Peanut Butter Pallet Fork Lift

Pallet Forks on Tractor

Sometimes the right tool for the job is just that. Nothing else quite matches it. When we picked up the first batch of peanut butter the pallet forks were buried under an 11′ tall snow bank that was about 20′ long. That made getting the peanut butter out of the van rather challenging. This time I was able to switch from the front loader bucket to the fork lift attachment. This made it easy to get the entire ton of peanut butter out of the van in one clean shot.

I rarely use the forks, they’ll sit for six months without being touched. But when I need them nothing else comes close. We originally got the forks with the idea of using them to move hay and more importantly because we had the opportunity to unload 34,000 lbs of cheese that was delivered to us free of charge in two tractor trailer loads. That much free food for the pigs paid for the forks and were a requirement – we had to unload at the tailgate.

As I unloaded the peanut butter from the van in the photo above the tractor walked on it’s front wheels. It’s an interesting sensation. Even with both rear wheels loaded with fluid, 800 lbs of tire chains and the 1,600 lb backhoe it was still doing hand stands. The slightly more than a ton of weight on the forks was a bit much as I pulled back from the van at the height necessary to remove the pallet. Once I lowered the load the tractor settled back down to all four on the floor.

For another amazing sight, watch a cargo van settle down on its springs when a ton of peanut butter is set over the back axle. It is similarly impressive when taking out said ton of peanut butter. The van is rated to carry 5,300 lbs and we have extra springs but normally when we’re loading it up we do it slowly in 40 or 50 lb units at a time. Doing it so slowly you don’t tend to notice the change.

Oh, and did I mention that there is 200 lbs of chest freezer and 440 lbs of concrete blocks in the van too… For traction of course. The blocks really are for traction – they’re left over from the winter driving when we need the extra weight. Ironically the van gets almost the same gas mileage fully loaded as empty – about 16 mpg which is pretty good for such a large vehicle of it’s age (1997) and miles.

Outdoors: 55°F/31°F Sunny (no frost)
Farm House: 62°F/56°F
Tiny Cottage: 69°F/60°F

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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5 Responses to Peanut Butter Pallet Fork Lift

  1. Anonymous says:

    I have always been impressed at the reliability of mileage in my full size van. City or highway, loaded or light, I always get the same mileage. The only time I ever changed it was heavily load with a trailer in addition or stacking stuff on the roof changing the profile and wind resistance.

  2. Brian says:

    This may help you get a little beter feul milage I think the principal is solid as a truking co here in town has a device such as this on one of his tractors and he is saving 10% on the fuel bill

  3. Alex Tiller says:

    All you need now is a ton of jelly and a few thousand loaves of bread. -Samich time!

    Thanks for this post. I love the idea of local companies like Ben and Jerry’s helping out the local farmer by contributing product they can’t use for the hogs. – I bet the hogs love it too.

    Alex Tiller

  4. Haymaker says:

    Would it help to extend out the backhoe bucket as ballast, at least as you’re backing out of the van?

  5. Yes, definitely extending the hoe helps as ballast and I do that for many thing. One must also be careful not to overload the lift ares. That there is about 2,000 lbs. The forks aren’t rated to lift that full height – which fortunately I don’t need. Recently I was unloading 30,000 lbs of cottage cheese from a tractor trailor and the larger pallets were 1,900 lbs which was too much at the high gate level of the truck bed – it was a tall truck rather than a short truck. I tried on the first pallet and almost flipped the tractor forward and the bucket lift arms were groaning in displeasure at the stress. We ended up reducing the weight of each pallet to about 1,200 lbs to make the process safer. Safety first.

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