Topsy Farms was able to make about 1750 large round hay bales this year, each weighing between 800 to 1000 lbs. Each one is plopped in the field where the baler rolled it out, so they are scattered over about 40 fields, varying from 3 to almost 70 acres.

All the bales have to come home.

Ian takes two wagons, hitched in tandem behind the tractor, to the field he’s about to clear.

His tractor, the Allis-Chalmers 185 cab loader, now with decent tires on the rear wheels, has two spikes in the front and tines in the rear, enabling him to pick up two hay bales at a time. First he reverses, lowering the tines, to pick up a hay bale in the back. Then he shifts to forward gear, raising the rear hydraulics. It is difficult (until one has done thousands) to line up the top spike centrally, at reasonable speed, aiming for the mid-point on the bale that can not be seen from the driver’s seat. The second smaller spike keeps the bale from spinning as the hydraulic arms lift the bale. The tractor then takes the two hay bales to the wagons, parked centrally in the field to minimize travel distance.

Gathering 2 bales

In position

Wagons almost loaded


The picture below shows that all fields are not conveniently flat.  The low swale Ian is travelling through, would bog him down in wet weather, so this field is high on the list for early clearance.