Roto-Baler Serial Numbers & Production

For those of you who own a Roto-Baler, do you want to know what year your machine was made? First off you need to find the location of the serial number on your baler. If you have a manual for the machine it tells you where to find the number. For those of you who don’t have the manual this picture should help guide you.

Serial # is below the roof on the back, right side of the machine.

The number will be stamped into the metal. Sometimes the metal will be rusty, so take a wire brush or steel wool to clean the surface if the numbers are hard to read. The number can be as short as three digits (XXX) and as long as five digits (XXXXX). Once you have that number you can cross-reference it to the year it was made. If you have Norm Swindford’s book, Allis-Chalmers Farm Equipment 1914-1985, he has the listed serial numbers and year associated with the number, this is located on page 299. For those of you who do not have the book, I have taken the time to transfer the information from the book onto a PDF.  Click the picture below to view the list in a larger window.


I’d be interested to catalog and share the number Roto-Balers that are still left out there (out of approx. 78,000 built). If you would kindly fill out the form below, and then your Roto Baler will be added to the registry list that is below the form. If you need any help setting up your Roto-Baler, or if you have any other questions feel free to post a comment below. I also have some connections with people who are very good with these machines, and I would be willing to pass your questions along to them.


18 thoughts on “Roto-Baler Serial Numbers & Production”

  1. We changed the lower belts-At 102 in long–but when we put the new belts on two at first-
    they seems to long and when adjusted it seemed that the belts were to long-so we cut the belt to
    98.5 in-run the baler and it made a lot better bale-So I purchased two more belts-at 98.5 and
    put them on-did a test run and it made a very good bale-so I ordered the last two at 98.5
    installed but this time during the test run–the hay just runs right thru the back and will not make a bale. Do you think this is the reason the hay just runs out the back-because we made the belts
    to small–now we have made a few bales-but after a couple it does the same thing and the hay just runs out the back. any ideas.thanks phil Simon

  2. I don’t know what you mean by “to long” but it is normal for the belts to appear very loose when no hay is in the baler. I believe they need this “looseness” to allow the hay a place to bunch up between the two sets of belts and eventually begin to rotate and make a bale. Yes, I believe you have the belts too tight.

  3. I have this #10 and another one I think is older but don’t have the serial number of it until I get it home. This machine hasn’t run in 30 years but it looks like it was well cared for in its life and was done the seasons baling when it was lubed and put away for the last time. I hope to have it working by the weekend. Any ideas on a slow start up and where to look to keep things from breaking? It might not be possible to rotate it by hand through a whole cycle. So I’ll hook it to an N tractor at first to watch what happens. But that’s still a lot of horsepower that could break things that aren’t ready to move.

    1. I would suggest getting a manual for it that will show you every bearing that needs to be greased. Make sure everything is greased and put some oil on the chains to free up any frozen or stiff parts. Let it idle for a couple minutes as to let everything get lubed. Check to make sure none on the bearings are squeeling or grinding as it’s idling. Then I would ppen it up a bit more and recheck everything. Another thing I would do is check all the springs. Over time the get worn and don’t keep tension. Your owners manual should tell you where they are. Take it out in the field and give it a shot then. Make sure you have double windrows!

      1. Thanks. I will follow your advice. I think I’ve found all the grease nipples. I have the manual from your site here and another one that’s pretty complete I think the only thing that’s really diferent is the gearbox. oh and mine has some electrical parts. one part looks like a pickup on the clutch with a condenser and the other is behind the string mechanism. There’s an on off switch in there and what looks like a variable resistor. Any ideas what these do ?. It seems like a dealer or factory installation.

      2. Hi Austin

        Do you have any information on how the overdrive system works? would it be 12v or 6v do you hink?

      3. Hi Austin. My baler, that I’m trying to get going, has the overdrive system. It consists of a couple of switches and on/off switch behind the twine arm mechanism and a component with 2 connections that I can’t ID. I was told this device switches the gearbox to a second speed during the tying cycle but I can’t find much information of how the system works. I’m afraid to put 12v on it in case there is a solenoid or actuator somewhere I haven’t found that might burn up. if the tractors that typically ran this were all 6v then I guess that’s mu answer and i’ll have to provide a 6v source But anything else you could tell me about it would be great.

      4. I was out today looking at the parts baler I have and To get the serial number and there isn’t one in the corner like the other one. We’re these numbers ever recorded anywhere else in the machine?

      5. I took a pic of the part. I suppose it could be hidden if it was very lightly stamped. My other one is very heavily stamped, So I thought it would be more apparent.

  4. I have now had my baler going on Six years–A few things that are a must is using the right twine. I get my Binder twine from the Amish or as long as it is Binder twine it should work fine. Other wise it will screw up the timing. Timing is the first thing–Follow the manual to a tee-Double row is correct , but have hay accross the whole pick up helps a lot on making a good bale of hay. My son and I got 150 bales of oat hay this year, making 90 lbs bales.having a live PYO tractpr helps also. We used a Allis-Chalmers WC-When the Bale was made-the conveyor stops, then had to put the tractor in Neurtal put the clutch out and wait for the converor to start–then put in gear and start over until the next bale-and putting bales out every 20 feet or so makes for a lot of stopping and clutch work, thats why a live PTO works better or have a Allis with the hand clutch. And you need someone to push the end of the twine on the bale must be pushed into the hay so it does not unrap. They had a special tool for this but most balers don’t have this tool, ours did.and good luck stacking the bales–the round bales do not stack as good as the sq, bales do. I just purchased a Allis-Chalmer 303 sq Baler- pick up in Michigan in August.We will only use our round baler at shows now.

  5. Hi i have purchased one recently as it was going to scrap and i saw the historic value.
    I have a serial number of 1803s
    Which does not correspond with any date as i can see.
    Its persian orange with orange roof

    1. s was for an aluminum conveyor. I found a baler with serial number c271x. I don’t have a clue what that means.

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