…Shows the smaller one running of the steam from a pressure cooker on the stove..Nice thing about steam,,you end up with several thousand BTUs of hot exhaust water. If anyone is interested past here ,I will try to find the site again..I think its in my favoritesApril 11, 2013 at 10:18 am #78466
Its called Mike Brown Steam engines and Alternative EnergyApril 11, 2013 at 11:15 am #78469
Thanks Ben, Andy,
Definitely worth more research as to how quantities to make it viable, I would like to think that it could be used in the tractor/forwarder, but the gelling issue in the winter would make that less possible unless mixed with conventional diesel.
That said, using the biodiesel in other areas to make it worthwhile doing would be very possible, vehicles in the summer, heating oil, power a sawmill, firewood processor etc..
I guess just the point of being completely independent of outside fossil fuels, while increasing the efficiency of a horse drawn operation is the key to me.
SteveApril 11, 2013 at 11:17 am #78470
Steve ,,you can use fryer grease with out mixing.April 11, 2013 at 12:09 pm #78472
One of the drawbacks to pure Bio-diesel is that it gels in the cold temperatures, to make it work they mix it with conventional diesel, usually 80% conventional to 20%bio around here.
If I had access to fryer grease I could use that instead of growing crop seed, but I don’t, not that I have looked for any, but I figure that it is pretty sought after these days, as there must be some value to it.
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