Hustler SL350 bale feeder
The Hustler SL350 bale feeder is making headway on a North Canterbury farm, helping increase production with its robustness and reliability
- Simple, robust and reliable
- Massive floor chain
- Bolt-on feed bars
- Greasable bearings on floor shafts
North Canterbury farmer Todd McBreen bought the first Hustler SL350 sold by Amberley dealer North Canterbury Equipment, and after three seasons and about 2000 bales, is well pleased with his purchase.
Feeding about 700 bales through the winter to 600 bulls on steepish wet country is a test for any feeder, and with three winters behind it, the only part required for the 2010 winter is a new latch.
A breakdown on his previous bale feeder bought about McBreens purchase of the SL350.
Having put up with breakdowns that started in its first season and with 600 hungry bulls to feed, McBreen was looking for a simple robust reliable feeder and decided to give the then newly released Hustler SL350 a run.
Three feed out seasons on he is pleased he made the change as the feeder has been very reliable, an important feature for this one-man operation.
He says that during the winter the feeder is a front line machine, and if he has a breakdown it means he is behind on both feeding out and shifting breaks. Knowing he has a reliable feeder makes the job so much easier, and of course, when he has happy, well fed bulls they can get on with their job of stacking on the beef.
The first thing that strikes me about the SL350 and its bigger sibling, the two-bale SL700, is the massive floor chain. This 12,000-pound rated chain is the biggest roller chain on any New Zealand-built feeder and the bolt-on feed bars should make it the strongest floor chain in the market.
The chains are at the outside of the feed bars, unlike McBreen’s old feeder, which had lighter chain and used to bend the feed bars at the end as the chains were set in from each end and allowed baleage to jam under the end of the bars.
The massive floor chain should last for the life of the feeder – it runs very smoothly on the big rollers, and the bolt-on feed bars mean that if you bend a bar it can be replaced without removing the chain.
Another feature that sets the SL350 apart is the latch that holds the feeder onto the forks. Set high up the fork frame, incorporated into the hydraulic motor mount, it takes the load off the tip of the forks, eliminating the cracked fork frame or broken tines that some other models suffer from. While not original to Hustler, the design is simple and well proven.
This style of latch also means that the 1" hardened drive dogs are properly meshed at all times and McBreen’s three-year old feeder shows very little wear in this area.
The feeder will take a 5’ wide bale. While more common in Australia, this is not a commonly feature available today.
A slight downside of this design is that the hydraulic motor drives direct into the feeder drive shaft unlike some other brands. However, because of its upgraded powerful 400cc motor, being direct drive is generally no problem.
The design of the feet on the feeder may also cause problems for some users, as they are shaped like a skid and the feeder would slide easily if you were not lined up properly when backing the forks into the feeder.
Other features of note are a bolt-in polyethylene floor to avoid rusting and forks that have the right-hand tine longer to make lining up the feeder easier.
Additional features available are bolt-on bars that allow a square to be fed, although patience is required, and a trough feeder model with a fold-up extension.
Also on the forks is a rub rail, which in conjunction with the back rail on the feeder, keeps the bale on the floor chain.
Read in-depth farm machinery reviews in the latest issue of Farm Trader magazine, on sale now.
See a range of used Hustler bale feeders for sale.
Bale size 4’x4’ to 6’x5’
Tare weight 460kg
Hyds required 1x DA remotes