What is a baler?
A baler is essentially a type of farming machine used to compress a crop like hay or straw into bales and bind them; they are also used in locations like recycling facilities to gather and compress paper, plastic and other scraps of cut or shredded materials.
What types of balers are available?
There are a number of balers that are commonly used in the process. These are round balers, rectangular balers, square balers and industrial balers.
Round balers are the most commonly used balers and can weigh several tons. They are best suited for modern, large-scale farming operations. It is called a round baler because the compressed materials are produced in the form of a cylinder that looks ’round’ or ‘rolled’ and is held together by twine or mesh wrap. Most bales produced by round balers weigh from 1100 to 2200 lbs.
Rectangular balers are used most for larger scale feedlot production and usually weigh more than cylindrical bales. Additionally, rectangular balers are often best for conserving space because of their shape and are usually required to be raised by a forklift. Like the round bales, they are secured with twine or mesh, but it is usually knotted, making it a bit less efficient to simply roll out.
Square balers are smaller than their cousins and produce smaller rectangular or square bales. While they are much less common today because most major farming requires a large-scale operations friendly machine, they are still used almost exclusively in Australia and New Zealand. Weights of square bales usually range from 45 to 60 lbs. These balers are often older, but still preferred for small-scale use, as in smaller animal pens where a small square bale may be preferable to a large round one.
Industrial balers are most commonly used in the recycling industry to compress recyclable materials like plastic and paper into manageable bales ready to transport. Industrial balers are typically made of steel and are hydraulically operated. Industrial balers can vary in size but usually the larger ones are those used the most.
The innovation in technology has offered convenient and easy-to-operate types of balers with automatic wire tying mechanisms. Such balers are often called nexgen balers. A nexgen baler requires little human input and energy to operate.