Duncan Ag SLR two-bale feeder

By: Jaiden Drought, Photography by: Jaiden Drought


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The SLR two-bale feeder is part of a new range of feeding equipment from Duncan Ag. Featuring a side-chain feeder, the model feeds rounds and squares quickly and effectively.

Duncan Ag SLR two-bale feeder
Duncan Ag SLR two-bale feeder
  • Feeds both square and round bales effectively
  • Simple design and few moving parts makes for easy maintenance
  • Two-stage loading forks secure bale
  • Tilting cradle
  • Wide axle for stability on hills

Duncan Ag has a new range of feeding equipment, including the ECO feeder and the SLR two-bale feeder – both designed with a side-chain feeder that rips the bales apart.

The SLR was designed and built from the ground up by the team at Duncan Ag with the mandate that it must feed squares successfully. It’s produced a machine that can feed squares very effectively, but also feeds rounds better than the shredder models, as the side elevator is very aggressive at ripping those stubborn cores apart.

Loading forks

To me this is the "make-or-break" feature of a two-bale feeder because if it’s a pig to load then you might as well save your money and stick to your single-bale feeder. This is not the case with the Duncan, and I feel it’s the best individual feature of the machine. The loading forks have two individual rams that work together in a two-stage, sequence-controlled manner to allow the bale to be securely flipped onto the machine and then held above the tray where you can safely cut the sting/netwrap.

Once the bale is lowered on to the tray the bottom ram sucks in, allowing the forks to be pulled straight back, then flip over, ready to load the next bale. This excellent design works very well, though I feel a small tweak would make it much better.

As the forks exit the round bale it has a curved pipe on the elevator side of the tipping cradle. The side of the bale hits this pipe and slides off the forks, causing the other side to grab on the prong. The twists the bale and it sticks on the forks, without any way of getting it off.

I had to take the machine off the tractor so I could remove the bale off the forks with the loader. This may have been because they were tightly packed bales, but no matter where the prongs entered the bale (either in the middle or the side) the same problem occurred every time.

To stop this happening I’d suggest a small ‘foot’ pipe on the back left of the cradle. It wouldn’t need to be very high and only about 12" long, but it would assist both round and square bales without affecting the functionality of the loading forks.

Tilting cradle

This works very well and the side elevator is savage at tearing the bales apart. The speed of the chains is determined by the flow of hydraulic remote from the tractor. The test machine used a diverter valve so when the cradle was lifted off the chassis, the chains went, disabling the rear forks.

The standard machine doesn’t have this feature: instead there are three, separate SCV requirements. Because most farmers don’t have a tractor with a large number of outlets, this feature is an optional extra, eliminating the need for a third remote.

In conjunction with the ability to adjust the speed of the chains, the cradle tilts, allowing you to adjust how quickly the bale is fed. The other positive feature about the aggressive tynes on the elevator is it fluffs up the feed which leaves it in a nice windrow, cutting wastage.

An anti-wrap guard protects the hydraulic motor from that long, rank grass and rogue pieces of netwrap. All the main grease points for the elevator are well-located with easy access, helping to extend the machine’s lifetime.

The chains themselves have hardened plastic guides that keep them on the sprockets, and chain tensioning is done easily with a bolt on either side.

Another plus for the cradle is a loop fitted on the underside, allowing you to place the big square on the cradle, keep it together and then cut the strings off and tie them to the loop. As the bale is fed out the stings stay untangled under the bale which means you don’t have to lug them out before you start feeding. An extension for the left hand side is available to comfortably accommodate those big 8ft bales.

The only negative of the tilting cradle is that it only feeds the one side. This moves all the weight to that side, and when you don’t have a bale on the back this could present a danger on slopes.

Wide axle spacing

The rear axle’s 2.2m spacing promotes added stability on the hills while keeping the overall width of the machine to a minimum. To be fair if you are on a hill you are not likely to tilt the machine right over – the elevator does a good job sitting flat, and used with some common sense the machine should to be very stable on the hills.

Other notable features

Position indicator
A position indicator is linked to the loading forks. It slides over a large yellow indicator sticker on the chassis, and is easily seen from the cab. This is particularly useful for loading the second bale, when you are literally "backing" by feel.

High quality finish
Duncan machinery is built to a very high standard and looks smart with a heavy-duty, powder-coated finish. This machine is damn near indestructible, with everything engineered to handle the punishment meted out to bale feeders. All the extras have been beefed up – high tensile bale forks for added strength and large rams that could power a D8.

Minimal moving parts
The beauty of the single-side elevator (with no floor chains needed to move the bale) is also a function of its fewer moving parts. That means easy maintenance (all pivot points are bushed and easily greased) – ideal for when staff are involved in maintenance.

The verdict

I was very impressed with the aggressive way the side elevator tears the bales apart, yet doesn’t just "throw" the core over. Instead it keeps climbing the elevator until it is completely unrolled. If a small piece of pipe was added to the rear of the cradle to stop the bale pulling back the rear loading forks would work in perfect form. Ease of maintenance and strong build are two big requirements for this type of machine. In the SLR you have a win-win situation – simple to maintain and hard to break!

See Duncan feeders for sale.

Specifications

Length 5475mm
Width 2910mm
Height 2250mm
Weight (unladen) 1275kg
Max round bale size 6ft
Max square bale size 6ft x 6ft x 8ft long

Duncan Ag

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