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< prev - next > Livestock Animal husbandry fodder conservation using a manual baler (Printable PDF)
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.
Harvesting forage
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
even drying.
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.