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.

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