The conversion of large square bales to small square bales is a process that has been practiced for over 20 years. Innovative manufactures like Steffen Systems and Hunterwood Technologies have perfected the process and integrated their bale slicers with both high and low density hay presses worldwide. Most of the equipment that runs today is designed for double compression of forages to maximize export container shipments. A standard 40 foot long high cube shipping container can be loaded with 48,000 – 54,000 pounds worth of payload. High density export presses can apply upwards of 800 tons of compressive force using hydraulic cylinders as big as 18 inches in diameter. The density of the hay is doubled and the bales are tied with string or low elongation plastic strap.
Domestic hay shipping utilizing dry van and flatbed trucks is different. Standard 48-53 foot trailers can only carry a legal payload of around 43,000 – 50,000 pounds. Our process utilizes a low density compression system that only increases the hay density by about 10-15% from its original field bale density. Halls Hay chose to purchase a Steffen Systems low density bale conversion system in 2006. The machine was paired with a Halls Hay unitizing system to produce a labor free small bale package. These two tools have allowed us to take advantage of the harvesting efficiencies of the large square baler and introduce better quality control to our premium small bale products.