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Old Manure Spreader Makes Low-Cost Bale Spreader
"It's an easy way to feed small square bales to cattle on pasture," says Michael Boyd, Maxwell, Iowa, who converted a Deere model N ground-driven spreader into a ptopowered, 3-pt. mounted feeder.
The spreader's original wooden floor and sides were rotted out as were the tires. Boyd stripped the rig down to the angle iron frame, removing the hitch, axle, drive mechanism, beaters, etc., but leaving the apron shafts, sprockets, and chain. He made a new floor and sides from 3/4-in. treated plywood. He extended the sides upward 4 ft. by welding hog panel sections to lengths of angle iron. The back side is hinged, allowing it to be folded down for loading bales.
A steel frame built under the spreader holds it sideways across the back of the tractor. The unloading apron is driven by a hydraulic motor mounted on the spreader and connected directly to the apron shaft by a Love Joy coupler. He uses a 40 hp Ford 4000 tractor to power the rig, which spreads hay in a windrow on the ground.
"It's a real time and labor saver," says Boyd. "I've put more than 15,000 bales through it with no problems. I load bales from the top of a 20-ft. high stack by backing up to the stack, removing the twine, and throwing the bales in loose. I can load 12 to 13 bales this way. When I reach the bottom of the pile I fold the back panel down and stack four bales at a time, remove the twine, then stack another layer, etc. I can load up to 16 bales this way without having to lift bales more than waist high. Broken bales and loose hay are no problem. It also works great for spreading straw or corn stalks as bedding.
"I had been feeding bales from the back of a 4-WD pickup, unloading the hay while 50 hungry cows all converged on me at once. It got to be a real hassle and it always left the back of the pickup messy. I paid $250 for the hydraulic motor and my total out-of-pocket expense was less than $300. The most time consuming part was building the 3-pt. frame that carries the spreader ęsideways'. The frame protects the chain and floor from the weight of the spreader whenever it's lowered to the ground.
"I generally drive fairly fast in order to more lightly distribute the hay. The only problem is that the tractor is light in front and there's no place to hang suitcase weights. I solved the problem by building my own weight bracket which lets me hang four 100-lb. suitcase weights."
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Michael E. Boyd, RR 2, Box 289A, Max-well, Iowa 50161 (ph 515 387-8694).


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1998 - Volume #22, Issue #2