Here’s my deep, dark work secret: Even though I write about equipment and I’m around it all the time, I’m not always what you’d call “good” at operating it.
Make one joke about trying to catapult a half-ton round bale, and suddenly no one wants to let your drive*.
Anyway, Deere has a program that’s almost tailor-made for employees like me. Every year, they put together some extensive behind-the-wheel training for our dealer groups, and they bring company employees to the practice sessions. It’s great; the instructors get to practice in front of a live audience, and we get to actually run machines.
Including me getting to make my very first round bale.
Isn’t it horrible? A good round bale should be nice and even across the top, which mine definitely was not. They’re also supposed to have squared-off shoulders, not the kind of floppy ones mine had. It did pack pretty tight, but that was all the baler’s doing, not mine. I did at least manage to get twine around the whole thing. It’s a start.
*yes, it is possible to catapult a round bale. If your baler has a push bar and your gate cycle time is too fast, your push bar becomes a launcher. It sounds fun until you have to try to stop half a ton of rolling hay, especially on a hilly field. Then it’s just plain dangerous.