Better Bale Appearance By Correcting Equipment Settings

This month, the Vermeer service department wants to give you the tools to solve a performance concern hay producers often have: bale appearance. Consider the following food-for-thought as you’re out in the field this season.

Rolling a Garden Hose?

Sometimes, all things in life can be explained with a metaphor. Making good looking bales can be compared to rolling a gardening hose onto its reel. It is important to know that if you do not keep the windrow of hay (the hose) dispersed evenly across the bale chamber (the reel), you will not get a good looking product when the bale (the reel) is dropped. Also, if the windrow isn’t dispersed evenly across the chamber, you often won’t get as full of a bale as you would like. Just like a hose reel that locks up if you don’t weave the hose correctly, the baler will plug or create an uneven bale. If the windrow isn’t evenly distributed, you will create a bale that is too light in some places and too heavy in others.

It’s All About the Windrow…

Good bale appearance starts with the windrow. As you monitor your harvesting process, make sure the windrows are matched to fit the bale chamber and are weaving accordingly. For best looking bale appearance, the same amount of hay needs to be under each belt, so creating a boxy, evenly distributed windrow is important. Unevenly distributed windrows lead to loose belts and a poorly packed bale. Creating an incorrect windrow width is a common issue in the field – be wary of this. Since windrow width is so incredibly important to creating a good-looking bale, make sure you set the stage with a properly adjusted rake. Consult the Operator’s Manual to check all available settings for both basket and wheeled rakes.

Bale Shape…

Another setting to be aware of is Bale Shape. Depending on your baler model and monitor, you should be able to know when belts are tight. Many times people may be unaware of this Bale Shape setting, so make sure to refer to the baler’s Operator’s Manual, which will have directions.

Density Settings and Twine/Net Adjustments…

Besides being aware of belt tension and windrow width, it is important to make sure to have proper density settings on the baler, so bales are nice and tight. Once the bale density is set to keep the bale tight, make sure to keep the bale tight with proper tension and adjustments on the twine or net. Many times when the bale is released, if the net or twine is improperly adjusted or tensioned, the bale may increase in size when released. Keep in mind appearances can be deceiving. If the net and twine are not adjusted correctly, this increase in size will lead to lost production and poor bale appearance. Be extra careful when checking these adjustments.

If you have questions on equipment settings and makin’ good looking bales, be sure to contact your local Vermeer dealer. You can find your dealer by visiting