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Roto baler question?

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oldtanker
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2018 8:00 am    Post subject: Roto baler question? Reply to specific post Reply with quote

You AC guys seem to love the roto baler. I was wondering why. Now before you jump, another tractor forum I'm on had a long discussion about them. So a half dozen of us did some digging on line. What we collectively found was that it was cantankerous (everything had to be adjust nearly perfect for it to work). Dangerous if the farmer tried to cut corners mostly resulting in losing a limb or death. The bales were not only difficult to handle they were difficult to stack. Drop bale only???? About the only redeeming quality seems to be the ability for the bale to shed water. Now this was in a day when most guys were square baling directly onto wagons and the hay went inside that day so shedding water would only matter to someone who had to drop bale.

So given this is what we found, and most of the bad stuff was on sites dedicated to AC ag equipment, other than collectability what's the draw? They were not particularly popular either it seems with total production from all production runs at just under 75,000 units.
Rick
 
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2018 10:08 am    Post subject: Re: Roto baler question? Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I'll be the first to admit it takes a person with a pretty high IQ to learn to operate one correctly,but once mastered and adjusted correctly they will give many hours of service and
bale many bales at a very low cost.I'd rather handle the small rounds than squares just need to know how to use hay hooks to work with them.When unloading them the person on the wagon can get the technique down so the bales will roll back to the person stacking the hay.Roll them the wrong way and they will unroll,easy to tell as the ends look different.AC built a loader that would mount on different AC tractors that would pick the bales up and drop them back on a wagon or trailer.Compared to other balers being built the same time the Roto Baler was much more trouble free and I can say that from experience as we had a JD 14T we used to bale with too.If you had a big shed or barn and a hay elevator you could just let the round bales go up the
elevator and fall in the barn they would pack up pretty tight by themselves and not break apart like squares would.
 
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JMS/.MN
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2018 11:40 am    Post subject: Re: Roto baler question? Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I don"t know where you get those complaints from, but the Roto Baler was a dependable machine, easy to adjust, and it didn"t take a genius. Daresay most operators didn"t have a HS education, and many only modest mechanical ability. Key to making a good bale was making the proper windrow...two curls, side by side. If you didn"t do that, no adjustment is going to make the baler work. Many baled on the ground back then because of not having help. Weren"t many hay sheds back then for storage, either.

Injuries? Ones I heard of involved two things...not shutting off the pto, and tossing a handful of hay toward the twine, to make it catch the rolls and start wrapping the bale. Not shutting off the pto is asking for disaster with any machine. Dad"s had a rope to pull to momentarily start the conveyor to pull additional hay in to the rolls. He bought the machine new in 1948, used it until 1964, including a lot of custom work in the early years, since many farmers did not have balers. Had only two broken parts all of those years...same piece, a casting (latch), which was welded back together.

Yes, stacking was different, on wagons or on the ground. A good, tight bale will roll. Stacking on the ground in a cone shape, you nudge one bale at each end of the bottom bales at right angles, until the cone is finished. They will stay put.

Dad built two bale loaders, one on a WC, the other a pull-type, for wagon loading. Single chain conveyors, pull-type was ground driven thru car differential and transmission. Mostly scrap parts.
 
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oldtanker
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2018 2:56 pm    Post subject: Re: Roto baler question? Reply to specific post Reply with quote

CVPost-JMS/.MN wrote:
(quoted from post at 12:40:16 11/16/1Cool I don"t know where you get those complaints from, but the Roto Baler was a dependable machine, easy to adjust, and it didn"t take a genius. Daresay most operators didn"t have a HS education, and many only modest mechanical ability. Key to making a good bale was making the proper windrow...two curls, side by side. If you didn"t do that, no adjustment is going to make the baler work. Many baled on the ground back then because of not having help. Weren"t many hay sheds back then for storage, either.

Injuries? Ones I heard of involved two things...not shutting off the pto, and tossing a handful of hay toward the twine, to make it catch the rolls and start wrapping the bale. Not shutting off the pto is asking for disaster with any machine. Dad"s had a rope to pull to momentarily start the conveyor to pull additional hay in to the rolls. He bought the machine new in 1948, used it until 1964, including a lot of custom work in the early years, since many farmers did not have balers. Had only two broken parts all of those years...same piece, a casting (latch), which was welded back together.

Yes, stacking was different, on wagons or on the ground. A good, tight bale will roll. Stacking on the ground in a cone shape, you nudge one bale at each end of the bottom bales at right angles, until the cone is finished. They will stay put.

Dad built two bale loaders, one on a WC, the other a pull-type, for wagon loading. Single chain conveyors, pull-type was ground driven thru car differential and transmission. Mostly scrap parts.



Google roto baler. That's what we were having the discussion based on. I though I'd ask here.

As far as storage? Over here in west MN guys were stacking hay in the haymow that was already part of the barn.

As far as popularity? Between 1940 and 1950 there were about 30 million farms. I know that NH was selling 70-80 thousand balers a year in the late 40's. AC managed to sell about 75,000 total between 3 production runs. Now just guessing I'd say that it wasn't because AC only hired bad sales people. From what I read on a page dedicated to AC products AC dropped all of their hay equipment when they finished they last production run of the roto baler. The same page is the one that stated getting a roto baler adjusted and keeping it there required constant monitoring and adjustments. And the only positive thing I've seen is the bales shed water good. So I was wondering what if any other good points they had.

Sounds like your dad was a typical farmer of his day. You bought something and you made it work! Even if it wasn't a good design you made it work. You didn't run and trade it, that was a waste of money. Very indicative of anyone who survived the Great Depression!

Rick
 
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2018 4:23 am    Post subject: Re: Roto baler question? Reply to specific post Reply with quote

You have set out some things here and said we must accept them as your research on one web site says so, OK, believe what you wish but does does that make it fact? No. Does it make sense that they sold 75,000 balers that could not be operated by anyone short of an engineer? No. Does it make sense that same baler killed and maimed farmers in large numbers yet continued to be sold over a fairly long life span? No. There was lots of danergous machinery in the day 1 of ever 10 farmers in my youth had fingers or an arm missing from corn picker a accidents. 70-80,000 balers per year by NH? I would have challanged that fact on no more knowledge than common sense but I looked it up anyway, try 42,000 balers in TEN years back in the 40s according to NH. 75,000 units of anything isnt chump change farm equipment production. They sold a lot of round balers, why? They met a need at a price farmers woukd pay. Most everyone around here who had one also had a sqaure baler. They bales last cutting or junk hay with the round baler and left the bales on the ground and pastured the field over the winter. As to why they are desirable in this day and age the answer is they are not, simple as that. The bulk of them sell for scrap price, however an occasional late model in nice shape will bring a bit of money to sit in some collectors barn. Almost none of them are used except for hobby. I have not seen one used except at a show for probably 30- 40 years. I bleed orange but wouldn't have one, either to use or taking up space in the toy shed.
 
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2018 4:49 am    Post subject: Re: Roto baler question? Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I get the Roto Baler out every couple years and bale some hay,no baler puts up as good a quality hay as a Roto Baler.
 
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2018 5:02 am    Post subject: Re: Roto baler question? Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Allis Chalmers also built the Rotobaler here in the UK and sold a lot to the dairy farmers who liked the quality of the hay for feeding to the milk cows. MJ.
 
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2018 5:05 am    Post subject: Re: Roto baler question? Reply to specific post Reply with quote

On thing about buying the round bales baled with a Roto Baler you can be sure they were not baled wet.
 
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2018 5:07 am    Post subject: Re: Roto baler question? Reply to specific post Reply with quote

As a side note Yanmar is now selling a baler that makes a bale almost identical to the Roto Baler.
 
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2018 5:57 am    Post subject: Re: Roto baler question? Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Tanker a slightly different thought. I view it like the Moline cab tractors, THE WORLD WAS NOT READY FOR IT AT THE TIME. lOOK AT CAB TRACTORS TODAY AND ROUND BALERS. They are a main stay. Same thing with diesel trucks tractors in the 30's 40's look at it today.
 
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2018 7:09 am    Post subject: Re: Roto baler question? Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I have run both and find a small round
baler far easier to run than a darn square
baler. Once adjusted a round baler
requires almost no other adjustment. As
long as the twine knife is sharp they will
bale hay. None of those darn knotters to
constantly fool with. They were the only
one man baler made in the 50/60's. I have
owned both balers, I still have the round
baler, the 214t JD was traded off.
 
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2018 8:26 am    Post subject: Re: Roto baler question? Reply to specific post Reply with quote

CVPost-jocco wrote:
(quoted from post at 06:57:12 11/17/1Cool Tanker a slightly different thought. I view it like the Moline cab tractors, THE WORLD WAS NOT READY FOR IT AT THE TIME. lOOK AT CAB TRACTORS TODAY AND ROUND BALERS. They are a main stay. Same thing with diesel trucks tractors in the 30's 40's look at it today.


Look, All I'm trying to do is figure out why the Roto Balers wasn't a success? Why didn't other companies copy it? NH, JD, IH, Case, Oliver Ect, Ect all went the square baler path. The roto baler averaged about 4700 units each year of production. With the number of farms switching from loose hay to bales, especially after both the Depression and WWII, with there being millions of farms???? NH sold 7600 balers in 46 alone from figures I found.

As far the slow uptake on the Diesel? Nobrainer there. Several things. Wasn't any long haul trucking back then. Everything that was long haul went by rail and gas was cheap. Bout a nickle a gallon. The great depression which saw a huge drop in the amount of goods being moved ending in the needs for WWII. Heck because of the Great Depression steam locomotives were still on the tracks when WWII broke out. The first Diesel Electrics came out in the 20's. But because of decreased rail traffic due to the depression plus the demands of the war years steam remained a primary mover until the last for profit rail retired it's last steamer in 1959. So a lot of factors involved. Heck, JD, Case, IH, Oliver and others were still building small crawlers skip loaders and backhoes into the early 60's that were gas. Most farm tractors didn't go over to all diesel until the very late 60's/early 70's. Pickups, light and medium trucks were mostly gas until the mid 70's after the fuel embargo.

As far as the cabbed tractor? The Great Depression wasn't declared over until 1942. That wasn't too advanced for the times. That was bad timing and too expensive. The Great Depression was still going on. WWII didn't start in Europe until 1939. So foreign orders for war material hadn't started. No one had much money and those who did were scared. The sales figures for all tractors in those years show it. The Farm economy had recovered enough that Ford sold 10,000 9Ns at 585 dollars in 2 years. Considering that millions were still farming with horses that's pretty small. IH sold 501 H's the first year, 1939 at 875 bucks. MM sold the UDLX for 2,155? In 1938? Total of 125 units in 3 years? That was timing and price, not too advanced. Had they waited till 1946 it may have been successful. So that IMO goes in the books as a bad CEO/corporate decision. MM isn't the only company to shoot themselves in the foot with bad timing.

Rick
 
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2018 9:18 am    Post subject: Re: Roto baler question? Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Well if you just want to count production numbers then the Ford N series tractors were the best ever built because they sold the most which is hardly the case.Chevy way out sold
Cadillac but anyone will tell you Cadillac was the the better built car.High production numbers usually means it was cheap to buy.I have a H&K Model 300 .22 Mag rifle very few were sold in the US but its one of the very best .22 mag semi loaders ever made.Top quality costs more which means not as many sold most of the time.
 
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2018 3:00 pm    Post subject: Re: Roto baler question? Reply to specific post Reply with quote

CVPost-Traditional Farmer wrote:
(quoted from post at 10:18:34 11/17/1Cool Well if you just want to count production numbers then the Ford N series tractors were the best ever built because they sold the most which is hardly the case.Chevy way out sold
Cadillac but anyone will tell you Cadillac was the the better built car.High production numbers usually means it was cheap to buy.I have a H&K Model 300 .22 Mag rifle very few were sold in the US but its one of the very best .22 mag semi loaders ever made.Top quality costs more which means not as many sold most of the time.


Yea TF I know but usually when something is really a great design other companies will either wait till the patents expire, or redesign something with just enough changes as to not infringe on said patents or just pay for the rights. Everyone else went with square balers. What was wrong with the small round bale concept?

As far as what's better? I didn't say anything about being better. I said that the UDLX design didn't sell because of the timing of the release and because of the cost. When the MM was 2100 compared to the price of either the H or 9N? Look back a few years. When recovering from the Carter Reagan recession people were diffidently nervous about money matters. The same was true during the great depression. Heck in 1939 that 2100 would have bought an H, mounted cultivator, several other implements and left the farmer with a bit of change. That is why the UDLX failed to sell. Timing and price were all wrong when it was introduced. The great depression wouldn't end for another 3 1/2 years.

Rick
 
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2018 3:28 pm    Post subject: Re: Roto baler question? Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Tanker, I didn't read all of your posts, but why do you think they weren't a success? You say NH had so many in one year which was less than twice rotobaler average. All can't be number one and look what happened years later.Large round bales. look how long it took for no-til or rotary combines to catch on. I don't see 75000 units being a failure. Asfar as using one goes, yes they are different. We had to rake a double wind row to get a good bale and we didn't have any trouble loading them. The straw was great to bed with. you just unrolled them. I'm not saying the were better than square ,but they worked and believe me were much better than loose hay.
 
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