Its speed of feeding out and ability to handle all types of bales are among the reasons farmers on both sides of the Tasman love the Giltrap SLR bale feeder.
The SLR can handle round and square bales of hay and silage with ease, and it provides a clean loading system and quick feed out.
When New Zealand company Giltrap Engineering bought Duncan Ag last year, along with the stable of popular Duncan drills, it acquired Duncan’s range of bale feeders and feed-out wagons.
At that point Giltrap already manufactured its own range of feeders and feed-out wagons, so many of the Duncan machines were not carried over to the Giltrap brand.
One Duncan product that was incorporated into the Giltrap portfolio is the SLR bale feeder.
Giltrap Engineering managing director Craig Mulgrew said with its ability to feed out hay, straw or balage, as well as loose pit silage, the SLR bale feeder filled a gap in Giltrap’s feed-out segment.
‘‘The SLR is a robust, versatile trailed machine that can handle round bales, medium squares or big squares,’’ Mr Mulgrew said.
‘‘It has a strong reputation and we are pleased to add it to the Giltrap product range.’’
Western Australian farmer Graham Armstrong has been using a SLR bale feeder on his 1000ha dairy and beef operation at Tutunup since December 2010.
Previously he had owned several other bale feeders, but switched to the SLR model because of its innovative design.
‘‘We were replacing the previous bale feeders quite regularly because the silage was destroying them every couple of years,’’ Mr Armstrong said.
‘‘Then Duncan brought the SLR out, and I saw one in town.
‘‘It was something different and we were looking for something stronger.
‘‘The rolls don’t sit on a set of chains.
‘‘They sit on a bed and only touch the chains enough to turn them, which reduces pressure on the chains.
‘‘The previous feeder we had lifted up the bale with a set of forks and tipped the bale forward and dumped it onto the bed, but the SLR places it on the bed and the forks pull out and retract.
‘‘Our silage rolls weigh between 500 and 800kg, so by placing the roll, it is a lot easier on the machine.’’
The Giltrap SLR bale feeder has a patented two-stage loading mechanism.
It lifts the bale, holds it in position, so the operator can remove any string or wrap, and it then places the bale in the correct position on the tilting tray.
It has twin prongs on the self-loading mechanism (with the option of a third prong for large square bales) to pick up and load the bale.
After loading, it can carry another bale on the prongs.