Test: Hustler SF1250

By: Mark Fouhy

Test: Hustler SF1250 Test: Hustler SF1250
Test: Hustler SF1250 Test: Hustler SF1250
Test: Hustler SF1250 Test: Hustler SF1250
Test: Hustler SF1250 Test: Hustler SF1250
Test: Hustler SF1250 Test: Hustler SF1250
Test: Hustler SF1250 Test: Hustler SF1250
Test: Hustler SF1250 Test: Hustler SF1250
Test: Hustler SF1250 Test: Hustler SF1250
Test: Hustler SF1250 Test: Hustler SF1250
Test: Hustler SF1250 Test: Hustler SF1250
Test: Hustler SF1250 Test: Hustler SF1250
Test: Hustler SF1250 Test: Hustler SF1250
Test: Hustler SF1250 Test: Hustler SF1250

FTM checks out the newly launched Hustler SF1250 side feed silage wagon

Amalgamations and mergers have been part of business growth and progression since business first began. This has certainly been the case in farming and agricultural machinery.

One of the latest mergers in New Zealand is the purchase of South Island-based Robertson Manufacturing by iconic New Zealand family business Hustler. And hot out of the South Island factory is the Hustler SF1250 feed wagon, combining the best ingenuity from both companies, who together boast more than a century of experience.

Hastings-based Hustler Equipment has notched up an impressive number of industry firsts and is dedicated to rediscovering better ways to do everyday tasks. With the merger, Hustler is now able to offer the widest range of feed out equipment, which includes almost everything a New Zealand farmer may require for handling a wide variety of feed supplements in different conditions.


The gleaming new Hustler SF1250 was delivered to Matamata for me to test and accompanied by Hustler marketing manager Brent Currie, who talked me through all the features.

The solid built and simplicity of use are two key factors as to why these side feed wagons (originally by Don Robertson and now tweaked and manufactured by Hustler) are the wagon of choice for many big corporate farms and Landcorp.

Brent also brought a Hustler Swift Hitch, making hooking up to the tractor a breeze with clear visibility of the tow eye and pin. The feature of being able to lock the tow eye for connection with a quick hitch is bound to save some frustration. Once hooked on, we headed down the road to the maize stack.

The almost three-tonne weight (empty) was noticeable when we hit the hills, but this is a positive, meaning it has plenty of steel and is built to last. The 95 New Holland was big enough for the task; the job just took a bit longer compared to if we had a bigger machine.

With a loading height under two metres, a standard farm size (80–120hp) tractor is quite adequate for loading duties. If operators are a bit blasé with loading, replaceable hungry boards along the edge of the bin are a feature worthy of noting.

While the SF1250 is the smallest feed out wagon in the Hustler range (the largest is a whopping 20m3 load level capacity), it still has a capacity of 12.5m3.

Hustler -sf -10

If you happen to be on a farm with small laneways and narrow gates, you will need to make use of your mirrors so you don’t remove the smart, bright green paint job. However, these wagons do have strong tubular bars to protect the crucial elements of the machine – the side feed conveyor and mechanical drive – and honestly, you will do more damage to the fence than the wagon should the two happen to meet.

The removable mudguards are made of the same strength tubular steel with tread plate. Although we only had maize to feed out for the test, the SF1250 was simple to operate and fed well both in heaps and under fence lines to minimise wastage. One important feature I forgot to test was whether you could drive over electric poly wires; a helpful time saver. Brent informs me it has the largest ground clearance of any machine here and can do so easily when fitted with a fence hopper kit.

My conclusion after testing? I would have been more than happy to leave the Hustler Swift Hitch on my tractor, and the new SF1250 Hustler wagon in my shed. It is far superior to what I currently have in every way and would save me quite a few hours work. My wagon? For some strange reason, Brent didn’t want to swap. He said something about the scrap dealers not being open on Mondays!   


With only a double acting hydraulic valve required to operate the floor, feed elevator, and side conveyor, the system is hydraulic load sensing making the entire operation refreshingly simple. If by chance the operator does run the floor backwards with a full load, the spring latch system on the door will open before any damage is done.

With more people feeding fodder beet, clearance between the floor and feed elevator has been increased to reduce the impact on the cross conveyor. If you do intend to feed fodder beet, you can specify a chain and slat side elevator over the standard rubber cleated belt, which will throw feed a bit further and in theory last as long as the floor.

The solid construction (with mesh opening for visibility) of the elevator set up does make it difficult to judge how much of the load you have left to feed if you were feeding to more than one mob of animals. However, if you were to go for the scales option, that would overcome that small issue and take the guesswork out of how much you need to load into the machine for starters. Safety is important on farms and all Hustler wagons are fitted with safety chains in case something should go wrong.

The side-mounted ladder for access to the body of the wagon is mounted to the rear of the machine, away from the feed elevator to minimise the chance of mishaps here. If you are feeding baleage and happen to drag too much over into the conveyor area, the front grill can be removed to clear the blockage without entering into the conveyor/elevator area with moving parts.


The design of a machine is important, and being a little different certainly can offer some benefits. The Hustler SF1250 has a few different design features that set it apart from other brands. One of these is the side feed conveyor rollers. The crowned rollers on this machine are almost twice the diameter of those on other machines, meaning belts don’t have to turn through as tight a corner. This means less belt wear and tracking off the rollers and adjustment.

Hustler -sf -2

Slippage of the belt is also minimised with the bigger rollers. The use of the larger roller system allows another unique feature of these wagons to come about. Because of the bigger roller, the drawbar is able to fit between the top and bottom of the conveyor and provide the frame/chassis of the wagon to be built directly onto it, allowing design strength as well as greater ground clearance from the tow hitch point to the front of the wagon. This is particularly useful when used in undulating/hilly terrain. The oscillation of the tandem axle also offers a great range of movement aiding in stability in rougher terrain. Tyres can be chosen to suit your environment.


The use of a 3mm full steel floor is one of my favourite features of the wagon along with the floor slats being welded to the floor chains, which run along the edge of the body as opposed to more traditional bolt-on slats running through channels with wooden floors. These tend to rot out and break over time requiring extra repairs and maintenance.

The flat floor gives an excellent clean out of feed with only a small bit being missed in the front just before the feed elevator. The feed elevator does have prongs at a 45-degree angle on the edges to help drag through the likes of long chop feed. The top of the elevator feed drive axle has a cover and the bottom uses short stub axles to prevent things being wrapped around them.

The body or tub of the Hustler wagon is welded steel with only one rib half way up to provide extra strength. There are no bolts, rivets, or other fastenings to come lose over time or for feed to catch on, again ensuring a good clean out of feed material.  


There are no blades to change or replace like a mixer wagon, and the steel floor design means maintenance on these wagons is mostly limited to checking tyre pressure and condition, tensions for the floor, and elevator chains and conveyor.

Greasing is the main job, like many machines. Although not fitted on the test machine, it can be specified with central greasing point/s to make life easier. After discussion with Brent, I would agree that there is no substitute for actually making sure the grease goes in the point you want it to.

The added benefit of this is that you are doing a more thorough inspection of the machine, bearings, seals, etc, possibly preventing damage occurring that would otherwise go unnoticed. With these jobs ticked off and the Hustler two-year warranty, your local agent shouldn’t need to see the machine again for at least a decade when you trade it on a new one.


As a base machine, you don’t get too many bells and whistles; just a capable machine equipped to handle the ins and outs of daily farm life. Hustler realises that no two farms are the same and offer a range of extras to suit individual needs.

If you were using your machine between different properties, the brakes and lighting kit may be options you would go for. The Swift Hitch and weigh scales would be my pick.

The wagons come load cell ready and use a cylindrical load cell that handles changing ground contours and loads without being affected by twisting, side loads, or fatigue.

Weighing of the load is possible connected to the tractor or on the stand if the tractor is required for both loading and feeding.

Hustler -sf -12

Another option is the comby spread, which can hold 75kg of dry product, such as magnesium, lime flour, or minerals and will dispense these directly onto the feed row, minimising wastage and saving time by not making another pass through the paddock.

The comby spreader is another of Don Robertson’s patented designs and ideas, which remains a winner for Hustler.


I could find little to fault with the Hustler SF1250 wagon, which shows that good design stands the test of time.

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