Business End of John’s Bale Grabber
I would love to have a set of these bale grabbers for our tractor. John, the farmer who provides us with much of our winter hay, is able to use these to quickly unload his trucks and place the hay where I will need it in the winter paddocks. I could do it with my bucket and chain grab method but would be slower and rip more bale wrap.
Our tractor has the hydraulic controls for the grabber arms – the same ones I use for the 4-in-1 Jaws bucket. I have a spare hydraulic cylinder kicking around. With this in mind I was looking John’s grabber over very carefully. The mechanism is quite simple. With a bit of welding perhaps we’ll make one of these and save the almost $2,000 they cost new.
Hay is still being delivered as I write this. We’re at about the half way point. Our goal this year is to have 250 of the 4×4 800 lb round bales of 2nd through 3rd cut hay at about 75% moisture content. These smell slightly sweet, slightly alcoholly and feel dry. Some of the bales from an another farmer are wetter – we’ll see how that works. They smell more like fresh cut grass and feel wetter crisping up in freezing weather. The protein analysis is higher so John said that they may make very good feed. Something new. More towards haylage.
For a rule of thumb I figure on needing about half a round bale per pig per winter plus one round bale per sow farrowing in the winter. During the wet mud seasons on either side of winter we use more hay than during the long dry months of winter’s true cold. In the warm season they don’t need the hay at all. Better to buy too much than too little. Running out of hay is expensive. If I do buy too much then it will keep to get us started next fall.
We already have 150 small square 60 lb bales of mulch hay which is useful for starting deep bedding packs in the open winter sheds. The mulch hay is in addition to 150 small squares of good hay. These small bales are useful for hand distribution. We stack them ten or twelve on pallets so that I can easily move them around the farm with the tractor forks. Prior to being used we keep them tarped as a meta-block.
Outdoors: 34°F/18°F Cloudy
Tiny Cottage: 66°F/60°F
Daily Spark: The problem with Life is no Undo.