One person can haul a big square bale to pasture and then flake it apart with this new trailer-mounted bale flaker/feeder invented by rancher Terry Atkins of Visalia, Calif. It was introduced at the recent World Ag Expo in Tulare, Calif.
The hydraulic-operated flaker/feeder is designed to feed 3 by 3-ft. or 3 by 4-ft. big square bales. It comes with a self-contained electro/hydraulic pump, which operates off the vehicle’s 12-volt battery, and a handheld wireless remote. The trailer’s tongue is fitted with a 2-in. ball hitch, allowing the unit to be pulled by any pickup or utility vehicle. A hydraulic-operated flaker blade on back slices down through the bale to feed it out one flake at a time.
An electric winch or loader tractor can be used to load the bale onto the trailer. To feed the bale, you first hydraulically raise the trailer floor to the desired angle, which causes the bale to slide back against a pair of stop arms as soon as the sliced flake falls off.
“It’s a great way to flake and feed big square bales, because it saves on physical labor and associated costs and is trailer-mounted so it doesn’t tie up a vehicle,” says Atkins. “It’ll flake and spread a big bale in less than 10 minutes. Also, there’s no need to remove the strings.”
The unit comes with an electric winch that can be used to retrieve a bale from the pulling vehicle, such as a flatbed truck, and load it onto the flaker/feeder trailer after the first bale has been fed out. The size of the flake can be adjusted by changing the position of a pin on the stop arms.