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Cutting the moldy bottom off hay bales - anyone else?

Started by Brad_bb, September 20, 2023, 10:07:39 PM

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Brad_bb

I've got some large squares and the bottoms that were on pallets on a concrete floor have mold.  The rest of the bale is fine.  The lack of air movement and enough humidity causes this.  So I have about 30 large squares (3x4x8 ) that I can save if I can cut off the very bottom.  I'm going to have to strap the bale and cut the strings to do this.  We net the hay anyway so the ratchet straps should keep it together while we net it.

I was loath to try my chainsaw because I think it would pull hay into the saw.  But I just read that you can use the top side of the bar to cut hay.  So I am planning to try it.  We usually set the bottom bales on the end grain, but for these we didn't.  So it may be trickier trying to cut it.  I'll report back when I try it. I'll have to photo or video.  In the mean time, anyone ever do have to do this? Any advice?  I'm thinking an antique hay knife wouldn't be practical given the size of these?

Lastly, I was thinking about a special band for the mill to cut these, one that looks like a hay knife profile, but then I realized that the bales are too wide for my LT15go.
Anything someone can design, I can sure figure out how to fix!
If I say it\\\\\\\'s going to take so long, multiply that by at least 3!

sawguy21

I seem to recall @HolmenTree posting pictures of cutting round bales, iirc he used a Stihl 090G with a 6 or 7 foot bar.
old age and treachery will always overcome youth and enthusiasm

beenthere

south central Wisconsin
It may be that my sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others

chevytaHOE5674

Must be feeding horses?

I've attempted cutting bales with a chainsaw. It was a dusty and nasty process with marginal success.

I like to live dangerously so I would just feed them as is but not use the net. Set them out and let the animals choose what to eat, and don't force them to clean up every last bit.

But my horses spend their winters eating the same hay as my cattle which sometimes has moldy/dusty spots in it. Bales are rolled out so the animals all have the opportunity to choose what/where to eat. 


Nebraska

Use the chainsaw to shave the hay bale.  Yes does pull up into the saw, but it's not much different than noodles when you split a log. Just don't get it too hot.  Hopefully it's not much that you have to trim off.  I try not to do it but I  have several times. Keep your scrench handy. For the price of horse quality hay it's worth it and you shouldn't have mold very far ithe hay. hay. Btw I heard 12.00 $ for a small square around here a couple days ago..

Tom King

Good luck with it.  Our pastures have gotten to the point that our horses only ate 9 bales a piece last year.  We used to feed hay from Thanksgiving to Easter, but that time has shortened over the past several years.

Last year, we paid $16 for really nice Timothy/Alfalfa bales.  Since our number of horses and bales eaten has gone down, I just buy a pickup truck load locally f few times over the Winter from a hay dealer rather than buying whole trailer loads like we used to. I'm sure I could do better on that price with buying more at the time, and longer hauling, but it's not worth it any more.

Brad_bb

Yes, this is horse hay, and we had to pay good money for it with the drought and all.  My horses (14), well 10 of them are gypsy drafts that need low sugar hay and no mold.  Long story short, we had a problem with one of the grass varieties we planted 4 years ago so we had to totally kill the fields and plant new.  So we had to buy hay this summer and will have to next summer while our hay is growing in.  We got some straight timothy which is working well, but we also got as much orchard/timothy with some purple clover.  That is the hay with the issue on the bottom.  it was in a less ventilated area and I don't think a problem of the hay itself.  We now have a blower blowing under the pallets on bottom.  We should have had that from the start.  Important to have airflow under in the humidity of the summer.  But I've got like 30 bales that need cut.  It'll be some work, but with the cost, probably worth it.
Anything someone can design, I can sure figure out how to fix!
If I say it\\\\\\\'s going to take so long, multiply that by at least 3!

Ljohnsaw

Hay went crazy the last few years out here. My daughter works at a feed store. Hit $30+/bale! Glad we got rid of the ranch/horses 25 years ago.
John Sawicky

Just North-East of Sacramento...

SkyTrak 9038, Ford 545D FEL, Davis Little Monster backhoe, Case 16+4 Trencher, Home Built 42" capacity/36" cut Bandmill up to 54' long - using it all to build a timber frame cabin.

Southside

Franklin buncher and skidder
JD Processor
Woodmizer LT Super 70 and LT35 sawmill, KD250 kiln, BMS 250 sharpener and setter
Riehl Edger
Woodmaster 725 and 4000 planner and moulder
Enough cows to ensure there is no spare time.
White Oak Meadows

barbender

Too many irons in the fire

Nebraska

I wonder if you could trim them on the sawmill with a board underneath and alonside?? :)

btulloh

Just thinking outside the bale but could be an interesting experiment. Turn a bandsaw blade inside out so it will run with the hook facing the wrong way and the back of the tooth is now the leading edge. Use an angle grinder or better yet a die grinder and sharpen the back edge of each tooth to a keen edge. You'll end up with basically a serated knife for the band saw with a negative rake on the cutting edges. This should cut the hay without grabbing the stems and just pulling the bale apart.

Sounds a little wonky and it'll take a little time to grind the edge into every tooth but heck, it would be an interesting experiment and make for a unique post in the what ha sawin' thread.

I did see your note the bale was wider than your mill, but . . . I'm just gonna pretend I didn't see that . . .
HM126

Southside

Well angle grinders have been used to make mills wider before. Just saying.  :D
Franklin buncher and skidder
JD Processor
Woodmizer LT Super 70 and LT35 sawmill, KD250 kiln, BMS 250 sharpener and setter
Riehl Edger
Woodmaster 725 and 4000 planner and moulder
Enough cows to ensure there is no spare time.
White Oak Meadows

Brad_bb

@barbender Yes.

@Southside  Red Top grass, the fiber below the seed head pokes in their gums and has micro barbs and sticks there causing large canker sore type sores.  We worked with Purdue to determine cause.  Can't find the pics at the moment.  We killed all the fields after first cutting this year and just re-seeded with different mix.  Worked with agronomist at Purdue.

@btulloh and @Nebraska, yep, bales are 3 ft wide, too wide for my LT15.  I'd need a matt Cremona type mill, then I'd try the band mod experiments.

Anything someone can design, I can sure figure out how to fix!
If I say it\\\\\\\'s going to take so long, multiply that by at least 3!

SawyerTed

Just throwing this out there.  Would an old fashioned 2 man crosscut saw work?  Sharp!

We grew some type of Timothy grass blend we got from the co-op for our cows.   Most of our fields have reverted back to  tall fescue.  One still has lots of Timothy but it isn't ever used as pasture. 

The fellow who leases our farm over seeds with tall fescue so the is Timothy fading.  
Woodmizer LT50, WM BMS 250, WM BMT 250, Kubota MX5100, IH McCormick Farmall 140, Husqvarna 372XP, Husqvarna 455 Rancher

Peter Drouin

Back in the day farmers had hay saws. I don't have a pic. Maybe someone can find one.
A&P saw Mill LLC.
45' of Wood Mizer, cutting since 1987.
License NH softwood grader.

Nebraska

I forgot you said big squares  earlier, my brain was on  small squares....
:)









Old Greenhorn

Not  livestock guy and  have no dog in this fight while I also understand the LT15 is too small, but just for reference, if you were going to try this on a mill, what you would want is called a "knife Edge Blade" probably the wavy edge type. I have one of these for a shop bandsaw and used it to split leather belting. No chips, no hook angle, no grabbing and ripping. 
 Just putting it in here for future reference if somebody comes looking later on.
 Possibly making a large two man bowsaw to hold a section of wavy edged blade might work.
 Good luck Brad
Tom Lindtveit, Woodsman Forest Products
Oscar 328 Band Mill, Husky 350, 450, 562, & 372 (Clone), Mule 3010, and too many hand tools. :) Retired and trying to make a living to stay that way. NYLT Certified.
OK, maybe I'm the woodcutter now.
I work with wood, There is a rumor I might be a woodworker.

Brad_bb

Quote from: Old Greenhorn on September 22, 2023, 07:52:15 AM
Not  livestock guy and  have no dog in this fight while I also understand the LT15 is too small, but just for reference, if you were going to try this on a mill, what you would want is called a "knife Edge Blade" probably the wavy edge type. I have one of these for a shop bandsaw and used it to split leather belting. No chips, no hook angle, no grabbing and ripping.
Just putting it in here for future reference if somebody comes looking later on.
Possibly making a large two man bowsaw to hold a section of wavy edged blade might work.
Good luck Brad
Yes, just like the antique hay knives.  I was wondering if anyone had made such a blade profile for a bandmill, but didn't bother asking as my mill isn't wide enough anyway.
Anything someone can design, I can sure figure out how to fix!
If I say it\\\\\\\'s going to take so long, multiply that by at least 3!

Southside

No need to break out the grinder to make that profile, just find a field edge tree with some old ceramic fence insulators and get to sawing, I guarantee you will have the perfect, no hook, rounded over tooth profile in no time.   :D
Franklin buncher and skidder
JD Processor
Woodmizer LT Super 70 and LT35 sawmill, KD250 kiln, BMS 250 sharpener and setter
Riehl Edger
Woodmaster 725 and 4000 planner and moulder
Enough cows to ensure there is no spare time.
White Oak Meadows

barbender

 Brad, one of my daughters works at a local riding stable, she started out taking care of Vanners. Brushing and braiding hair, there was plenty to do! They are beautiful animals!

 
Too many irons in the fire

gspren

If the large rectangular bales are constructed like the small ones you can pull the thing apart in waffers. If so I would try a wafer about 16" if you are using a 20" bar, pull it off and put a ratchet strap near the cut and give it a try. Won't take long to try and then adjust depending on how it goes. Pulling a wafer off also gives a better idea how deep the mold goes.

Added: Wear a dust mask!
Stihl 041, 044 & 261, Kubota 400 RTV, Kubota BX 2670, Ferris Zero turn

Brad_bb

Well all the fretting was for naught.  My regular chain, I switched the bar oil out for soybean oil that we use to lube the manure spreader chain.  This was a 3x4x8' bale that was packed pretty densely.  I was cutting across the grain.  We ratchet strapped the bale with two straps, then cut the 4 strings and moved them out of the way.  We held the bale up with the hay spear tynes on the skid steer.  I made sure that I wouldn't hit the tynes with my saw.  I had about 12 inches, but only needed to cut off 4-5 inches.  It cut like Butta!  It did not clog up my clutch like I feared.  Now I didn't try a rip cut, but if I do I'll post a video here too.
Chainsaw Bale cutting
Anything someone can design, I can sure figure out how to fix!
If I say it\\\\\\\'s going to take so long, multiply that by at least 3!

SwampDonkey

Here's a fellow that had to cut 6" off of bales used in straw bale construction. They did 400 bales in 6 hrs.

Resizing Straw Bales to Fit with a Portable Sawmill
"No amount of belief makes something a fact." James Randi

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2020 Polaris Ranger 570 to forward firewood, Husqvarna 555 XT Pro, Stihl FS560 clearing saw and continuously thinning my ground, on the side. Grow them trees. (((o)))

DWyatt

Your video reminded me of shearing sheep, watching the whole piece come off neatly.

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