BY GERALD LONG, PRESIDENT
Georgia Farm Bureau Federation
FOR 80 YEARS Georgia Farm Bureau has been the voice of Georgia
farmers. But what does that mean exactly? Sure, by trade we’re farmers: we grow food for people to eat, grow cotton to protect our skin.
It’s in our blood, really, and it’s a part of who we are at our core.
But with that responsibility to
our state and our country, comes so
much more. Innately, we are producers. We cultivate land, irrigate, plow,
and grow. We’re tasked with problem solving, innovative thinking,
and planning ahead. This lifestyle
extends far beyond the row crops,
far beyond broilers. We can’t think
selfishly, because we are a community — a community that relies on
one another to prosper.
That underlying trust has been essential, and always will be. Our brothers and sisters in this industry trust
that Georgia Farm Bureau will be the
ear to listen, and the voice to evoke change. We’re grassroots-based,
meaning our company structure exists to easily channel thoughts,
opinions, and concerns. We function to serve — to serve county
farmers who need an outlet through which to communicate. Our
farmers inform us of daily issues, lean on us when they need help,
and in turn, we work earnestly to act on their behalf.
A great example of this relationship was during the 2017 legisla-
tive session. House Bill 50 would give landowners liability protection
when visitors are on their farm for livestock activities. The idea for
this issue was born in a county policy development meeting. Next,
it went through the policy development process at the home office,
and was voted on by our delegates at convention on Jekyll Island.
Then the Beef Cattle Advisory Committee recommended it to
be a top priority moving forward. After a few years and a lot of trac-
tion being made in Atlanta, it was passed and signed into law. The
process takes time, but it does work.
“How can we better serve?” is the ethos of our everyday practic-
es. HB 50 proves that we have an effective system in place, proves
that, together, Georgia is and will continue to be at the forefront of
the agricultural industry. We continue to demonstrate that Georgia
farmers have the ability to flourish and thrive for years to come.
We continue to cultivate leaders, individuals from a county
level that are now a part of the American Farm Bureau Federation; leaders who are Georgia-grown and have our interest ever
at heart; leaders who can help shape how Georgia is identified on
a domestic and international level. For these reasons alone, I am
incredibly grateful and humbled.
I am blessed with the privilege to be a part of something that
is greater than the sum of its parts. I have the opportunity to give
back to an entity that continues to enrich my life and my peers.
Georgia Farm Bureau has always existed as a pillar in the ag
arena. And to think, we’ve only just begun in our short 80-year
existence, is nothing short of inspiring. If we have the capacity to
make real legislative change, to raise leaders, and to incite trust,
the opportunity to strengthen and project our voice is limitless.
BY CAROLE KNIGHT
THE PROCESS OF BALING
hay has come a long way
since the late 1800s when
Cyrus McCormick’s reaper
design used a knotter to
bundle and bind hay. And while the technology has improved, the
goal has remained the same: to safely store hay for feeding to livestock at a later date.
Today’s balers come in a wide variety of sizes, shapes, and colors.
In the Southeast, the most common is the round baler. Choosing the
right round baler should begin with an evaluation of your operation
— looking at annual production, productivity expectations, equipment available, type of crop, storage options, and end usage. Careful
comparisons of features and specifications between balers can help
you make the best choice for your operation.
There are several important factors to consider before purchasing a round baler.
1PTO horsepower — If you already own a tractor, be sure to select a baler model that your tractor can handle. If you
are buying a baler first, keep horsepower requirements in mind
when pairing with a tractor. PTO horsepower requirements for
round balers start at 30 hp and can run up to 120 hp.
2Bale size — There are a couple of different baler options when it comes to bale size. Balers can be fixed chambered,
variable chambered, or a combination thereof. Fixed chamber balers’ pick-up feeds the crop to a circular bale chamber, formed by
a series of frame-mounted rollers that are individually driven by
a heavy duty chain. The variable chamber baler is driven by belts,
and is expandable, allowing for different bale sizes to be formed.
3Hay type — The type of forage being harvested (hay or bale-age) should also be taken into consideration. When working
with baleage, make sure the selected baler is capable of handling
such a damp and heavy crop. Silage balers often have heavier bearings and scrapers to clear gummy debris from moving parts.
4Wrap — Wrap selection is also an important component for successfully storing harvested feeds. Generally, there
are four types of wrap used: sisal twine, plastic twine, net-wrap,
In general, sisal twine can rot when stored outdoors, and usually
is a poor choice. Plastic twine has better rot resistance than sisal, but
net-wrap and tube wrap offer better protection from the environment. John Deere now markets B-wrap, a type of net wrap designed
to allow outside hay storage with lower losses. Net and tube wrap do
add more cost, and it is still unclear if the B-wrap will be cost-effective.
5Features — Balers can come with as many, or as few, fea- tures as new automobiles. A bale monitor that goes inside
the tractor cab can be very handy in managing bale options, such
as bale size and number of wraps. A bale kicker can also be beneficial in that it can save time. Without this feature, when the bale is
finished you have to back up and then pull forward again to release
the bale and shut the end gate.
6Customer service — Probably one of the most important hings to look at is the availability of customer service.
Access to replacement parts and/or repair service can affect how
quickly you can get back to baling hay when a breakdown occurs.
Selecting the proper round baler for your operation might seem
like a challenge at first, but with good planning and careful consid-
eration, choosing the perfect fit can become a reality.
Georgia Farm Bureau
a pillar of the ag arena
Six things to consider before
buying a round hay baler