Back of Ute hay bale lifter takes the headache out of feeding out

A hay bale lifter that attaches to the back of a Ute has been designed to make feeding out round bales a quick and easy exercise.

Daysdale NSW 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.

It all started eighteen months ago, Peter 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 replacement Ute to make jobs 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. I have been working on this prototype since Christmas with the help of Focus Engineering at Corowa NSW,’’ he said.

Peter said it was ideal for quickly feeding out hay without the need for a front-end 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 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 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. 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,’’ Peter said.

The lifter fits either a seven or eight foot long Ute tray. It can be also used for loading wool bales or 166-litre (44-gallon) drums.

The Ute hay bale lifter is an entry in the Agri-Innovators Award at the Henty Field Days held from Tuesday 19 until Thursday the 21 September 2017.