What Are the Different Types of Baling Equipment?

Dan Cavallari

Baling equipment is used to compact materials such as hay or even metals and plastics into a larger, manageable form called a bale. This bale will be movable and storable, and in order to create a bale, various types of baling equipment can be used. A round baler, for example, is a machine that compacts various materials into a cylindrical bale that can be rolled. A square baler can be used to create square bales that are good for stacking in storage. In the recycling industry, various types of presses can be used to create bales.

A bale of hay produced from a hay baler.
A bale of hay produced from a hay baler.

One piece of baling equipment commonly used in farming settings is the cylindrical baler. This machine is very large and is able to scoop up hay, grass, or other materials to press into a cylinder. Once the cylinder has been formed, the machine will release the bale through a hinged opening on the front of the machine. That bale can then be rolled to a specific location in a field or in a storage unit. This keeps the hay or grass in a compact form that can be stored, transported, or otherwise kept out of the way until it is needed.

A round baler secures materials, such as straw, into a cylinderical bale.
A round baler secures materials, such as straw, into a cylinderical bale.

Sometimes a square baler will be used instead. This piece of baling equipment works very similarly to a cylindrical baler, but the finished product is rectangular rather than cylindrical. A forklift or a machine fitted with a grappling hook can then be used to lift the bales, move them, store them, and stack them. Farmers often use a square baler to create bales that can be stored easily in barns. The stackable nature of the bales makes them a convenient choice, especially in tight hay lofts.

A bale spear is a piece of baling equipment attached to a forklift or other piece of heavy machinery. It is used for piercing into a hay bale for grip so the machine can then easily lift the bale. The bale spear usually needs to be made from heat-treated steel for strength and durability, and the ends of the spear must be sharp enough to pierce into a bale.

Sometimes bales are wrapped in plastic to help contain moisture during storage. Special baling equipment can be used to wrap a bale in plastic, and the bale will usually be smaller than a typical cylindrical bale because the moisture contained within will make it much heavier. Once the bale is ready for use, the plastic can be cut off.

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