Efficient haymaking is a critical component of success for many American farmers, which makes having the right small hay baler on hand to do the job even more imporant. Even if you’re just harvesting a few hundred hay bales, you need the proper small hay baler to maximize yield and efficiency. John Deere’s three small square hay balers can help you create solid, stackable, and transportable bales every time, making hay baling season fast and easy.

John Deere small square baler with hay

John Deere offers a wide variety of hay balers in various sizes and a range of features,, but one of the three John Deere small square hay balers could be an ideal choice for those with small properties, or those who want to use a compact tractor rather than a full-size machine for their hay baler. While their moniker indicates production may be limited, Deere’s small hay balers include a number of features that offer up big performance. Let’s take a look at the features of the 328, 338 and 348 small square hay balers and how each can help make hay simple and painless.

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What are the Features of the John Deere 328 Small Square Hay Baler?

John Deere 338 Small Square Hay Baler

Deep-Flighted Auger Feeding

By continuously moving hay away from the pickup to the pre-compression chamber, the deep-flighted auger on this small hay baler adds to the overall capacity, produces higher-quality hay, and allows minimal crop contact with pickup teeth, minimizing leaf loss. The hay turns in the auger housing, enabling the feeder forks to fold each charge as it enters the bale case.

Accurate Knotters

The knotters on the 328 small hay baler are driven by the shaft and gears, providing a positive drive for dependable and accurate functioning. The positive meshing of knotter gears is easily maintained with spring pins and washers on the needle lift shaft, which has a large diameter to increase strength for reliability.

Uniform Bales

The 328 small hay baler uniformly distribute hay into the bale case, producing bales that are easy-to-handle and can be easily stacked. These balers use feeder forks which can be adjusted to five positions to match the feeding requirement to the hay conditions. The forks are spring-loaded for protection and are timed independently of the knotters.

Full-Width Feeding Pickup

The pickup teeth and narrow, flanged strippers on this hay baler extend to the flare on both sides of the pickup, enabling full usable pickup width for feeding wide windrows. The belt drives used to power the pickup are extremely reliable and eliminate the need for slip clutches.

Quiet, Dependable Operation

The plungerhead runs on three precisions roller bearings located in the high-load area, providing quiet operation and minimal wear. The compression charge is on the downstroke of the pitman arm to help eliminate slapping of the plungerhead and a safety stop is positioned to stop the plungerhead at the crank, eliminating potential danger to the plungerhead face.

Adjustable Hay Compressor

This feature mounts to and floats with the pickup and helps to maintain the same relationship to the pickup teeth at all operating heights. The compressor is adjustable to nine positions to maintain positive control of hay in either large, heavy or light, fluffy windrows. It can be removed easily with two spring pins for access to the auger or feed opening.

Optional Hydraulic Bale Tension Available

The available hydraulic bale tension option allows the operator to easily adjust the hay baler’s bale density and desired bale weight to fit crop variations. Instead of springs, hydraulic cylinders precisely control bale density, creating constant and uniform pressure on each bale. Single-knob operation makes this feature simple and easy to use, so operators can focus on the task of baling hay, not tensioning.

What are the Features of the John Deere 338 Small Square Hay Baler? 

John Deere 338 Small Square Hay Baler

Adjustable Hay Compressor

With nine available positions for the adjustable hay compressor, operators can easily maintain positive control of their hay for both large, heavy windrows and light, fluffy ones. This features is mounted to, and floats with, the pickup to main the same proximity to the pickup teeth at any operating height for uniform hay bales. The compressor can be easily removed thanks to a pair of spring pins that provide easy access to the auger and feed opening. 

Optional Hydraulic Bale Tension Available

Easily adjust your hay bale density to match crop variations with the optional hydraulic bale tension feature. Hydraulic cylinders replace traditional springs to provide steady, even pressure on the bale and turn out uniform bales every time. A single knob adjusts bale tension for easy operation and low maintenance requirements. 

Large Windrow Capacity

Bale rows faster with the John Deere 348 hay baler’s large windrow capacity. Never miss a tight harvesting window or stress over wasted hay again with the efficiency of a large-capacity small square baler behind you. 

Full-Width Feeding Pickup

Wide windrows will no longer be an issue with this small hay baler. With the pickup teeth and narrow, flanged strippers extending to the flare on both sides of the pickup, you’ll get full usable pickup with and eliminate missed or wasted hay. Slip clutches are a thing of the past on this hay baler thanks to extremely reliable belt drives powering the pickup for optimal efficiency and dependability. 

Deep-Flighted Auger Feeding

Hay is continuously moved away from the pick to the pre-compression chamber thanks to the deep flights on the 348 hay baler’s auger, improving both capacity and hay quality. Minimal crop contact with the pickup teeth reduces leaf loss and creates a better final product, and even folding of the hay by the feeder forks in the bale case create stackable, manageable bales.

Accurate Knotters

Driven by the shaft and gears, the knotters of this small hay baler create positive drive for smooth, reliable knotting. The knotter gears easily maintain positive meshing thanks to spring pins and washers on the large-diameter needle lift shaft, creating improved strength and reliability.

Uniform Bales

Easily handle and stack bales with the John Deere 348 small hay baler. With feeder forks that can be adjusted to five positions, you can match your feeding requirement to any hay conditions and ensure evenly-distributed hay in the bale case. Spring-loaded forks timed independently of the knotters create enhanced protection and durability for years of reliable hay baling.

Quiet, Dependable Operation

Forget noisy plungerheads and rapid wear-and-tear: with the John Deere 348 hay baler, the plungerhead is equipped with three precision roller bearings in the high-load area for reduced noise and deterioration. Slapping of the plungerhead is also lessened by a compression charge located on the downstroke of the pitman arm, and a safety stop positioned near the crank helps prevent damage to the plungerhead face. 

Commonly Asked Questions About Small Hay Balers

Choosing a small hay baler can be a daunting task. With so many great options on the market, how do you know you’re choosing the right one? Below, we’ve compiled some of the most commonly asked questions about small hay balers to help you choose the perfect model for your needs. 

How Many HP Do You Need to Run a Hay Baler? 

With the John Deere line of small square hay balers, 35 PTO hp is all you need to get out in the field and bale a perfect crop of hay in no time. 

Can a Compact Tractor Run a Hay Baler?  

In a word, yes! With only 35 PTO hp needed to power your John Deere small square hay baler, you can choose from a wide variety of compact tractors to suit your property and lifestyle

What is the Size of a Small Square Bale? 

Small square hay bales can come in many sizes, depending on the hay baler model and the needs of the operator. With the John Deere small square hay baler series, operators can adjust the length of their bales from 12 to 50 inches long, with a uniform height of 14 inches and a width of 18 inches.

John Deere small square baler on road

With so many great small hay baler options from John Deere to choose from, you’re sure to find one that fits your property and lifestyle. Learn more about the 328, 338 and 348 small hay balers, and even more great John Deere equipment to maximize your productivity and efficiency by contacting your local John Deere dealer.

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