ON THE LAND Ute hay bale lifter takes the Corowa Market Report headache out of feeding out
A ute hay bale lifter designed to make feeding out round bales on the farm easier is an entry in the 2017 Henty Agri-Innovators Award.
Daysdale sheep producer Peter Mills came up with the idea of adapting a lifting frame to the tilt tray of his farm ute and operating it remotely.
“I don’t know how many stubbies and hours have been spent on it – it’s been through five stages of development,’’ Mr Mills said.
The Agri-Innovators Award is designed for farm inventors, backyard tinkerers and students.
The entries must meet the criteria of having a practical on-farm application, be based on an original idea of the entrant and not be in fullscale production at the time entry.
The entries will be judged on Wednesday, September 20 with the winner announced at The Stump at 11am.
Eighteen months ago, Mr Mills was driving home with a load of pea straw when his ute collided with a truck, leaving him with a serious spinal injury.
After rehabilitation, he had a tilt tray fitted to his new ute to make chores easier around the farm.
“When it was fitted I noticed it had a twoway hydraulic ram so thought I could use it for lifting,’’ he said.
A trip to the Henty field days last year gave him ideas of how to construct the lifting frame.
“I have been working on this prototype since Christmas with the help of Focus Engineering at Corowa,’’ he said.
Mr Mills said it was ideal for quickly feeding out hay without the need for a frontend loader or tractor fitted with forks.
Once the tailgate is removed, a swing-arm frame is bolted on, together with a support frame secured with a spring pin, and two pickup arms on the rear of the tray.
The support frame drops down behind the round bale to secure it.
The swing-arm frame is adjustable to cater for different sized round bales.
The ute is positioned close to the round bale and the support frame secured around it.
It is then hydraulically lifted onto the ute in a matter of 20 seconds using a hand held remote – the convex pick-up arms easily supporting the weight of the 350kg bale.
Mr Mills said the lifter frame takes only minutes to assemble.
“There are plenty of people with three or four properties keen on the concept as often the front end loader is tied up doing jobs when needed for feeding out,’’ he said.
“I showed it to a couple of blokes at the Daysdale pub and they wouldn’t believe I built it.
“I can’t find anything else similar to this on the market.’’
The lifter fits either a seven or eight foot long ute tray and will be fitted to a Falcon ute for display at Henty.
It can be also used for loading wool bales or 44-gallon drums.
Although this is Peter’s first entry in the Agri-Innovators Award, he has spent a lifetime modifying farm machinery.
“Thirty years ago there was not a machine on this property that was dead standard for more than six months,’’ he said.
“Everything got altered straight away – Dad always said if there was something which could be bettered, we should better it.’’
Corowa Market held on Monday, September 11 with 10,404 lambs yarded an increase of 1,986 from previous week and 5,056 sheep yarded an increase of 2,213.
Lamb numbers lifted and included 7,819 new season lambs.
The quality of the new season lambs was good with plenty of trade and heavy weights penned.
Old lambs were mixed and there were several good runs of heavy and extra heavy lambs penned.
A full field of buyers operated in a cheaper market.
New season lambs were $8 to $9 cheaper on the trade and heavy weights $12 to $14/head cheaper on the lighter 2 score lambs.
The 2 score lambs to 18kg sold from $104 to $115/head.
The medium and heavy trade weights ranged from $119 to $153/head.
Heavy new season lambs ranged between $140 and $170 with a few extra heavy lambs topping at $179/head. Carcass prices ranged from 580c to 620c/kg. Old trade lambs fell $9 and ranged from $111 to $136/head.
Heavy lambs were firm with supply limited and lambs sold from $124 to $164 with extra heavy lambs reaching $176/head.
Carcase prices ranged from 540c to 580c/kg on most.
Merino lambs sold to solid prices ranging from $110 to $123/head.
The best of the heavy hoggets reached $136/ head.
Mutton numbers lifted and quality was mixed with mostly ewes penned.
Prices were down by $10 to $12/head on most.
Medium weight ewes sold from $80 to $110/ head.
Heavy crossbred ewes made from $112 to $128/head. Merino wethers reached $123/head. Ewe carcass prices averaged 385c/kg.
Peter Mills invented the ute hay bale lifter to make feeding out round bales easier on-farm.
Harvey Benton From Corcoran Parker Wangaratta with Rex Benton from “Redhill” Springhurst who sold 22 new season lambs for $146.20.