The Combine Forum banner

1 - 20 of 32 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,132 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I realize I may be the only one who actually removes twines, most everyone else just chops them up with the bale shredder and let the cows eat them. And when I cleaned corrals for some neighbors, judging by the amount of twine, not much was removed in feeders either.

So if anyone else suffers through this, what are your tips and tricks?

We get lots of Chinooks, but usually not enough to completely melt the snow, just turn it all to ice on the bales. So here is what works for me:

Starting in the summer, I sell most of my hay, and use lots of twine for that reason, but if I know I will be feeding certain bales, I use as little twine as reasonably possible. Any bales I intend to feed I leave in the field as long as possible, November ideally, haul them just before turning cows into the hay field. By late fall it is safe to stack them on end without risk of rain soaking into them, then twines never freeze to the bale or to the ground. Usually two high on end, also makes it really fast to unload the wagon, two at a time, one on each bale fork. If I need to haul earlier in the summer, I stack them mushroom style, then at least half the bales aren't frozen, and no twines are froze to the ground. Then if it works out, I feed the bottom bales and load the top bales next time I sell a load, they always look better so the buyer is happy. I also make bales as big and tight as possible to minimize how many I have to take twines off of.

I typically feed for a few days at a time, load 10 to 20 bales on the wagon, then dump them in the feeders then remove twine. By the time you've removed frozen twines from 20+ bales at once in the cold ( and usually dark), you are ready to sell the cows. It can take 10 times longer to get even most of the twine off a frozen bale vs a bale without snow and ice.

Dad originally welded a sickle section to the back of a hay hook for removing twines. Best thing ever, have made quite a few more over the years. Never need to take off mitts, can hack through snow, ice, hay etc, and cut twines with the back side, then go around to the other side of bale and hook every twine with the hay hook side, twist it around a few times and pull all off at once. No wrapping twines around your hand/glove, no fumbling for a pocket knife with frozen fingers, no digging for frozen twines with a pocket knife, or on the ground for a dropped knife. I have to wear mitts at any below freezing temp or my fingers freeze, so this is a life saver for me. A few have been lost over the years(never by me incidentally), am always afraid of finding one in a tractor tire.

If I have to feed a miserable frozen top bale, ( only use bale forks on the tractors, no grapples lately), It helps to toss it off the end of the forks so it lands hard and rolls endwise a few times. After setting it in the feeder, I also sometimes run a bale fork just under the twines and lift until they break or at least break the ice.

Lately I am feeding silage directly from the pile into feeders with the track hoe. If it is too cold to start a tractor too, I'll feed some hay or straw with the hoe( same thing, just reach across the fence, with a 70 foot swing radius it can reach a lot of bales and a lot of feeders without much movement), use it to squeeze the bale really hard with the thumb to break a lot of ice. I welded a sharp tooth to the end of each thumb prong for holding trees, but they also work good for ripping twines off a bale.

I've yet to find a good way to remove net wrap though, neighbor made me a few and they are a nightmare to get off. I put the bale in feeders first, then remove twines, that is impossible with net wrap, so it adds a couple extra steps at best. Does anyone else have a solution for netwrap? I'd switch to a net wrap baler in a second for the time savings while baling, but not if I have to take it off when I feed.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,796 Posts
Dad originally welded a sickle section to the back of a hay hook for removing twines. Best thing ever, have made quite a few more over the years. Never need to take off mitts, can hack through snow, ice, hay etc, and cut twines with the back side, then go around to the other side of bale and hook every twine with the hay hook side, twist it around a few times and pull all off at once. No wrapping twines around your hand/glove, no fumbling for a pocket knife with frozen fingers, no digging for frozen twines with a pocket knife, or on the ground for a dropped knife. I have to wear mitts at any below freezing temp or my fingers freeze, so this is a life saver for me. A few have been lost over the years(never by me incidentally), am always afraid of finding one in a tractor tire.
My father made one very similar in the mid 70s, resembles a fisherman's gaff. Need for it arose the very first winter we fed round bales from the 850. Still have that original, been forgot stuck on a bale in a feeder a few times but always got found by the next day. I like to keep it hanging on the feeding tractor where I can see it, its quite large, and that helps to make sure it made it back to the tractor when one gets distracted. Its also an awesome tool for tearing a round bale apart if feeding by hand, beats using a fork to rip the bale apart.

Biggest cause for for frozen twine is those stupid rains we get in winter, thats worse than snow melting and freezing IMO.

Always take off all the twines on everything.

Bad ones I cut them just below the ice on one side and then pull them off the bottom out other side and then over the top. Usually do them on the forks of the tractor or shredder. Works nice if you can stand the bale on end. Often if I have a lot of bad ones, ahead of time, I will stand a a lot of them on end with the icy side facing south so it melts it. Even during cold as long as there is sun, it helps a lot.

I won't ever use net wrap simply because of the mess you have when it freezes on.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,195 Posts
Agreed on the netwrap, that is for processors only. What I used to do is have a 3' length of chain attached to the bucks of grapple with a set of j hooks bolted opposite to each other. Cut the twine on the low side and not frozen side of the bale and then wrap them around the hooks. Then pull em off with the loader. Length of chain was dependent of the setup, as much length as possible with out getting in the way. Used that for many years and it you do a set on both sides of the bucket youmcan do 2 bales at once.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,132 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
BoSoT, wise advise, but I knew without looking that you weren't from western Canada. Somehow the economics of building bale sheds for thousands of bale rarely pencils out around here, at least judging by the dearth of bale sheds, yet in other parts of the world they obviously can make it pay.

As for plastic, never thought of covering individual bales with scraps, it could be done, but still has to be removed when it has a foot of frozen snow on it. Plastic rarely comes off a silage pile in reusable sized pieces, thanks again to snow.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,132 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Vet said they are starting to find dead cows full of net wrap from bale processors. The twine just balled up and didn't do much harm, but net wrap is sharp enough it is cutting up the stomachs and killing cows.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
476 Posts
I use netwrap. Always remove it. When we first started with net back in 1990 I couldn't believe how much easier it was to remove compared to twine. I guess others have had different experiences with it. I just stand the bale on end and start at the loose end, walk around the bale 2.25 times while gathering up the net. If there's a big chunk of ice sometimes you have to cut it out.
I use around 2000 bales each year.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
476 Posts
Waaaaayyyyy back when we used twine we made knives out of a foot long chunk of hockey stick with a knife section bolted to it. Cut the twine and wrap it around the stick to pull with both hands, mitts on.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
542 Posts
I think net wrap is way easier to take off we use a couple thousand bales a year also. I just finished feeding the last of our 2015 hay and it comes off no problem. We single stack our bales in rows about a foot apart it takes lots of room but they keep good. If you move a bale and then try to take net wrap off the next day thats a different story. We did the same with twine bales and never really had to many problems getting it off. I use a carpet knife for cutting twine/netwrap stays sharp can carry in my pocket.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
189 Posts
Since we have had round bales 40 years ago, we always used sisal twine until we went to netwrap 2 years ago. Never took twine off any bales, and always put bales through a shredder. Hated nylon twine. Still finding 50yo piles of nylon that was used on square bales that look like the day it was taken off. Sisal was great as long as you never had to move bales once they were in the yard. Economics and speed of baling sent us to wrap. Cheaper to wrap and can do 2 times the bales in a day. Still use a shredder and don't take the wrap off. and the wrap is not as bothersome as twine to equipment. Not sure what manured fields will look like in 10 or 20 years as the wrap just kind of turns to fluff. The guy who invents a wrap that breaks down over time could be set for life. If we do take wrap off, it is very easy to remove vs twine. If wrapped bales at a bit frozen, drop em from the loader. IMHO wrap is the only way to go if you take twine off, easy speedy, and usually none or very little that you don't get.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,058 Posts
Back in the day we used twine and a one of them yellow handled curved blade carpet knives (we called it a banana knife) always worked great for us, and less chance of it going through a tire if you lost it (skinny blade) we use net wrap now, although only for our horses... (40 bales a year) I made a single bale pipe feeder and I drop the bale on end outside the feeder grab the end and walk around a couple times, ball the wrap up and throw in in the tractor, scoop the bale up with the forks underneath and dump it in the top of the feeder... works fine for me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,167 Posts
I started using 4X4X8 square bales a while back. I use an Estwing hatchet with the rubber handle to remove twine. It's fairly easy to get it all off by positioning the bale off of its strings and wrapping the ends of the six cut twines around the hatchet shank and then use the top of the hatchet head as a handle to jerk the stings out of any ice that's formed. If its stuck bad it sometimes pulls a flake off the end and you can beat the ice with either side of the hatchet to loosen the string from the ice.

https://www.google.ca/search?tbm=isch&source=hp&ei=ZEZ7WqfKJIfl0gLNkIHAAw&sjs=16383&q=estwing+hatchet&oq=estwing+hat&gs_l=mobile-gws-img.1.0.0l5.2821.9993..11833.......607.4739.2-3j1j3j4............mobile-gws-wiz-img.....1..41./6wqPNBn6DU=
.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,132 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Admittedly, a net wrap bale on end outside of the feeder is relatively easy to remove. Except that requires handling the bale an extra time, getting out of the tractor an extra time, trying to pick up the bale off the ground which is now surrounded by cows, and if it is a (short) straw bale, results in a pile of straw which can no longer be managed. I want to dump all bales into feeders right way up (not on end), then shut the tractor off and then remove all twines in one step.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
461 Posts
I was worried about removing net wrap once it was frozen on when we switched a few years ago for putting into bale feeders but so far I think its easier than twine to remove......


as far as going through the shredder, a little bit ends up in the hay but most seems to be going onto the drum, we sure cut lots off! I try to do that every 3 or 4 days so it doesn't build up much.


on think I found made getting twine off frozen bales easier was to unstack 10 or 15 every few days, and stand them on end. between being bounced onto the ground an extra time, shaking the snow off and having gravity help the ice off on a sunny day it helped a lot for getting frozen twines loose.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
551 Posts
BoSoT, wise advise, but I knew without looking that you weren't from western Canada. Somehow the economics of building bale sheds for thousands of bale rarely pencils out around here, at least judging by the dearth of bale sheds, yet in other parts of the world they obviously can make it pay.
That is odd. By the sounds of this thread, a hay shed would make even more sense in Canada than it does here - and there are plenty of them here.

Last year I fed out 200 round bales that weren't shedded, and there was easily 10% spoilage in them, vs zero in the shedded stuff.

Other than cost, the big negative to hay sheds is that they sometimes go up in smoke when the hay isn't made quite right. There seems to be at least one go up every year in sth australia.

Each to their own!:)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
20 Posts
I think net wrap is way easier to take off we use a couple thousand bales a year also. I just finished feeding the last of our 2015 hay and it comes off no problem. We single stack our bales in rows about a foot apart it takes lots of room but they keep good. If you move a bale and then try to take net wrap off the next day thats a different story. We did the same with twine bales and never really had to many problems getting it off. I use a carpet knife for cutting twine/netwrap stays sharp can carry in my pocket.
I had to read your post closely to make sure I hadn't posted already. Sounds like my routine exactly. We had been feeding round bales since our first baler back to early 80s. We bought our first mesh wrap baler last year and put 2000 bales through it. Never in a million years would I have ever thought mesh would come off as easily as it has so far. I suppose if you have a situation where ice builds up 2-3" on a bale you will have a problem. I'd say you can at least remove mesh off bales in a time of 2:1 twine at least, maybe 3. I know, I know, we were one of those guys back in the day that use to laugh at all the guys doing mesh and mocked them about how much fun they will have in the winter. I love the mesh, from the baler operator stand point to, when you can wrap a bale in 8 seconds compared to 45seconds on twine. Way I see it, I have all winter to cut bales, but time in summer is precious.

Upper Senior farm management (aka Grandpa) Still not a mesh fan. Haha
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
20 Posts
I was worried about removing net wrap once it was frozen on when we switched a few years ago for putting into bale feeders but so far I think its easier than twine to remove......


as far as going through the shredder, a little bit ends up in the hay but most seems to be going onto the drum, we sure cut lots off! I try to do that every 3 or 4 days so it doesn't build up much.


on think I found made getting twine off frozen bales easier was to unstack 10 or 15 every few days, and stand them on end. between being bounced onto the ground an extra time, shaking the snow off and having gravity help the ice off on a sunny day it helped a lot for getting frozen twines loose.
Good idea in your last paragraph there.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,132 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
That is odd. By the sounds of this thread, a hay shed would make even more sense in Canada than it does here - and there are plenty of them here.

Last year I fed out 200 round bales that weren't shedded, and there was easily 10% spoilage in them, vs zero in the shedded stuff.

Other than cost, the big negative to hay sheds is that they sometimes go up in smoke when the hay isn't made quite right. There seems to be at least one go up every year in sth australia.

Each to their own!:)
There are a few hay sheds remaining from the square bale days, and most of the operations who grow export hay have big hay sheds. But I can't think of a cattle farmer with a modern hay shed. Snow seems to be a bigger enemy than fire here, Big snow during winter of 13-14 took down a lot of hay sheds.

Part of the difference is that we don't typically get much moisture late summer and fall to damage the bales, then after freeze up, bales stop weathering almost entirely. The extremely wet fall of 2016 was certainly an exception, there was a lot of damage to the bales since they were continuously wet all fall.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,132 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
I was worried about removing net wrap once it was frozen on when we switched a few years ago for putting into bale feeders but so far I think its easier than twine to remove......


as far as going through the shredder, a little bit ends up in the hay but most seems to be going onto the drum, we sure cut lots off! I try to do that every 3 or 4 days so it doesn't build up much.


on think I found made getting twine off frozen bales easier was to unstack 10 or 15 every few days, and stand them on end. between being bounced onto the ground an extra time, shaking the snow off and having gravity help the ice off on a sunny day it helped a lot for getting frozen twines loose.
Can you remove it once the bale is in a hay feeder? And is the bale vertical or horizontal?

Your last idea is a very good one, have a bunch of bales doing just that right now.
 
1 - 20 of 32 Posts
Top