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Semi Bale Handler Makes Feeding A Snap
Rick Lamb and his three brothers farm together at Claresholm, Alberta. They recently turned a 1985 semi truck into a big bale chore "tractor." The rig is now their only piece of equipment for feeding cows, and Rick says it should meet their needs, while saving them money, for the next 20 years.
"We were tired of rebuilding our Chevrolet 1-ton 4x4 and we were very limited in what a 1-ton can do," Rick explains. "With rougher, scattered land, bigger round bales and more cattle, we knew that we needed something more rugged. After looking for two years for something different, we finally bought a Western Star cab and chassis with 35,000 miles on it and a 3208 diesel 4-speed automatic transmission.
With the help of Kirchner Machine in Lethbridge, Alberta, the Lambs equipped the truck with a bale handler big enough to handle any round or square bale. They wanted to carry three round bales on the truck to simplify feeding, so they looked at a variety of commercial bale handlers and incorporated the best designs from each into their own.
The arms are 3 by 5-in., off an 8 by 8 square tube. A cylinder under the deck lifts the 6-in. bales, while a used, 2 1/2-in. cylinder squeezes the lift arm together. A 17 gal. pump delivers up to 1,800 lbs. pressure. The bales simply unroll on the ground when pulled by the truck. Behind the cab is a homemade 40-bushel hopper that can be put on the deck or removed with the arms. A hydraulic motor is used to auger feed grain, pellets, or alfalfa cubes from the hopper.
The truck enables one man to feed round bales and grain to about 300 to 500 cows/yearlings in less than three hours, including travel time, according to Lamb.
They like the smooth ride across the rough fields and the convenience of compressed air in the field.
Two large toolboxes provide ample room for tools and parts or even newborn calves.
"Future possibilities for the semi are a front mounted point for a fourth bale or snow blade," Lamb says. "The 14.00 by 20 tires may be exchanged for 22.5 by 11.00 tires to pull a small fifth wheel trailer easier."
He says the $40,000 (Canadian) that was spent for the truck and bale handler can be justified considering the labor, gas and repair time that they'll save over the next 20 or so years.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Rick Lamb, Box 1716, Claresholm, Alberta, T0L 0T0 Canada (ph. 403 625-2363, E-mail: lambrs@telusplanet.net).

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2001 - Volume #25, Issue #3