Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Moving Big Round Bales - No The Bigger Ones this time.
So I asked my neighbor to drop off a couple of round bales for the sheep the other day. I am not quite sure how he manages to always show up exactly at the precise time I happen to be gone but he always does. It's like I can spend an entire week not leaving the farm at all and the minute I finally do like magic he shows up.
So to make a long story short of course he didn't put them where I wanted them.
Now I know farmers take a certain pride in how tight they roll up their bales and if you ask em they usually over estimate the actual weight by at least 200 pounds per bale and he claims these bales weigh in at about 1200 pounds. I know I was moving the 6 to 800 pound bales around fairly easy with the 861 tractor but the top weight limit on that PTO is suppose to be 1000 pounds.
Do I want to risk it?
After thinking about it a few days I finally decided I didn't. I am not sure how good the seals are on the 861 and even those 800 pound bales were lifting the front end off the ground pretty good when I moved them. The last thing I want is to pop a seal and have hydraulic fluid all over the barn lot. I thought about calling my neighbor and asking him to stop by and move em for me on his way passed the place. He drives by on his tractor at least three or four times a day as it is, but that would be like admitting I was beaten. All these guys like to chuckle at my old timey way of doing things as it is.
Then determination set in. I was going to figure out how to move these bales on my own no matter what.
They needed to be rolled about 20 yards closer to the sheep pens and they needed to be flipped on their flat side so I could fork hay off em easier until they get down to a more manageable weight.
I looked at my available resources.... I had two tractors....
One with a bale spike on the back and the other 8N with a 6 foot blade on it....
I had a chain....
And a Big honkin bolt about 14 inches long....
No pictures I guess.
I used the 8N since the blade was already on it. I then backed into a bale with the blade just low enough that it was under the curve of the round bale. As long as I kept the smooth part of the blade on the bale and didn't let the middle adjustment part hit I could actually push the round bale without hanging up. It took a bit of practice but I managed to actually maneuver the round bales right into the position I wanted.
Now to flip em over.
I unwound the chain off the blade, backed around to the side of the bale and tossed the chain over. Then above the center section of the bale at the top I hammered the big honkin bolt into the bale and hooked the chain on. After that it was just a matter of pulling forward with the little 8N and pulling the bale over onto it's side right up close to the sheep pens.
I had quite the audience for this long drawn out affair to say the least and since I was moving food closer they were cheering me on the whole time. They couldn't clap but they did BAAAAAAA their appreciation.
I don't really know if those bales were above my weight class or not but I do know that unlike the smaller, looser 6 to 800 pound ones I normally use I couldn't really budge these by hand at all. Unusually I can pretty much roll the smaller ones anywhere I want on flat ground and even sometimes tip em over by hand if I have good traction. These larger ones though laughed at me when I hit even an un-noticed wheel rut.
The real trick to this was finding the sweet spot that allowed the bales to roll over the smooth section of the blade without catching on it and lifting it up while rolling. With bales this size I may not need to do this again before the grass starts growing but we will see.
Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!