The Boss Feeder Leader round bale feeder
Mark Fouhy visited Graham Law's Property south of Te Kuiti, where they are the proud owner of The Boss feeder leader round bale feeder. He discovered there were many factors considered before making the purchase. ]
When purchasing any new piece of machinery, generally it’s the initial cost or capital outlay for the machine that will be the key driver of your decision. As I’ve learnt over the years, there are many other key factors worth taking into consideration: reliability, ease of use for you and your farm workers, ongoing servicing costs, suitability, work-load capabilities and the expected life span.
Graham Law and his manager Denise Lupton carefully considered all these factors when looking to buy a round bale feeder to feed out 400 round bales this season. After much consideration they opted for The Boss Feeder Leader.
Given they have a small 60hp Landini tractor for feeding out, solid construction and build quality of the bale feeder was key, but the overall weight of 500kg was also important in their decision to purchase it. When loaded, it gives them approximately 1100kg on the rear, and another 600kg on the front, which is quite a good load for the size of the tractor. The design of The Boss Feeder Leader sits the machine quite close to the back of the tractor, keeping the weight on the back axle.
Denise plans to get the Hydraulic top link from the post rammer to allow her to alter the level of the bed of the feeder to help ensure bales are fed out evenly especially on hills. To make life easier, bales have been stacked strategically around the farm, near to where they need to be fed out, minimising cartage.
The bed on the Feeder Leader is a deep one, which keeps bales from escaping half way through feeding out. For a smaller operation I think it would hold close to 500-600kg of maize silage, (wet weight) allowing you to add magnesium on top, saving the need to purchase either another machine or a bigger one.
Made from high quality 3mm pressed steel, The Boss Feeder Leader also has a high-quality bright red paint job, which will unfortunately deteriorate in the feeder bed with the constant movement of bales. This will in no way affect the performance of the machine, but like all machines I would suggest putting it away in the shed when not in use. Other bale feeder brands I’ve used utilise a variety of material for the feeder bed, from polyethylene, zinc plated or stainless steel all of which wear better.
The slats used in the Feeder Leader are a thick box steel, with the bale feeding teeth welded onto them. The feed slats are then welded on to the strong solid pin, roller chain. Other models I’ve used have slats bolted onto the chain, which makes it easier to remove or replace them. But given the quality of the build, you shouldn’t have a problem with the Feeder Leader. The most likely place for damage to occur is either with rough loading or at gateways, but given the machine is only two metres wide, and most gates are three metres, this shouldn't be an issue either.
Mounting the bale feeder was easy enough, with the normal pins and two extra hydraulic hoses to be connected. An extra set of holes for pins for the lower arms could be a good addition to allow the feeder to be carried a little higher when travelling, which would keep it out of any deep tractor ruts that may eventuate over a wet winter. While travelling, I found The Boss Feeder Leader relatively smooth; it didn't rattle excessively or affect the ride of the tractor.
The removal connection of the bale bed from the tractor is easy with a single solid locking pin that works well. For re-mounting, the different length pins are an excellent idea when the feeder has been left on uneven ground, so you can lift/lower the feeder as need be to get the other pin in.
There is a good lip on the back of the feeder to help remove the bale from the forks as it is being loaded, but you do need to spear the bale with the forks about a third of the way from the bottom edge, to avoid damaging the feeder.
Feeding out can be done from either side, depending on which way your bale has been made. Altering the forward speed of the tractor and revs will determine how thick or thin a line of feed you will feed out. The mob size and/or stock class will affect your operation here.
Lupton's The Boss Feeder Leader does have the extra square bale bar attachments, but they are not presently fitted, and they don't have squares to feed out, so I did not have the opportunity see how well the feeder leader coped with these.
With the rubbish (recycling) that comes from each bale, I would like to see the addition of a box for the collection of this waste.
There is a wide selection of round bale feeders on the market to choose from, each with their own individual stand-out features and selling points. However when it comes to price, those available in New Zealand are all of a fairly similar price, so it all comes down to the individuals preference. Having seen an earlier model of The Boss Feeder Leader being operated for about 10 years, and some several thousand bales being fed out on her parents farm, Denise had a good idea of what to expect from her Feeder Leader, and so far her expectations have been met. In my opinion The Boss Feeder Leader is a great buy because it’s low maintenance with only four grease nipples on the whole machine and it’s built tough with heavy duty forks that are different lengths making it easy to load bales especially on hills. For simple no fuss, easy, reliable operation, I would recommend this bale feeder to any farmer working on the hills.
- Only four grease nipples on the whole machine to grease
- Four replaceable molybushes on the drive chain system
- Strong heavy-duty forks, of different lengths, to make for easier guiding in/mounting of the bale feeder onto the tractor, very helpful when loading a second bale onto the machine, when there is no flat spots in the paddock.
- Drive shaft is completely enclosed to prevent issues with feed wrapping around it.
- Hydraulic motor is direct drive, eliminating extra parts to wear.
- Simplicity/ease of operation
- Tough, rugged design with many units sold and in service and no warranty claims – pretty impressive!
- No string box for bale wrap/string waste collection
For the latest reviews, subscribe to our Farm Trader magazine here.