2017 - Volume #41, Issue #4, Page #28[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
“Built To Last” Bale Rings Made From Plastic And Fiberglass
The one-piece bale ring measures 7 ft. 4 in. in dia., which Haugen says is 6 to 12 in. wider than most standard bale rings. “The extra space allows you to load two 4-ft. dia. bales into the ring side by side,” he says.
The bale feeder’s 3 rings are all made from 3 3/8-in. dia. polypropylene water line thermal-welded together into a single continuous ring. The rings are supported by vertical lengths of 1-in. dia. recycled oilfield fiberglass sucker rod covered by 1 1/4-in. dia. polypropylene water line. “The propylene keeps sunlight from splintering the fiberglass and getting into your hands or into the animal’s hide,” says Haugen.
The bottom of the bale ring is covered by a solid plastic skirt that uses stainless steel bolts on the lowest area where it touches the ground.
“I came up with the idea for a plastic and fiberglass bale ring because I couldn’t find any reasonably priced steel bale rings on the market that would last. I think most of the good plastic or fiberglass bale rings on the market are overpriced and I wanted something more affordable,” says Haugen, who raises cattle. “The thermal-welded plastic rings are really strong so you won’t have to worry about them coming apart. Plastic is a lot lighter than steel which makes my bale rings easy to move, and they won’t rust or rot.”
A Wisconsin company, Great River Irrigation in Tomah, welds the rings together for Haugen. They start with a 26-ft. long water line and put it on an 8-ft. dia. jig to bend it into a circle that’s welded together. “The company uses the same water line and welding system they use in the center pivot irrigation systems that they put together for local farmers,” says Haugen.
He says most commercial bale rings are bolted together. “You can take bolted-together bale rings apart, which is a great selling point for shipping. However, over time the rings will fall apart wherever they’re bolted together,” says Haugen.
One drawback to a one-piece bale ring is that it’s not easy to transport, admits Haugen. “However, once my bale rings get to the farm, they won’t fall apart and they’ll last forever. I have some prototype rings that are 6 years old but they still look great.”
Haugen sells his bale rings for $435 apiece provided you pick them up at his farm. “The cost of shipping a one-piece feeder is too high to make it practical,” he says.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Vance Haugen, Canton, Minn. 55922 (ph 507 459-0495; firstname.lastname@example.org).
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