What tractor specifications does the Bale Band-it require?
- 12 volt
- Closed center
- Variable displacement piston pumps only
- No fixed displacement gear pumps
- Minimum 2500 psi (165 bar), 2700 – 2900 psi recommended
- Hydraulic oil flow
- Recommended 25+ gpm
- Minimum 20 gpm
Note: The Bale Band-It must be connected to a tractor (or pump system) that has a closed center system. This type of pump is also known as a piston pump or a variable displacement pump. The equipment will not work properly with a open center, gear pump system. If ran on a gear pump, overheating and damage could occur to the pump and cause issues with equipment operation. Even if a tractor pump is rated at a high flow, if it is an open center system (or fixed displacement) it cannot be used. GFC does not recommend using a fixed displacement pump, even though some of them are setup as ‘load sensing’ and are technically ‘closed center’. Fixed displacement pumps (gear pumps) are available on some model of tractors with high flows, but please do not use them with the Bale Band-It. GFC recommends a closed center system that uses a variable displacement pump. When selecting a tractor to operate with the Bale Band-It it is also important to look at the gallons per minute at the remote, not just pump capacity. Feel free to contact GFC with any questions concerning tractor hydraulic requirements.
The hydraulic oil flow to the Bale Band-It directly effects how fast it operates. If you have 20 gpm then the Band-It will operate just as fast as a 25 gpm except at the tie cycle. If you are baling at the maximum capacity of your baler then you may have to slow down at this time. Whereas if you had 25 gpm then you could continue to bale at maximum capacity throughout the entire process.
There are no horsepower requirements. The Model 200 Bale Band-It weighs 8,500 lbs empty and can have up to 35 bales of hay within it at one time. The Bale Band-It pulls like a wagon (supports its own weight), so you do have the wagon weight that must be pulled. You need a large enough tractor for the terrain that you have.
What are the dimensions of the bundle?
Bundle is 8′ long x 4.5′ tall x 3.5′ wide (bale length determines width of bundle).
What sizes of small square bales will the Bale Band-It work with?
The Bale Band-It will work with a 14”x18” bale to make a 21 bale bundle, or a 16”x18” bale to make an 18 bale bundle.
- Length of small square bale: 35” – 42”
An occasional bale length up to 44″ will go thru the machine with no problems, but it is not recommended to have a bundle full of 44″ bales.
Bale density: The small square bales need to be good dense bales. The denser the bale the better the bundle.
Bale weight does not effect performance of Band-It provided that the bales have adequate density. Light dense straw bales make excellent bundles.
I have a twine baler. Will the Bale Band-It work on twine bales?
Yes, the Bale Band-It will work on both wire & twine small square bales. Most Bale Band-Its are used on twine bales.
It is recommended to use a minimum of 170 lb (756.2 N) knot strength twine. Some hay conditions may require greater knot strength.
What happens when a busted bale comes out of the baler?
Busted bales coming directly out of the baler will not feed up the vertical elevator. The monitor will beep informing you that bale has not reached photo eye 2 and you will have to stop, shut off hydraulics, and manually remove the busted bale. The bale is very easy to get to at this position. Continue baling and the machine will continue to accept bales. Busted bales at this position cause no further problems. The machine does not count the bale until later in the process, so you will still have a full 21 bale bundle.
How fast does the Bale Band-it operate?
In a controlled environment and with a tractor hydraulic supply of 25 gpm, the model 200 Bale Band-It can handle a bale consistently every 5.5 seconds thru the tie cycle. This is a rate of 654.5 bales per hour, but would be very hard to attain in the field due to turning at the end rows and baler not consistently making a bale every 5.5 seconds.
A common question is asked “Will the Bale Band-It slow down my baling?”. This depends on a couple of factors. The first factor is whether or not the tractor being used has enough hydraulic capacity. If it has at least 25 gpm, then it needs to be hooked up to the Bale Band-It properly to prevent flow restrictions. The second factor is whether or not the operator is currently baling within the recommended strokes per bale, which depends on bale length. For example, most (if not all) baler manuals specify that each stroke should not exceed a 3″ slice in the bale. So if you wanted to make a 39″ bale, the baler manufacturers recommend a minimum of 13 strokes per bale. If the operator puts at least 13 strokes in each bale (for a 39″ bale), they will have consistent bale lengths and very uniform bales. On a high capacity inline baler that has 100 strokes per min, this would produce approximately 461 bales per hour if baling was non-stop. On other baler the strokes per minute are less, around 92 strokes per minute which is approximately 424 bales per hour if baling was non-stop. So to answer the question “Will the Bale Band-It slow down my baling?”. No, the Bale Band-It will not slow down the operation, if at least 25 gpm (2500 psi min) is supplied to the machine and the operator is baling at the recommended strokes per bale.
If an operator has a tendency to bale faster (less strokes per bale) then it is possible to overrun the machine during the tie cycle (bale 21). If this was to happen, the bales would begin to pile up at the front of the unit due to the fact that the machine will not take them vertically into the elevator until it is ready for them. For those who are interested in knowing how to know the number of strokes per bale that are being made, there are a couple of ways to do this. One is by visually counting the plunges for each bale being tied by the baler. The other way is to purchase a stroke counter for the baler. Stroke counters have a monitor that goes in the tractor cab and indicates how many strokes the last bale had. You would then adjust the ground speed (not the tractor rpm!) to fit the appropriate strokes per bale. This will, in many cases, fix issues with inconsistent bale length and uniformity.
Can the Bale Band-It pick bales up off the ground?
Pickup unit option is available for any Model 200 Bale Band-It.
What are the specifications of the metal bands that the Bale Band-it uses?
Banding is a standard size of 1/2″ x .02″ thick, very durable. The Bale Band-It requires ‘premium’ grade (not economy grade), regular duty (not high tensile) strapping.
Where can I get the strapping and how much does it cost?
The cost of the metal banding will be approximately $.06 per bale (or $1.26 per bundle of 21 bales). Banding can be purchased from a local banding dealer. Strapping is typically sold by the skid. One skid (or pallet) contains 12 rolls of banding. The Bale Band-It requires two rolls at a time, one for each side. Two rolls will band together 122 bundles (2562 small bales). One skid will band together approximately 15,372 small bales. Not all strapping on the market is adequate for automated equipment such as the Bale Band-It. GFC recommends that our customers purchase strapping from DuBose Strapping in North Carolina. This company has high quality strapping at some of the best prices you will find. The price that they quote is a delivered price to your location. If you mention that you are a Bale Band-It owner they will ship their premium quality, ‘machine’ grade, strapping. Even if you are several states away, let them quote a skid shipped to you. Their contact info can be found at their website: www.dubosestrapping.com or give them a call at 1-800-354-3020.
How do I rethread the strapping?
After approximately 122 bundles (or 2562 small bales) two new rolls of strapping will need to be re-threaded in the Bale Band-It. The Bale Band-It monitor will give you the status of how much strapping you have left on the rolls and will alert you when you have baled 122 bundles. Each roll weighs 90 – 100 lbs. The strapping can be rethreaded in just a few minutes.
Do the metal bands get loose?
Hay goes through its heat cycle and final drying while in the small square bale. The final bale is not as full and therefore not as tightly compressed as when it was first baled. Although this change takes place, it is rather minimal.
The hay also does this when it is in the 21 bale bundles. There are a couple items in its design, however, that make up for this. The Bale Band-It manually compresses the steel strapping down into the top and bottom of the bundle of hay 3”. This ties the strapping 12″ short of the outside dimensions of the bundle. The bundles are also tightly compressed when the steel strapping is applied
The Bale Band-It makes bundles that are easy to move after many handling and after being stored for several years.
Have you tried poly strap instead of steel banding?
GFC has experimented with poly strapping from the beginning. Our experience shows that the poly strap’s tensile strength is not adequate. After every additional use the strap continues to stretch and the bundle keeps getting looser. The steel strapping’s tensile strength is adequate and allows for good tight bundles after many handlings of the bundles.
Do small pieces of metal banding get left in the hay?
No. The banding operation utilizes a seal-less-seal design that stamps the strapping and causes the top and bottom strap to interlock together. There are no left over pieces. There are also no additional pieces, as the seal-less-seal design utilizes only the strapping. No clips needed.
How are bales loaded/unloaded?
Simple front load tractor forks can be used. Since the Bale Band-It compresses 3″ deep grooves into the top and bottom of the bundles, the strapping is not on the outside of the bundles but recessed into the hay. This prevents breaking the bands while picking up the bundles. The grooves are 25″ center to center. Pallet forks 6′ x 25″ apart can easily pick up the bundles from the end and provide easy loading across an 8′ trailer bed. Big bales tines (spikes) can also be used to handle the bundles. The tines can be slid between the bottom two rows of bales. Also some big bales squeezes can be used to handle the bundles.
How many bundles high can you stack?
A very common height to stack the bundles is 4 high, giving you 18’ of hay. Few go any higher than this mainly due to barn / height restrictions & loader reach height.
How does the Bale Band-It fare in hilly or steep areas?
The Bale Band-It operates perfectly in hilly / steep areas because the bales are mechanically moved throughout the process. The main consideration on this type of terrain is that the machine weighs approx. 8,500 lb empty. Very similar to a wagon load of hay in the hills, the Bale Band-It can push your small square baler if when going down a steep incline you make a significant turn.
What types of hay can the Bale Band-It package?
The Bale Band-It can handle all types of hay. The various varieties of legumes, grasses, and straws all work well in the Bale Band-It.
Can I manually remove completed bundles from the Bale Band-it?
Yes you can. It is helpful to manually eject bundles from the Bale Band-It when switching fields or finishing up at the end of the year.
Less than 21 bales:
If you have less than 21 bales in the machine then you have an incomplete bundle. These individual bales can easily be removed by hand.
Completed bundle + extra:
The Bale Band-It has a manual button that moves the main plunger rearward and a manual switch that allows the back floor to lower to the ground. All that is required is 4 additional loose bales and you can quickly have a tied bundle ejected out of the Bale Band-It.
Does the Bale Band-it affect tounge weight?
The dual caster wheel in front of Bale Band-It eliminates heavy tongue weight.
Will the Bale Band-it work behind my particular baler?
The Bale Band-It will work behind any (14” x 18”) or (16” x 18”) small square baler provided the following:
- It has a wagon hitch that provides a mounting location in the center of the bale chamber.
- The center of the pin hole in the baler hitch needs to be adjusted 8-10 inches from the main chamber of the baler.
General compare & contrast:
In-line balers have a narrower overall width. This is beneficial if you haul the baler on trailers often.
Offset balers’ right hand tire is right in line with the Bale Band-Its right hand tire (since the Bale Band-It is also offset). This is beneficial if you pull the baler / Band-It combination down the road behind your tractor often. The in-line baler places the Band-Its right hand tire approximately 3′ past the right hand tire of the baler.
Will the Bale Band-It package three tie bales?
The Bale Band-It does not work on a three tie bale. The reason for this is that the Bale Band-It allows you to handle the smallest bale of hay in a big bale package. The smaller 14”x18” bales are smaller, lighter, and preferred by the end user.
What are the additional costs associated with the Bale Band-It?
The steel banding will cost approx. $1.26 US per bundle of 21 bales ($.06 per bale).
All small square balers have an option for a wagon hitch to be installed on the baler. The Bale Band-It hooks to this wagon hitch.
There is also the one time purchase of 1” ID hydraulic hoses that go from your tractor remote, over the baler, and to the front of the Bale Band-It. There are some fittings that will also have to be purchased to “plumb” the Band-It. Prices will vary depending upon your setup.
How do I get replacement parts for my Bale Band-It?
GFC is the Bale Band-It parts inventory. Our main shipping carrier is UPS. If you place an average sized order before 3:00 p.m. we can have the package shipped out the same day.
How do I maintain my Bale Band-It?
The Bale Band-It has grease locations for both 8 hour & 40 hour maintenance. The most movement is in stacking the three bales on edge. The Bale Band-It is designed so that this movement is on two nickel plated rails. The wear pieces that ride on the nickel plated rails are a wear resistive poly product that are fully adjustable. Inexpensive and easy to change out. Additional bushings in this area also will need to be replaced at about 40,000 bales. The rest of the machine has low cycles and made such that greasing will be sufficient.
Can I lease or finance a Bale Band-It?
GFC does not lease or finance the Bale Band-It directly. There are, however, several leasing companies that are familiar with the Bale Band-It. These companies are in no way tied to GFC. We provide their contact information for the purpose of providing you with more options. Other leasing / financing options are also accepted. All questions concerning rates, plans, ownership at the end of the lease, and etc. should be directed to the leasing company used.
Please contact GFC for referral to leasing companies.
What are the minimum trailer requirements for hauling the Bale Band-It?
- Minimum Trailer Width: 8’
- Minimum Trailer Length: 20’
Bale Band-It Height: 9’ 3”
The trailer wheels must be below the deck, with no side rails.
- Model 200 Bale Band-It weighs approx. 8,500 lb.
- Model 200 Bale Band-It with Pickup Unit option weighs approx 9,000 lb.
How long has the Bale Band-It been in production?
- Model 100 Bale Band-It became available in 1999.
- Model 200 Bale Band-It became available in 2010.
What is the life expectancy of the Bale Band-It?
We foresee the life expectancy of the Bale Band-It to be long. Our experience of updating and checking over well used machines has shown us that the used machines have a lot of life left in them. There are yearly wear / replacement items. However, the Bale Band-It is designed so that the replacement items are relatively inexpensive to replace.
How readily available are Bale Band-Its for purchase?
GFC has new Bale Band-Its in-stock. GFC MFG builds to inventory, to make sure you have product when you need it.
Who manufactures the Bale Band-It?
All model 200 Bale Band-Its have been manufactured at GFC’s manufacturing facilities. The Bale Band-It is a product of GFC. All the sales, service, and troubleshooting are provided through GFC and its sales representatives.