Hustler Chainless Balefeeder

By: Terry Stevenson, Photography by: Terry Stevenson

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The Hustler Chainless 4000 Balefeeder is a Kiwi success. Its low-maintenance design means farmers can feedout all winter without any downtime.

Hustler Chainless Balefeeder
Hustler Chainless Balefeeder
  • Extra wide wheel track
  • Feeds out both square and round bales
  • Can carry twice its weight
  • Low maintenance

Farmers know a good design when they see one, and so did Hustler when it spotted Taranaki engineer Michael Bloeman’s balefeeder at the Fieldays inventions stand in 1997.

Hustler bought and developed Michael’s idea, then patented the design and after a number of modifications, has sold more than 2000 units in New Zealand and around the world.

First launched in 1999, the Hustler Chainless 4000 Balefeeder is the current series four version.

A key feature of the Chainless 4000 trailed balefeeder is the lack of chains to rotate the bale, which typically have high wear rates and require considerable maintenance.

Hustler also provides the advantage of a pair of self-cleaning reverse rotation rotors. The lower rotor turns a third of the speed of the top rotor and out in the paddock I could easily see how well it rotated the bale and fluffed up the feed then laid it down evenly.

Performance and handling

Hangawera Station farm manager Ian Mathieson is on his third generation Hustler bale feeder. From his point of view stability is king. During winter, supplement is fed out along the ridges where there’s little space to turn, yet he finds it’s less of a problem with the Hustler Chainless 4000 Balefeeder because of its extra wide 2.1m wheel track.

Both square and round bales are used without hassle or changing anything.

The Chainless 4000 Balefeeder requires a 12 to 60L/min hydraulic (double acting) flow rate to operate the rear loading arm. For safety reasons the hydraulics are routed through a diverting valve in such a way that you only need two remotes to independently run either the self loader, the platform or feeding drums.

The loading arm is unique in that the bale is securely spiked by the rear tynes and then turned through 180° before coming to rest at a point just above the main platform. The driver watches a scale at the front of the Hustler where he can set the auto-latch point to hold the bale at his preferred height so they can easily remove the bale wrapping. The bale is then gently lowered onto the platform. The loading arm becomes ready to spike the next bale allowing you to take two bales into the paddock, with one in the breach ready to go.

Because of this system I saw no banging and crashing, which is why after 5000 hours the Hustler is still going as good as new.

Mathieson says a key feature of the Hustler is its ability to hold the bale at any point in order to unwrap it or take the net off.

"The thing about piercing the bale is that you don’t always have to be accurate, it will always work, and it will never roll off on the hills."

Weighing 950kg, the implement can safely carry twice its own weight around hills.

Perhaps the biggest advantage gained from using a bale feeder strong enough to carry a pair of up to 1000kg oversize round silage bales is that Mathieson is able to put more stock in each paddock. This is because he can deliver a couple of small bales worth of additional silage into each paddock.

In turn, the extra feed per oversize bale has allowed more stock to be carried in each paddock, in the Hereford bulls case, from 45 to 55.

Hangawera Station gets extremely wet in winter, making it slippery going around the hills when feeding out. The clay-base soil also means a heavy silage wagon would get stuck, so overall the Hustler Chainless 4000 Balefeeder has proved to be not only the most reliable feeder, but also the best all-round option.

See a range of Hustler balefeeders for sale.

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