Is this the future of bale transport in Ireland?
Laois-based machinery dealer BMS (Bailey Machinery Sales) has just taken delivery of a unique bale trailer designed by Northern Irish manufacturer SlurryKat – ahead of this year’s National Ploughing Championships in Tullamore, Co. Offaly.
BMS was recently appointed as SlurryKat’s main dealer in the Republic of Ireland. The arrival of this new bale trailer is the “next phase in this partnership”.
SlurryKat itself is not only a manufacturer but also operates an agricultural contracting and plant hire business, which doubles as a testing ground for its new designs and prototypes – ahead of being released onto the market.
This new bale trailer, according to the company, is an example of how its “hands-on” knowledge of actually working with machinery in the field has been applied to the design process.
Starting from the ground up, the trailer sits on 550/45 R22.5 tyres; other sizes can be specified. The rims are fitted to “high-speed axles”, apparently to “maximise braking efficiency and safety” – regardless of the towing tractor’s speed capability.
To further boost its safety credentials, side crash bars are fitted along with “high-visibility” markings and an LED lighting package (including a rear-facing warning strobe beacon).
The axles are mated to a commercial spring suspension system which, in turn, is fitted to a full-length RHS box-section chassis. Alternatively, a rocking beam (bogie) suspension system is available as an option.
At the front, an adjustable stand keeps the trailer level in the field when loading; there’s also a double-coil sprung drawbar, plus a “high-tensile” towing ring. The increasingly popular spoon-type hitch (to fit a ball coupling on the tractor) is available as an option.
Completing the package are rear mud-flaps and a galvanised toolbox. The latter provides storage space for all sorts of odds and ends. Usefully, it’s lockable.
Up top is where all the action is. The trailer’s party piece is its bale clamping system. This consists of full-length, galvanised steel “clamps” on each side of the trailer.
Each so-called clamp lowers and raises hydraulically; this is all controlled from inside the tractor’s cab. The idea is that you lower the clamp down when loading bales; once all are safely on-board, the clamps are raised back up into the “locked” transport position – thereby clamping the bales securely in place.
Each side can be controlled independent of the other and locks in place hydraulically, courtesy of a “stop-lock” valve (which requires hydraulic pressure to release).
This clamping system, according to SlurryKat, does away with the need to strap down the load. This, it claims, ultimately saves time and boosts safety.