A round baler is a type of heavy equipment that is used to arrange different types of materials into secure bales, making it easy to transport or store those materials for later use. A number of these balers are utilized to harvest different types of grasses, such as hay or straw. First developed in the early years of the 20th century, the round baler is in common use in a number of agricultural settings ranging from family farms all the way through to commercial farming corporations.
The characteristics of a round baler include enhancements to the device that were made during the latter part of the 20th century. Typically, the equipment will include some sort of collection mechanism that makes harvesting the hay or other products intended for baling a simple process. This is often accomplished by using blades to cut the material, then depositing the product directly into a hopper. The material is flattened into long sections that are then rolled to form a round bale. Many balers of this type also come with the option of completely encasing the rolled bale with some sort of plastic material, then securing the bale with wire or plastic strapping. The end result is a bale that is self-contained, easy to store or transport, and will not shed materials when it is moved from one location to another.
It is possible to use a round baler to create bales containing a wide range of materials. While hay and straw are two of the more common materials that are baled using this type of equipment, just about any substance that will bend somewhat easily can be compressed into a round bale. Certain grades of cardboard can be harvested using a round baler, making it easy to prepare and transport the material to a recycling center. Other forms of dried grasses can also be harvested using the baler, as well as various types of leaves and other natural materials.
Once a relatively expensive piece of machinery, it is possible to purchase a basic round baler for relatively little money. There are a number of different designs that make it possible to produce bales of all sizes, a characteristic that helps to make the baler even more versatile. Owing to the ability to purchase balers that produce the rolled or round bales of any size, the device is often ideal for small farms requiring seasonal baling of different grasses as well as large commercial farms that require efficient baling equipment for use on an ongoing basis.