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Big Bale Cradle Fits Most Running Gears
You can haul up to eight big bales at a time on a running gear you already own by equipping it with a "big bale cradle," developed by Minnesota farmer Leon Reincke, of Lake City.
"I've used it for big bales the past three years and find it's also handy for hauling other things, such as lumber, posts or pipe. In addition to big bales, it'll also haul conventional bales. What's more, the cradle's sides can be positioned vertically to turn the unit into a big bale self-feeder," Leon points out.
It cost him $500 for material to make the cradle. "That's about one-fourth of what they were asking three years ago for a factory-made big bale transport I looked at and it only carried six bales."
To haul big bales, Leon takes the box off a heavy-duty running gear with his tractor loader.
He then uses his loader to set the cradle on the trailer. The cradle's bottom is made up of two square pole barn poles which set lengthways inside the bolsters.
The cradle, fastened down with four bolts, has hinged sides, each of which are raised and lowered by a 3 by 10 in. hydraulic cylinder which runs off the towing tractor's hydraulics. Leon uses his tractor loader to load big bales onto the cradle. Individual bales are loaded alternately on each side to keep weight on the trailer balanced. When he gets to where he wants to unload, he activates the cylinder to drop all four bales on one side, and then the four bales on the other side.
"On level ground, I can drive indefinetly with only four bales on the one side without worrying about the load tipping to one side," he points out.
His cradle sets on a trailer with a 72 in. wheelbase and 11:00 by 15 tires."Stability on uneven ground would be better if the cradle was mounted on a trailer with a wheelbase of 80 or more inches," says Leon. "I thought about turning the wheels around to increase the wheelbase but decided weight of the load might be too much for the wheel bearings."
Although he has only hauled eight big bales at a time (four on each side), Leon notes that, with an extra heavy duty running gear, a center tier of four bales could be loaded onto the cradle for a total of 12 big bales.
To unload, Leon manually hooks snap-coupler hoses from the cylinder on one side to the tractor, then activates that cylinder to lower the side and roll off the four bales. He then reconnects the hoses to unload the opposite side. Manually operated hooks hold the "loaded" side up while the opposite side is being unloaded via the cylinder. "You could put a tee into the line so the cylinder operating each side can be operated independently and without having to move the hoses," Leon points out.
The cradle itself is 24 ft. long. It's floor is made of 2 by 8's spaced 3 in. apart on channel iron (3 in. side) cross member supports. Double strength pipe (3 in. dia.) was used to build the hinged sides of the cradle.
When empty, the cradle sides can be tilted in so the tractor itself is the widest part going down the road.
Leon would like to compare notes with manufacturers interested in producing his "cradle" commercially. Meanwhile, he has "tooled up" to custom build the unit in his own farm shop for interested farmers and ranchers.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Leon Reincke, Rt. 2, Lake City, Minn. 55041 (ph 612 3454661).


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1983 - Volume #7, Issue #2