Disease for design: A Kilkenny man and his ‘clever’ bale collecting trailer

“I suppose you could say I have a ‘disease for design’. It’s not uncommon that I would be in the workshop until three or four in the morning – some people would say I’m mad – but that’s just the way it is.”

These were the words of Kilkenny dairy farmer Tom Carrigan, who claims to have invented a unique bale collecting trailer – capable of loading 16 bales in 10 minutes.

Yesterday (November 1), AgriLand published news that the Andersons Group – from Quebec, Canada – will shortly launch what it describes as its “unique bale collecting trailer”.

Also Read: Video: Is this the best way to load and carry wrapped bales?

It can apparently pick up wrapped round bales from the field (on the move) with “no risk of damaging the wrapping”.

However, Carrigan claims to have designed a similar prototype – before the aforementioned Andersons version.

His unit, he says, was manufactured specifically for Irish conditions and scooped the National Ploughing Championships innovation award in 2016.

Let’s take a closer look

The trailer is 5.3m long and 2.8m wide; the unladen weight is 6t. It is coupled to the tractor via a standard hitch.

It sits on a “heavy-duty” double-axle and is fitted with flotation tyres to spread the weight, in what can only be described as challenging conditions here in Ireland.

“I have thought about a tri-axle version, which would facilitate 24 bales. However, I reckon it would be too awkward for Irish circumstances – small yards and narrow gaps.

That’s the beauty of it – it is easily managed and easily maintained.

When the tractor and trailer approach the bale, the hydraulic grab picks up the bale and places it onto the trailer. It apparently can lift it without scuffing it on the ground – thus reducing the risk of damaging the wrapping film.

Bales

When a second bale is added, a double-bale handler (with a lift capacity of 4t) lifts the two bales up and allows two more to be added. When four bales have been placed on the trailer, the sliding ram pushes the bales back along the roller floor.

bales

The telescopic sides facilitate any size bale, as they can move in and out hydraulically. Unloading takes approximately five minutes – the trailer can tip up and leave eight bales standing on the flat in “tight or narrow” yards.

bales

‘Bale-grippers’ located on the telescopic sides, supported by hydraulic rams, hold bales in place as the operator moves from bale to bale. They also hold the bales in place during the unloading process.

“They are useful when loading straw, where the bales are lighter. Tillage fields can be bumpy, especially if the operator has a heavy boot,” he laughed.bales

In the cab, the trailer is controlled via a ‘digi-device’ control box. It has two joysticks – one for controlling the lift-arm and the other for controlling the double-bale lift and push-back ram. A series of buttons control the tipping operation, bale grippers and telescopic sides.

bales

“Farmers don’t want to draw in bales anymore – they want the whole process done for them – grass mowed; baled; wrapped; bales brought in and stacked – that’s the way it’s gone.

“A few contractors in my local area have taken the trailer out on trial – they find it hard to go back to the old way – or even get annoyed when I ask for it back,” he concluded.