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Haybus, Stinger make handling bales easier

Hauling hay may soon be easier, thanks to the efforts of two enterprising farmers. David Anderson of Burr Oak, Kan., and Chris Trumler of Rockville, northwest of Grand Island, have been perfecting two different inventions, known as a Haybus and a Hay Stinger, respectively.

Anderson created his hay bale retrieving and transporting machine from an old school bus to make his haying business more efficient. “I was hauling just a few bales at a time with the tractor, and I thought, ‘There’s got to be a better way,’ ” Anderson says.

Anderson drew up some plans, and a local Burr Oak handyman, the late Darrell McCorkle, did the welding for him. The first haybus was built for square bales and the second for round bales. Both buses use spring-loaded hydraulic arms to pick up bales, lift them straight up in the air and then deposit them on what Anderson calls the “table,” which is the ramp-like device installed above the cab, replacing the bench seats on a school bus. Each new bale pushes the line of bales down until they hit the stop at the end of the ramp.

To unload the bales, more hydraulics raise the table, allowing and the bales to slide off. The squeezing arms are more efficient than traditional hayforks because they don’t tear protective wraps on round bales, Anderson says.

“And you don’t have to be perfectly in line when you pick something up,” he adds. He added numerous changes to the square bale haybus since he conceived the idea more than five years ago. One important change was cutting off the bottom step on the bus’s door, which Anderson learned was too long when he had to dig himself out of the mud one day.

He has also improved on the original design with the haybus he fabricated for round bales. For that one, Anderson added a second engine just for the hydraulic lift. “It’s not fast enough with one.”

The second engine has enough power to run the hydraulics on idle speed. All of the hydraulics in both of the haybuses are operated from a switchboard inside the cab.

With the second haybus, which is faster due to its second motor, Anderson can pick up eight bales in 15 minutes. He can haul eight round bales, 12 3-by-3 square bales, or eight 4-by-4 bales on one load.

“It’s a prototype. It’s not perfect,” he says. The next improvement he plans is to add a back-up alarm that lets him know how close he is to objects behind him.

“The biggest problem I have is backing up to the bales and then stacking them,” Anderson says. “Looking at the mirrors, you don’t have depth perception.”

A versatile design

Anderson has a patent for his haybus, and he envisions it working as a kit, where the farmer chooses a vehicle that suits his or her needs and then installs the steel table structure and the hydraulic system onto that vehicle. Anderson’s design is so versatile that it can be added to a new vehicle or a used one, depending on a farmer’s budget. Its ability to be useful year-round for picking up bales in the summer or feeding livestock in the winter also adds to its versatility.

Anderson is a retired physical education teacher. “I have no background in engineering,” the 72-year-old Anderson says. “But I’ve learned quite a lot.”

Anderson can be reached at 785-647-6321 or at dsonhay@aol.com.

Kinley, a Kansas State University graduate student, is from Bladen. She interned at Nebraska Farmer last summer and wrote these two articles on her recent winter break.

Hay Stinger gets the job done

Chris Trumler’s Hay Stinger is another revolution in hay feeding.

“We were feeding cows that were 17 miles away, and it just took so long to drive there in a tractor,” says Tumler of Rockville. Trumler and his father, Franz, a retired shop teacher, began looking for a way to feed hay without a tractor and with less labor than pitching hay out of a pickup.

“We’ve kind of tinkered around with the idea for five years, and it took us about one and a half years to make a prototype,” Trumler says

They called the two-wheeled trailer that resulted a Hay Stinger. The name comes from the sharpened shaft that is pierced through the middle of the bale. After the trailer is backed up to a round bale and the “stinger” is in place, the stinger’s ends are attached to cables and winched onto the trailer.

To feed hay, the bale is dropped back to the ground and the forward momentum of the pickup unravels the bale. How easily the bar goes through the bale depends on how tightly the bale is wound. Trumler says sometimes he can shove it through himself; other times he has to drive it through with a sledgehammer.

“We’re trying to make improvements to make winching easier,” Trumler says. An electric winch could be added if an operator is unable to work the winch, though that would add more cost. The Stingers currently sell for about $1,000.

Trumler has an agreement with Baasch and Sons Welding from nearby Cairo, Neb., which has been building and selling the Hay Stingers through its dealerships.

Trumler recently won the Central Nebraska Business Idea Contest, sponsored by the Center for Rural Research and the University of Nebraska-Kearney. But more important to him than the buzz his patent-pending invention is getting is the way it has benefited his ranching operation. Trumler works full time as a meat grader for the USDA and says that his invention has had a great impact on his life.

“We can feed cows in 45 minutes when it used to take us three hours,” Trumler says. “I can still have cows and feel like I’m doing them justice because I have more time now. It has allowed me to be able to keep ranching and to keep working.”

Reach Trumler at 308-750-2100. A YouTube video about the Stinger is at www.youtube.com/watch?v=aN-9aYyCOyg.


02121525a.tifREBORN SCHOOL BUS: David Anderson designed two “Haybuses” — one for large square bales and one for round bales.

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OFF THEY GO: David Anderson’s Haybus has a ramp-like platform that when raised allows the bales to slide off.

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WINNING INVENTION: Chris Trumler’s Hay Stinger topped other entries in the recent Central Nebraska Business Idea Contest.

This article published in the February, 2012 edition of NEBRASKA FARMER.

All rights reserved. Copyright Farm Progress Cos. 2012.