Get Your Hus­tle On

Hustler SF1250 silage wagon

Farms & Farm Machinery - - Contents -

Amal­ga­ma­tions and merg­ers have been part of busi­ness growth and pro­gres­sion since busi­ness first be­gan. This has cer­tainly been the case in farm­ing and agri­cul­tural machin­ery.

One of the lat­est merg­ers is the pur­chase of South Is­land­based Robert­son Man­u­fac­tur­ing by iconic New Zealand fam­ily busi­ness Hustler. And hot out of the South Is­land fac­tory is the Hustler SF1250 feed wagon, a solidly built and sim­ple-to-use ma­chine that com­bines the best in­ge­nu­ity from both com­pa­nies. The gleam­ing new Hustler SF1250 was de­liv­ered to Mata­mata for me to test, ac­com­pa­nied by Hustler mar­ket­ing man­ager

Brent Currie, who talked me through all the fea­tures.

Brent also brought a Hustler Swift Hitch, which made hook­ing up to the trac­tor a breeze with clear vis­i­bil­ity of the tow eye and pin. The fea­ture of be­ing able to lock the tow eye for con­nec­tion with a quick hitch is bound to save some frus­tra­tion.

Once hooked on, we headed down the road to the maize stack. The al­most 3-tonne weight (empty) was no­tice­able when we hit the hills, but this is a pos­i­tive, mean­ing it has plenty of steel and is built to last.

The 95 New Hol­land was big enough for the task; the job just took a bit longer com­pared to if we had a big­ger ma­chine.

With a load­ing height un­der 2m, a stan­dard farm size (80120hp) trac­tor is quite ad­e­quate for load­ing du­ties. If op­er­a­tors are a bit blasé with load­ing, re­place­able hun­gry boards along the edge of the bin are a fea­ture wor­thy of not­ing.

While the SF1250 is the small­est feed-out wagon in the Hustler range (the largest is a whop­ping 20 cu­bic me­tres load level ca­pac­ity), it still has a ca­pac­ity of 12.5 cu­bic me­tres.

If you hap­pen to be on a farm with small laneways and nar­row gates, you will need to make use of your mir­rors so you don’t re­move the smart, bright green paint job.

How­ever, these wag­ons do have strong tubu­lar bars to pro­tect the cru­cial el­e­ments of the ma­chine – the side feed con­veyor and me­chan­i­cal drive – and, hon­estly, you will do more dam­age to the fence than the wagon should the two hap­pen to meet. The re­mov­able mud­guards are made of the same strength tubu­lar steel with tread plate.

Al­though we only had maize to feed out for the test, the SF1250 was sim­ple to op­er­ate and fed well both in heaps and un­der fence lines to min­imise wastage.

One im­por­tant fea­ture I for­got to test was whether you could drive over elec­tric poly wires – a help­ful time saver. Brent in­forms me it has the largest ground clear­ance of any ma­chine here and can do so eas­ily when fit­ted with a fence hop­per kit.

OP­ER­A­TION

With only a dou­ble-act­ing hy­draulic valve re­quired to op­er­ate the floor, feed el­e­va­tor and side con­veyor, the sys­tem is hy­draulic load sens­ing, mak­ing the en­tire op­er­a­tion re­fresh­ingly sim­ple.

If by chance the op­er­a­tor does run the floor back­wards with a full load, the spring latch sys­tem on the door will open be­fore any dam­age is done.

The solid con­struc­tion (with mesh open­ing for vis­i­bil­ity) of the el­e­va­tor set up does make it dif­fi­cult to judge how much of the load you have left to feed if you were feed­ing to more than one mob of an­i­mals.

How­ever, the scales op­tion would over­come that is­sue and take the guess­work out of how much you need to load into the ma­chine for starters.

Safety is im­por­tant on farms and all Hustler wag­ons are fit­ted with safety chains in case some­thing should go wrong.

The side-mounted lad­der for ac­cess to the body of the wagon is mounted to the rear of the ma­chine, away from the feed el­e­va­tor to min­imise the chance of mishaps here.

If you are feed­ing baleage and hap­pen to drag too much over into the con­veyor area, the front grill can be re­moved to clear the block­age with­out en­ter­ing into the con­veyor/el­e­va­tor area with mov­ing parts.

DE­SIGN

The de­sign of a ma­chine is im­por­tant, and be­ing a lit­tle dif­fer­ent cer­tainly can of­fer some ben­e­fits. The Hustler SF1250 has a few de­sign fea­tures that set it apart from other brands.

One of these is the side-feed con­veyor rollers. The crowned rollers on this ma­chine are al­most twice the di­am­e­ter of those on other ma­chines, mean­ing belts don’t have to turn through as tight a cor­ner. This means less belt wear and track­ing off the rollers and ad­just­ment.

Slippage of the belt is also min­imised with the big­ger rollers. These al­low for the draw­bar to fit be­tween the top and bot­tom of the con­veyor, and for the frame/chas­sis of the wagon to be built di­rectly onto it.

This re­sults in greater strength and ground clear­ance from the tow hitch point to the front of the wagon. This is par­tic­u­larly use­ful when used in un­du­lat­ing/hilly ter­rain.

The os­cil­la­tion of the tan­dem axle also of­fers a great range of move­ment, aid­ing in sta­bil­ity in rougher ter­rain. Tyres can be cho­sen to suit your en­vi­ron­ment.

CON­STRUC­TION

The use of a 3mm full steel floor is one of my favourite fea­tures of the Hustler SF1250 wagon. I also like the fact that the floor slats are welded to the floor chains, which run along the edge of the body, as op­posed to more tra­di­tional bolt-on slats run­ning through chan­nels with wooden floors.

The lat­ter tend to rot out and break over time, re­quir­ing ex­tra re­pairs and main­te­nance.

The flat floor gives an ex­cel­lent clean-out of feed with only a small bit be­ing missed in the front just be­fore the feed el­e­va­tor. The feed el­e­va­tor does have prongs at a 45-de­gree an­gle on the edges to help drag through the likes of long chop feed.

The top of the el­e­va­tor feed drive axle has a cover and the bot­tom uses short stub axles to pre­vent things be­ing wrapped around them.

The body or tub of the Hustler wagon is welded steel with only one rib half way up to pro­vide ex­tra strength. There are no bolts, riv­ets, or other fas­ten­ings to come lose over time or for feed to catch on, again en­sur­ing a good clean out of feed ma­te­rial.

SER­VIC­ING

There are no blades to change or re­place like a mixer wagon, and the steel floor de­sign means main­te­nance on these wag­ons is mostly limited to check­ing tyre pres­sure and con­di­tion, ten­sions for the floor, and el­e­va­tor chains and con­veyor.

Greas­ing is the main job, like many ma­chines. Al­though not fit­ted on the test ma­chine, the Hustler can be spec­i­fied with cen­tral greas­ing point/s to make life eas­ier. Af­ter dis­cus­sion with Brent, I would agree that there is no sub­sti­tute for ac­tu­ally mak­ing sure the grease goes in the point you want it to.

The added ben­e­fit of this is that you are do­ing a more thor­ough in­spec­tion of the ma­chine, bear­ings, seals, etc, pos­si­bly pre­vent­ing dam­age oc­cur­ring that would oth­er­wise go un­no­ticed.

With these jobs ticked off, and the Hustler two-year war­ranty, your lo­cal agent shouldn’t need to see the ma­chine again for at least a decade when you trade it on a new one.

OP­TIONS

As a base ma­chine, you don’t get too many bells and whis­tles; just a ca­pa­ble ma­chine equipped to han­dle the ins and outs of daily farm life. Hustler re­alises that no two farms are the same and of­fers a range of ex­tras to suit in­di­vid­ual needs.

If you were us­ing your ma­chine be­tween dif­fer­ent prop­er­ties, the brakes and light­ing kits may be op­tions you would go for. The Swift Hitch and weigh scales would be my pick.

The wag­ons come load-cell ready and use a cylin­dri­cal load cell that han­dles chang­ing ground con­tours and loads with­out be­ing af­fected by twist­ing, side loads, or fa­tigue.

Weigh­ing of the load is pos­si­ble con­nected to the trac­tor or on the stand if the trac­tor is re­quired for both load­ing and feed­ing.

An­other op­tion is the Comby Spread, which can hold 75kg of dry prod­uct such as mag­ne­sium, lime flour or min­er­als, and will dis­pense these di­rectly onto the feed row, which min­imises wastage and saves time be­cause you don’t have to make an­other pass through the pad­dock.

THE BOT­TOM LINE

My con­clu­sion af­ter test­ing? I could find lit­tle to fault with the Hustler SF1250 wagon, which shows that good de­sign stands the test of time.

I would have been more than happy to leave the Hustler Swift Hitch on my trac­tor, and the new SF1250 Hustler wagon in my shed. It is far su­pe­rior to what I cur­rently have in ev­ery way, and would save me quite a few hours work.

My wagon? For some strange rea­son, Brent didn’t want to swap. He said some­thing about the scrap deal­ers not be­ing open on Mon­days!

1. Hustler’s new SF1250 side-feed silage

wagon feed­ing maize silage

2. The mas­sive con­struc­tion of the

os­cil­lat­ing axle set-up

3. Cov­ered drive shafts elim­i­nate

block­age

4. The heavy-duty drive sys­tem is

pro­tected by bumper bars

5. Huge drive roller in­creases longevity 6. More clear­ance makes feed­ing ma­te­ri­als such as fod­der beet eas­ier

Above: The jack de­sign al­lows it to be used as a quick hitch foot

Above: The SF1250 has a low load­ing height

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