That’s a kicker

Followers may remember my concern about a nearby wheat field that had become lodged. I am happy to report that harvest began ten days ago and the entire crop was successfully combined. That’s the good news. Because of both equipment difficulties and wet weather the work was only completed this past weekend. With the crop off, there was straw to bale. That effort began three days ago (in temperatures approaching 100°F) and was finished today. The first and last gallery images are self-explanatory, however the second may not be. When we bale hay here on the farm Joanna drives the tractor which pulls the baler which pulls a wagon. I ride the wagon and stack bales as they emerge from the baler. The second image in this trio shows a bale of straw flying high into the air. You can see the tractor, the baler, and the wagon … but no one doing my usual job … that is being done by a kicker. I enjoy watching a kicker in action and have commented on its use before. The unit is attached to the end of the baler and receives bales once they are tied. Although I did not look, I believe the kicker being used here is hydraulic (others are belt driven). As each bale is completed it moves onto a pan which is attached to a lift arm. At just the right moment hydraulic fluid is pumped into a cylinder and the bale is catapulted into the air and into the trailing wagon. The mechanism is maneuverable to allow the trajectory of the bale to be adjusted. Slick.

15 thoughts on “That’s a kicker

  1. That last image with the hay piled high, it’s truly wondrous how the camera captures and accentuates the details! 100 F
    OWWWW! The highest temperature on record here at St. John’s (the weather office is located at the airport YYT which tends to be a bit colder than the rest of the place but still …) is 31.5 C which is about 88 F. It was 87 F on Monday, the second-highest ever. I could not imagine temps that high. All I can think is that while you were “Baling” hay, I too would be “Bailing” … bailing the water into me that is 🙂

    • It has continued hot here today Maurice and this is the first day that Joanna has convinced me to come in out of it. There’s supposed to be a bit of a change coming. I’ve got my fingers crossed. All of the animals are uncomfortable – especially the poultry. I feel poorly for them all. Would your 87 degrees be dry or humid? If the latter, you have my sympathy … if the former, perhaps it isn’t too bad? Thanks for checking in. D

  2. Very slick and high tech David … but what horrible heat to work in. The farms in Lothian all seem to make big round bales, which sit in place in the fields drying for a while after baling … they look quite pretty 🙂

    • Round bales are OK for cattle but smaller animals do better with small squares. We do feed hay in round bales to the flock and this tends to make for messy neck wool among the sheep. We have to place the big bale in a feeder – sort of a round cage. As the sheep push their heads through the wire mesh, they tend to damage their neck wool and get a bit of vegetable matter in and around the neck. Not a whole lot, but just enough to make Joanna’s work all the more difficult when it comes to spinning the stuff up. Thanks for all of your observations today Seonaid. D

    • We make hay the ‘old fashioned’ way too Ogee … Joanna drives and I stack! The images posted here are of other folks with other (newer) equipment. I envy the kicker though … pretty darn nice. Thanks for checking in. D PS: We don’t make many square bales these days … to much handling and we’re getting too old! Round bales are much easier … and one never has to carry a thing … the spiked loader does it all.

  3. Man … I bet that equipment is pretty pricey! But looks like it makes for efficient work. Can’t imagine working in the fields in this heat. It’s beastly!

    • Yes. All of our equipment is ‘vintage’ and forever on the brink of disaster … it all needs constant attention and care. The ‘big boys’ all have very pricey stuff which works, dependably. A buddy down the road dropped nearly $30K on a baler and said that it would pay for itself in a few years if he could make and sell enough hay. That’s called Big Business. It has been hot and today has been the first day that Joanna was succeeded in dragging me out of the worst of it. The poultry feel it the most. We will all be glad of a change. D

      • Thank goodness you listened to your better and smarter half! Bruce tore his achilles last Sunday playing tennis. Sarah said his foot looks like it belongs to “some sort of strange fantasy animal”. It’s swollen and very colorful. The only good news is that there’s no exercise of any form for at least a month. Otherwise he’d have been out there jogging in the 90 degree heat! No sense at all.

        • Does he stretch before he works out? We older folks need to be very aware that our older muscles are a bit slower to warm during exercise and cold, stiff, muscles are more easily damaged. Actually one is supposed to stretch both before AND after a workout. Gotta keep limber. When I first read your comment I thought you had said that he ripped it right off the bone and that would have required major surgery … glad he only tore it … whew.

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