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Towable Hay Feeders Steer At Both Ends
Don Hampton and his son, Darrel, needed to be able to feed loose hay from stacks to cattle in pastures and small lots.
  The Hamptons felt it made more sense to load hay into towable feeders at the stacks, rather than trying to move it from the stack to the pasture or lot and then put it into a bunk.
  After studying the matter a little, Hampton came up with the idea of a hay feeder on a running gear with steerable axles at both ends. That way, the Huron, South Dakota, cattleman can pull from either end, with a tongue that can be easily detached and re-attached on the opposite end.
  "When we unhitch from the feeder, we take off the tongue and hang it on a hook on the end of the rack. That keeps it up out of the mud and manure," says Darrel. "Being able to put the tongue on the other end of the feeder lets us pull it back out of small lots where there's not enough space to turn it around."
  They built the feeding rack from used 2 5/16-in. well stem pipe for the frame, with vertical 3/4-in. sucker rod spaced 12 in. on center from front to back. "This spacing allows even the largest bulls to get their heads through to eat, but they're close enough together that they don't throw hay around and waste it."
  They bent the sucker rod, eight pieces at a time, in their shop press to flare out the feeder's sides, so it would hold more hay.
  The bottoms of the rack are open, with just loose boards laying in them, so dirt and debris can fall through.
  The Hamptons have made four of these feeders. "We sold one to a neighbor who liked the idea," Hampton says.
  Their first model was 37 ft. long, with wagon (bolster) steering. To make sure both front and rear axles turned the same, they ran cables from the corners of the front bolster to the opposite corners of the rear bolster. A hanger in the center of the wagon stringer keeps the cables from sagging. It worked well, so they made the second one 50 ft. long.
  "The longer one holds about 4 tons of hay when it's full but the weight tends to make it a little tippy when you turn short," Hampton says.
  Based on that experience, the Hamptons made their third feeder 40 ft. long with automotive type steering, using two front axles from a couple of old 2-ton trucks. Both axles are hooked with tie rods to the tongue mounts. Then, to make them both steerable from either end, the Hamptons made a long tie rod between the axles out of 2-in. pipe. The pipe runs from opposite corners, through a cradle in the center of the wagon frame.
  "This type of steering is really the best," Hampton says. "It's more stable under a load in a turn than bolster-type steering. We put stops on each end of the rack to keep it from turning too short and tearing off the tie rods."
  He says besides being easy to get in and out of pastures and lots and holding enough hay to feed cattle for several days, the hay feeders can also be positioned to make a wind break. "I've pulled three of the feeders together into a pasture ahead of a blizzard to give the cattle a place to eat and get out of the storm."
  While they usually feed loose hay in them, Hampton says they work fine for any size round or square bales, too.
  Darrel built a shorter 24-ft. hay feeder wagon this past fall. "It took about two days in the shop to put it together," he says.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Darrel Hampton, 39694 201st St., Huron, S. Dak. 57350 (ph 605 352-6152; E-mail: shaz-darham@santel.net).

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2002 - Volume #26, Issue #3