I'm new and a little hesitant to jump in too agressively... and not sure exactly how this is supposed to work, but...
Perhaps this entry could be re-formatted to match the microcombine page? http://openfarmtech.org/wiki/Agricultural_Microcombine
This link could then be included as an information source:
I'm afraid I don't quite follow the existing content on this page. I'm a very small scale farmer who is new and may be misunderstanding but...
I'm skeptical of the idea that stock prefer round bales, but who knows, animals differ, and forage content, climate, farmer attitudes, humidty, everything varies.
The way the term "green manure" is usually used in my experience is to refer to a cover crop intentionally grown and integrated directly into the soil as a soil amendment. Here's wiki-pedia's definition: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_manure So, you don't need any kind of baler at all for green manure.
No, it is not (if we're talking about the same thing) a hay picker-upper followed by a hammermill. It is a hay picker-upper which molds the hay into cubes (or in some cases wraps it in rolls) and ties or wires the cubes so that they stay in a compact bale for easy transport and handling. In the case of typical square bales, the strings become handles for manual carrying, stacking, etc. Round bales need special equipment due to their shape and, usually, size/weight. You can't put a sickle bar on and do it all at once because the hay needs to be dry. If you bale wet hay and are lucky it will mold and you can use it for mulch. If you're not it will spontaneously combust.
A haybaler should also be able to bale straw but probably the two requirements are so similar that it would be impossible to do one without the other.
I hope this is helpful.
Thank you for your contributions. Your experience is similar to mine. I have a small farm in upstate New York. I agree with your definitions of a baler, though we should also probably mention that square balers come in different sizes, though the small bales are usually novelty items.
Making hay can be a challenging task. Last year, I tried it the old fashioned way: cut it with a scythe, tedded it with a hay rake, and made up a small rick. It was largely an experiment so see what it was like. My findings are that it can indeed by done by hand but it's a LOT of work. Once we have animals on the farm (sometime in the next couple of years) the scale of making hay will force me to re-consider my methods. Hopefully I will have a LifeTrac by then.
Mjn 05:29, 30 May 2011 (PDT)