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Fast Way To Feed Hay To Livestock
Sometimes it takes a farmer to assemble someone else's pieces into a different machine that's better than the original parts. That happened near John Day, Ore., when farmer, John Ray bought a Vermeer F100 big bale feeder to feed his 100 cows.
The feeder seemed awkward to Ray, after the purchase, so he went to work on it. He bought a wrecked 3/4 ton pickup for $400, removed the bed and added air shocks and dual rear tires. Then, he mounted the Vermeer bale feeder close to the cab, and mounted a Dew-Eze bale fork on the rear to flip bales onto the feeder table.
Now he places one bale in the feeder, a second bale on the forks and drives to the pasture, where he feeds his 100 cows in about five minutes. He's unrolled about 3000 bales already and says, "It's the slickest thing I ever saw. The parts turn very slowly, and I think you could wear out three trucks before the feeder and forks would wear out."
Hay is discharged at a fixed height, but Ray says it's high enough so that he could feed into a fenceline bunk if he needed to. He has invested about $6000 in the rig, including the truck, bale feeder, bale fork, plus a hydraulic pump, hoses and valve to operate the feeder and bale fork. But he figures the price now would be closer to $8000, and possibly more depending on the truck used.
Ray says that prior to building his truck-mounted bale feeder he spent more than an hour in the field every day feeding with a 4-wheel drive tractor, and used 120 gallons of diesel fuel every week. Now, the truck burns about 20 gallons of gasoline weekly and labor is cut to a fraction of what it was before.

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1981 - Volume #5, Issue #6