New member looking for straw bales (lots!)

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9 years 3 weeks ago #39083 by Karenj
Hi all, i have been lurking around these parts for some time now, such a fantastic resource, but it is time to say hello and ask for help since i can't find the answer on here so far. I am looking for straw bales- about 250 for myself and about 400 for a friend - we are both building straw bale houses in the Matakana area. My partner and I have one northish facing hectare and a catering business - we want to grow as much food as we can for ourselves and the business (since i have been obsessed by food growing for years - decided to scale up). We have our house plans almost ready for council (Graeme North is the architect). Our section is all planned out on paper and all based on permaculture principles. So far, have about 40 fruit trees in with support species. I have lots of questions but so far the main one is where to get a supply of straw bales?? My friend and i are hoping to share transport costs by getting both lots together - assume it will be from down south, but anyone know who we should contact?

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9 years 3 weeks ago #501758 by kindajojo
Hi they are starting to harvest here in the Manawatu now ..so there will be straw bales coming up, do the bales need to be really hard packed..Nicholson Contractors in the manawatu do a lot of straw and it all heads to the Waikato. Someone should know someone closer though

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9 years 3 weeks ago #501766 by Karenj
Hi kindajojo, thanks for replying, and thanks for the information. I'm sure they do need to be pretty hard packed. I have asked the architect for more specifications. cheers,
Karen

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9 years 3 weeks ago #501790 by LongRidge
The straw bales that we have bought over the years are about 8 feet long, and 4 feet wide and deep. Are these the sized bales that you want? If not then you may need to specify the dimensions. A friend of mine sells barley straw in little bales, but he has to bring big bales up from Christchurch, open them and spread them out, then run his small bales through the rows he has made.
You will also need to specify what shape you want. Cylindrical bales tend to be more compact than cuboid ones.
The compactness depends somewhat on the operator of the baler, somewhat on the baler itself, and somewhat on the size of the stalks. A Freeman baler can make more dense bales than some of the other types of balers, I understand.
Then you have to specify what crop that you want the bales made out of. I buy rye-grass seed straw because the animals like it as much as pasture hay. This is more compact than grain straw, but I suspect that you want straw of one of the grains (wheat, barley, oats, rye but perhaps not maize).
Thus, your current question is a little bit vague. If you want to bring straw up from Canterbury I will search out our supplier. But this year your project will be much more expensive than in a year that has less widespread drought, because straw can be used as cow food. I hope this helps.

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9 years 3 weeks ago #501839 by Karenj
Hi Longridge, thanks so much for your response - after some enquiries i can be more specific now.

The bales I am after are the same size as old hay bales - about 900mm x 450 x 300mm

baler needs to crank up the compression on the baler as high as his baler will go.

Remade bales from large bales are not very successful for building - the lay of the fibres is random and not so dense.

Wheat or barley is best.

Thanks for any further input on suppliers of these bales!

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9 years 3 weeks ago #501844 by muri
If you need wheat or barley, I would imagine they are mainly SI crops. I am not sure that there is any wheat in the North Is at all

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9 years 3 weeks ago #501886 by mc2631
I have a contact in Palmerston North if you need it

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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9 years 2 weeks ago #502004 by Karenj
Hi folks, thanks for all your answers -sorry been away from computer, few family dramas going on.

MC2631 - I would love to have your contacts details please - I am looking for cost per bale so be good to compare a few prices - also palmerston means less distance to bring them :-)

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9 years 2 weeks ago #502012 by LongRidge
When we had hay/straw brought up by truck from South Canterbury, the transport company would not bring just a truck full. It had to be a truck and trailer so about 200-250 on the truck and 250-300 on the trailer. If you have to have it done this way, then one of you are going to not get quite enough for the whole job.
I would suspect that you would want the bales to be as close to identical as possible, so baled on the same day and preferably the same paddock. If so, check that this can be done.
When the bales arrived, the truck driver was just inside his time limit for the day, so the turn-around had to be very quick. Thus check that the transport companies driver will have enough time to do the unloading properly..
The unloading will be done by tipping the contents of the trailer off first, because if the truck is emptied first it may not have enough traction to pull a full trailer to the next place. By tipping the loads off, some bales will be broken. Thus if you cannot afford broken bales then obtain a big enough tractor to lift off pallets. The tractor will need to be present before the truck arrives, so that will be an extra cost.
Big trucks and trailers can have incredibly poor turning circles, some worse that others. Thus ensure there is plenty of flat ground to turn on, without gates in the way. My gates are 12 feet, which is too small when it is associated with a bend, for some of the big trucks and trailers. Get the tractor driver to bring a snig chain to pull out any posts that have to be temporarily removed. Fences are easy to repair.

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9 years 2 weeks ago #502099 by Karenj
Hi Longridge, thanks for all that info. So did you build a straw bale house?

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