Video: See why these contractors have moved to the ‘ball-and-spoon’
Safer, shunt-free towing in extreme conditions and 90% less hitch wear, compared to traditional hook and eye systems; these are some of the characteristics that Dromone Engineering (Oldcastle) boasts of its ball-and-spoon.
Darragh Rutledge, Rutledge Contractors, Lisburn, Co. Antrim, has been using the ball-and-spoon for the past year.
“I am really pleased with the system. I’ve been using it for a year. I can’t see myself going back to the old hook-and-eye.”
He added: “I’m using it on a silage wagon at the moment, but would like to expand it to my combi-baler and dump trailer.”
Darragh thinks that he has experienced less hitch wear since using the ball-and-spoon and that it has made the tractor and wagon run a lot smoother.
“Hitch wear is greatly reduced compared to the old system. We would usually have to take an eye off at least once a season to re-weld them. This is eliminated with the ball-and-spoon.
There is also much less shunting. On the combi-baler, the ball-and-spoon would really cut down on the shunting when the bale comes out of the chamber. I really appreciate how tight everything is.
Darragh would recommend the system to other farmers. He added: “It’s a safer system with much less maintenance. For heavier implements, like silage wagons, it’s a fit-and-forget solution that you won’t have to worry about.”
The extra expense pays off if you are doing heavier work, according to Darragh. He said: “If you put a value on your time, the fit-and-forget nature of the ball-and-spoon system ensures it would pay for itself relatively quickly.”
Using the ball-and-spoon across all machinery
Markus Fenton from Baltinglass, Co. Wicklow, has been a long-time advocate of the ball-and-spoon.
I think I must have one of the first ones going back to 2004. I saw the benefits of it early on.
“I’m using it across my full range of machinery – from spreaders to trailers. I must have 15 spoons and seven balls,” he added.
Like Darragh, Markus had less wear and tear on his machinery since starting to use the ball-and-spoon.
“The tractor linkage and hitch lasts so much longer, compared to a regular hook-and-eye system. The difference after a couple of years use is remarkable.
“Compared to the hook and eye, the ball-and-spoon means that there is less wear on hitch components which saves me money on tractor repairs,” he explained.
He continued: “There is also no shunting to speak of which makes it much more comfortable for the driver in the tractor.”
Where can you get the ball-and-spoon?
Distributed by Fastparts – the parts and components division of farm machinery distributor Farmhand – the product is available in: Whelans Garage (Loughrea and Ennis); Cliffords (Tralee); Jim Power Agri Sales (Tallow); Kellys (Borris); Kehoe Brothers (Camolin); Gordon Hegarty (Tullow); Mills Hydraulics (Mullingar); Garahy Tractors (Birr); and Clonmel Machinery, to name a few.