How Do Round Balers Work?

What Does a Round Baler Do?

A round baler is a hay baling system, or bundling system, that picks up hay from the ground and feeds it into a bale chamber. From there, the hay is then wrapped in layers with the help of 6 to 8 long rubber belts and becomes a rolled spherical shape, filling the bale chamber.

What Are the Benefits of Using a Round Baler?

Since John Deere introduced the industry’s first bale ejector - the 14T Baler - in 1957, haying has become a one-person operation. With built-in automation features, John Deere round balers reduce operator fatigue while delivering consistent bales that are achieved through communication between the tractor and the baler. By using a round baler, farmers will see bales that are less vulnerable to weather and are easy to unravel for feeding.

What Are the Advantages of Round Bales?

Choosing between a round or square bale is entirely up to you; however, there are a few benefits to round bales worth considering. Some of the advantages of round bales are that they are more resistant to moisture, they have a longer shelf life, round bales can be fed whole to livestock, and they are typically smaller and less expensive than square bales.

How Does a Round Baler Work?

Designed to improve hay pickup and overall baling speed, the capabilities of a round baler help operators achieve maximum productivity out in the field. This is achieved in a few key steps:

Step 1:

As the hay enters the forming chambers from the pickup, belts instantly turn to shape it into a tight, dense core.

Step 2:

Incoming hay is fed between the bale and the lower gate roll. It is then compressed into smooth, dense layers once entering the bale itself.

Step 3:

As the bale grows, the idler arm rises, forcing oil from the hydraulic cylinder through a pressure-relief valve to maintain consistent bale density throughout the shaping process.

What Happens if Round Bales Get Wet?

If a round bale of hay gets wet, they can develop mold and rot, which can make them unfit for animal feed. The moisture can also increase the risk of combustion, as the hay can self-ignite.


The size of the tractor depends on the size of the baler. However, most standard balers require a tractor with around 35 horsepower and a minimum tractor weight of 3000 pounds.

For more information regarding John Deere round balers, contact your local John Deere dealer.

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