In­no­va­tive bale lifter.

Dairy News Australia - - NEWS -

A UTE hay bale lifter de­signed to make feed­ing out round bales on the farm eas­ier may not have won the re­cent Henty Field days Agri In­no­va­tors Award but it has cer­tainly started peo­ple talk­ing. 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 full-scale pro­duc­tion at the time of en­try. Eigh­teen months ago Mr Mills suf­fered a se­ri­ous spinal in­jury in a road ac­ci­dent. 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 two-way hy­draulic ram so thought I could use it for lift­ing,” he said. A trip to the Henty field days last year gave him ideas about 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 the ute bale lifter was ideal for quickly feed­ing out hay with­out the need for a fron­tend loader or a 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 pick-up arms on the rear of the tray. The sup­port frame drops down be­hind the round bale to se­cure it. The swing-arm frame is ad­just- able to cater for dif­fer­ent sized round bales. The ute is po­si­tioned close to the round bale and the sup­port frame is se­cured around it. The bale is then hy­drauli­cally lifted onto the ute in a mat­ter of 20 sec­onds us­ing a hand held re­mote. Mr Mills said the lifter frame took just min­utes to as­sem­ble.

“Thirty years ago there was not a ma­chine on this prop­erty that was dead stan­dard for more than six months.”

“There are plenty of peo­ple with three or four prop­er­ties keen on the con­cept as of­ten the fron­tend loader is tied up do­ing jobs when needed for feed­ing out,” he said. “I can’t find any­thing else sim­i­lar to this on the mar­ket.” The lifter fits ei­ther a 2.13 m or 2.43 m 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 was Mr Mills’ first en­try in the Agri-In­no­va­tors Award, he has spent a life­time mod­i­fy­ing farm ma­chin­ery. “Ev­ery­thing got al­tered straight away. Dad al­ways said if there was some­thing which could be bettered, we should bet­ter it.”

The swing-arm frame is ad­justable to cater for dif­fer­ent sized round bales.

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