Fodder conservation using a manual baler
Arid Land Information Network
The improved baler
The improved baler is made of light durable metal. It has a plunger-driven sliding mechanism that
multiplies the force exerted by the operator to compact the hay by up to nine times. Some 50-80
bales of 10-16 kg each can be made by two people in a day.
• Easy to operate and maintain. Can make bales as compact as those made by a tractor baler.
• Increases the amount of hay that can be stored or transported in comparison with bulky hay.
This reduces the unit cost of the hay.
• Increases the use of forages from areas where grazing is not allowed.
• The baler has wheels and can easily be drawn by drought animals or one person.
• The capacity of the baler makes it suitable for use by farming groups. Such groups can
also use it for income generation.
• Too expensive for individual small-scale farmers.
• Can only be constructed by trained artisans.
• Capacity is much lower than that of a tractor baler.
• The bale cannot be bound as tightly as it would be by a tractor baler.
It is important to note the quality of forage before deciding to harvest it. Time in this respect is
important since it determines the maturity of the forage. A simple procedure can be followed in
preparation for baling.
• Harvest forage well during the flowering stage (two months after the onset of the rains).
This should be done during the dry spell in the rainy season.
• Spread the forage in the sun and dry it for two to three days, regularly turning it to ensure
• Pile the forage ready for bailing. Bale the forage immediately, as even a little rain will lead
to leaching of nutrients.
Operating the equipment
• Place sisal twine in the string compartments and thread through the guiding eyes.
• Collapse the wheels and anchor the baler using the support legs.
• One operator feeds the storage into the receiving chamber as a second compresses the grass
using the plunger.
• The plunger pushes forage to the end of the receiving chamber. The bale is held back by a
locking fork. The process is repeated until the operator cannot compress the bale any longer.
• Use the twine fisher to pull up the strings and tie the bale.
• Remove the locking fork. Once the pin is removed, the first bale pushes out the next and the
process repeats for subsequent bales.
• Remove the last bale by opening the top lid and pulling from the rear.