Hooked in tandem, the Hay Handler swath consolidation and inverter implement concept on display at Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show in Woodstock, Ontario, in September was an eye catcher. Hay Handlers can help forage growers speed dry-down times and blend windrows for faster baling, according to co-inventor Glen Shantz.
“This is year six,” he says, about the time it has taken to get the Hay Handler market ready. “Last year was the first machine we sold.” Now, in partnership with Mar-Llo Fabricating in Forwich, Ontario, the Hay Handler is being marketed directly to farmers.
The idea behind the Hay Handler is to allow mower conditioners up to 13 feet to cut hay and leave it lying in the widest possible dispersion to further reduce drying times. Then, the pair of Hay Handlers with their wide pickups can lift the full widths of two mower-conditioner cuts of material and consolidate them into a single, standard windrow for every 26 feet of cut. And they do it in a gentle manner to preserve leaf material and, therefore, feed quality. Having larger windrows also saves time by reducing field passes.
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The hitch assemblies on the Hay Handlers function in the same way as those on most swing hitch mower conditioners, allowing for hydraulic adjustment from the tractor cab. The second machine couples to the first using a standard goose-neck, ball-hitch design common to farm trailers.
“A person can start off with one,” says Shantz, noting a grower can add a second Hay Handler at any time to get double cut width coverage in a single pass.
The conveyor belt section at the rear of a Hay Handler can be removed and replaced with a standard inverter chute, so it can also function as a rake and inverter in one. “We like to suggest if you buy one of these, you don’t need a hay rake anymore,” he adds.
Hay Handlers rely on hydraulic drive directly from the tractor’s system, rather than a PTO-driven pump on the implement like many mower conditions use. So a tractor will need to have a high enough flow rate to supply at least 13 gallons per minute per unit. Double that for the twin Hay Handler arrangement.
The pickups use 32-inch-wide draper belts similar to those on a combine pickup header, and Hay Handlers can be ordered in either three or four-belt configurations, giving their pickups either 96- or 128-inch widths.
Hay Handlers with 128-inch pickups retail for $26,500, or $55,000 for a twin unit. The 96-inch units retail for $1,000 less. They don’t yet have a dealer network. “We’re selling directly,” says Shantz. To find out more about the Hay Handler, call 866-909-2598 or send them an email.