Automated round bale handling

FTLComm - Ridgedale - Saturday, October 12, 2002

The main reason that Canadian agriculture continues to hold its own despite the huge subsidies received by farmers in competing countries is that Canadian farmers have found and seem to continue to find ways of increasing their efficiency and productivity through innovation and technical development.

G&S Bale Hauling of Ridgedale (306 277 2137) is an example of the way the agricultural industry continues to move forward. This automatic bale handling truck and trailer is the only one operating in this area, there are two others including one at Carrot River that use the truck system seen here but this is the only truck and trailer unit.

In its transport configuration the pick up arm is vertical on the driver side of the truck but this arm can snatch a round bale (they average around 1,400 pounds a piece) from the field and place it on the truck deck.

On the front of the tractor is the hydraulic pump which provides the power to power the arm and the other active parts on the unit.

The bales are piled one on each track of the flat bed and then a third straddles the load on the top. The powered transporter wall on the truck pushes the growing load backward. While moving in a straight line the trailer slides up to allow for a continuous path to the back of the

unit but for a turn the huge telescoping hitch system lengthens to allow the trailer to turn with separation between the tractor unit and the trailer.

Golden View Fabricating Ltd. of Smoky Lake turns out this and other bale handling equipment and their
web site has pictures showing this kind of system at work picking up bales. Though they advertise the unit as handling 34 bales the picture on their site shows a truck and

trailer system with 36 bales aboard.

The efficiency of this system is remarkable as the operator can sweep a field, lifting and loading the bales then when full going to the collection point in the farm yard or where ever and the trailer rotates to unload its load, the flat bed moves its load back to the trailer and it is then slide into place. In minutes the truck is on its way back into the field to continue the collection process.

G&S Bale Hauling has been very busy this year with farmers taking advantage of the low cost and efficient means of gathering their field production. Though fully capable of long hauling the loads "B" train units are more efficient as they can handle much larger loads so this system works best from field to collection point.

It is likely that 2002 will mark the transition for bale production. Farmers have always taken their bales as a sort of side crop and not that important but this year's drought made it clear to everyone the importance of feed for livestock and the need for feed to be considered a commodity that can, like grain be moved to the market place as needed. While bales have been moved from growing areas to livestock this year a huge amount of feed has been converted to pellets in the Tisdale and Arborfield dehydration plants simply because by concentration the cost of transportation is drastically reduced.

We can almost be certain that operations like G&S Bale Hauling will continue to expand and flourish as producers realise the income that can be produced by growing livestock feed and being able to handle it quickly and cheaply.

Timothy W. Shire


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Editor : Timothy W. Shire
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