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SP Turnaround Round Bale Mover
Nebraska rancher Wayne Rodocker wanted to do a better job of moving round bales off his irrigated hay fields than he was able to do with a conventional front-end loader. So he decided to build his own four-bale, self-propelled "turnaround" bale loader, complete with an operator turntable that can be rotated 180 degrees allowing him to drive the bale mover in either direction.
"It makes an ideal bale hauler because I can load bales fast. I can pick up four bales at a time without stopping and go up to 1 mph in the field," says Rodocker.
He used 4 by 10-in. sq. tubing to build the chassis and frame and 3 by 7-in. sq. tubing to build the front loader arms which are equipped with two bale spears. Two bale spears are also mounted at the rear. Each spear is controlled by its own hydraulic cylinder so it can be tipped up or down independently. The axles and suspension system are from a White semi truck and the 455 cu. in., 8-cyl. engine (mounted behind the loader arms) is from an Oldsmobile Toronado. The hydrostatic transmission was taken from a junked International 914 combine. There's also a 4-speed transmission from a 1964 1-ton Chevrolet pickup. The loader end of the bale mover is equipped with 48-in. high, 31-in. wide tubeless flotation tires and the engine end has 10.00 by 20 truck tires.
"Conventional front-end loaders are too slow and round bales are hard on them," says Rodocker. "Saving time is especially important on irrigated hay because I want to get bales off the field as quick as possible so I can irrigate again. In the past it took me two hours to load 28 bales on two semi trailers with a front-end loader, but it takes only a half hour with the bale mover. An-other advantage is that the flotation tires soften the ride and don't damage hay as much as regular tractor tires. They also provide a smoother ride. Springs and shocks under the front truck tires help keep the frame and loader from twisting. The short 16-ft. wheelbase lets me turn sharp and the 10 ft. width keeps the bale mover totally stable even when the loader is carrying two 1,500-lb. bales 10 ft. above the ground."
Rodocker built the bale mover to go in either direction so that he can load bales without having to turn his head to look back all the time. The seat, steering wheel, hydraulic levers, and foot pedals are all mounted on a rotating turntable that he cut from 3/8-in. steel plate. "I spear the first bale with one loader arm and tip the bale up at a45 degree angle so that it's about 1 ft. off the ground, then I spear a second bale with the other arm. Then I flip a lever to rotate the turntable so that the engine is in front of me. I spear two more bales, then I rotate the
turntable back to the original position for the drive to the edge of the field.
"The reason I installed the 4-speed trans-mission along with the hydrostatic trans-mission was because it provides a neutral gear for towing the bale mover behind a loaded semi trailer on the highway. In the field I put the transmission in second gear and run the engine at 1/4 throttle. I can go up to 30 mph in second gear and up to 60 mph in third gear. I use the hydraulic levers to control the loader, spears, and turntable. I use my left hand to steer and my right hand to operate the levers. I use my left foot to control the hydrostatic transmission. The left foot pedal has a `rocker panel' so I can use my toe to go forward and my heel to back up. My right foot controls the gas pedal."
The loader arms are raised and lowered by 3-in. dia. cylinders and the spears are controlled by 4 by 16-in. cylinders. A flow valve equalizes oil flow to each loader cylinder to keep the loader from twisting.
Rodocker mounted the hydrostatic trans-mission on the engine bell housing and mounted a hydraulic motor on the 4-speed transmission. Two hydraulic lines connect the pump and motor. An 8-in. long driveline runs from the 4-speed transmission to the rear end.
A 40-gal. tank mounts on each side of the bale mover. The tanks were salvaged from Deere 55 combines. One carries hydraulic oil and the other holds gas. The

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1992 - Volume #16, Issue #2