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Round bales at 200 miles per hour

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Iowa farmer Jeff Ryan tackles a major baling project.

The other challenge comes when all the processes overlap or expand. There would be times where the mower was cutting hay, someone was raking and another guy was baling. Meanwhile, we'd get loaders loading bales and hauling them back to the yard one to four miles away. The Wrapper, Dr. Hay, would be busy at his machine as someone in the skid loader would be feeding him bales at the same time as more loads were being delivered to the yard. That's when operator ability comes into play. You'd need to get the bales unloaded as fast as possible without ever having the wrapper waiting to be fed. It got to the point where I'd have a trailer pull in and I'd kind of speed-unload him and take about every third or fourth bale from the 11 or 12-bale load to the wrapper to keep him busy. That kept the flow of trailers reasonable enough so that no one was waiting around.

Spare time is the worst. Thanks, Mom.  

By the time we were done making all of our balage (and we blew past 1,000 bales well before we finished), we'd gotten pretty good at the whole process. Not to the point where we wanted to do it on a custom basis, but enough that we didn't mind moving bales. In fact, one of my cousins got in touch before we finished and wondered if we could bale some cornstalks for him at another farm. His dad had some health issues this fall, so I knew they were going to be pressed for time to get it all done themselves. The weather and the schedule worked out in such a way that the only time I had available to rake and bale his stalks was on Thanksgiving Day. I got done raking in time to be about a half hour or more late for dinner. Then I went back and baled in the afternoon and evening. The next day, we gathered part of our bale entourage and proceeded to move 125 bales about three and a half miles in almost exactly two hours. That's 437.5 bale-miles in two hours. It sounds better when you think of it as round bales at 200 miles per hour.

Might want to run that math concept past someone in a blue car with lights and a badge. I bet he has a threshold I shouldn't cross without a significant fee.

The best news to report from this entire adventure is that there were no incidents involving bales being where they shouldn't be. We moved around 1600 bales and never lost one on the road. The bad news is that I was so busy most of the time that I never had a chance to take many pictures. Perhaps more fun will develop if and when I market this balage.    

Of course, we could probably also go back in time and reflect on the wisdom of then-customer and now-employee, Woodrow: At the time, he said he had “checked around and nobody moves bales like Jeff Ryan.” http://farmindustrynews.com/if-columbus-had-bales

There is that. After all, a guy needs a hobby. I'm just looking to expand my resume. 

Guy No. 2

Read more from Jeff Ryan, aka Guy No. 2.

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The Farm Industry News Blog features commentary from Willie Vogt, Jodie Wehrspann, Kathy Huting, Lynn Grooms, Daryl Bridenbaugh and Jeff Ryan.

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