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Illinois Hay: Bale Accumulator Helps Make Up for Lack of Summer Labor – DTN

“Accumulators are important because there are just absolutely no kids available to help.” That’s a little-known fact about hay shared with DTN late Sunday evening by View From the Cab farmer Chase Brown of Decatur, Illinois.

The accumulator Chase referred to is a bale accumulator, used to collect and drop onto the ground small square bales in uniform rectangles of 10 that can be easily picked up with a tractor or a skid-steer loader. From there they’re moved from the field on a hay rack to waiting buyers or to temporary storage.

Many hands make light work. Going back to Chase’s youth and before, haying was done with manual labor by a crew made up mostly of high schoolers on summer vacation. But not anymore. “We think we want to put some hay in the barn, but when there’s just three of us, we usually decide 200 is enough,” he said.

Monday saw perfect weather for harvesting second-cutting alfalfa. “It was really nice hay. Not a weed in the field,” Chase said. “It got a little more bleached than we wanted, but we had a bale accumulator giving us trouble.” That accumulator problem was made even more important when storm clouds appeared. “We didn’t want to, but when we saw rain coming, we went ahead and big baled it. But when the rain got within a couple of miles, it just fizzled and we never got a drop,” he said.

That’s why later in the week, the worn hydraulic accumulator was replaced with a new Kuhns 10 bale accumulator that relies on gravity rather than hydraulics to collect bales, flip them on edge and align them. “We are going to bale a lot of straw this week, so we decided to make the change.”

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Bale out: Ohioan invents a better way

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — That old saying about necessity being the mother of all invention? It’s true, you know. Just ask Kenny Kuhns.

The Trumbull County, Ohio, farmer was frustrated with the labor-intensive process of making small square bales of hay. He had a good market for the smaller bales, selling to local horse owners, but the whole baling and stacking and unloading and restacking thing? There had to be a better way…

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Slick For Small Bales

Grower builds accumulator to better meet market needs

Nov 1, 2007 Fae Holin for Hay and Forage

Kenny Kuhns wanted a high-capacity accumulator that would work for the 45-lb small square bales he was producing for the horse market.

So he built one and added six more models.

Kuhns, North Bloomfield, OH, bales up to 40,000 small squares a year and wanted to get the job done faster and better. Some of his seven accumulator models turn bales on edge for better curing in storage. “These are made primarily for commercial hay growers who bale for the horse market,” he says.

“The reason I built it was that there was nothing on the market that did exactly what I wanted it to do. There were others that were similar, but many on the market were for 65-lb bales,” he says.

His need to handle 45-lb bales quickly is a reflection of how the market for small square bales has changed, Kuhns says. (more…)