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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Posts
    1,390
    Location
    South Central Oklahoma
    Tractor
    Kubota Grand L4610HSTC

    Default Using pallet forks on round bales

    I was moving some round bales from the field to hay barn today and about 30 bales into the operation I guess I got a bit sloppy (familiarity breeds contempt) and tilted one back a bit too far and it leaned on the "backup platform" or whatever it is that is in the vertical plane and keeps stuff from falling back on the tractor as I was stacking bales in the hay barn. It bent back at a 45 degree angle. So, my question is... how wrong is it to use pallet forks to move round bales? I have a 18 ft utility trailer and I can set three bales on it, flat side down, and then three more bales, one atop each of the first three real easy with my L4610 FEL with pallet forks in place of bucket.

    Sure, I know about round bale spikes but had the forks for other reasons and thought they would do double duty. I can bend/straighten/weld/reinforce/etc and probably never have the problem again but just wonder if I am being particularly stupid. I don't recall the dealer saying to not do it but my wife claims they said they wouldn't sell us pallet forks to handle round bales, only for pallets. I think she is a reliable source with no axe to grind, yet, as she was driving the truck pulling the trailer and doesn't know the implement bent.

    Patrick

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Posts
    206
    Location
    Illinois
    Tractor
    New Holland TC45D

    Default Re: Using pallet forks on round bales

    Your main concern is not bending the forks but rather the bale rolling off the forks onto the tractor and you if you lift it too high, even if your loader is self leveling. There is nothing holding the bale down on the forks so this can be a major problem. Deere has a picture of a tractor this has happened to in their loader brochure with a clear warning to only use attachments specifically designed for handling round bales.

    My advice would be to get a bale spear or make one if you are handling bales a lot.

    JT

  3. #3
    Super Member JerryG's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    Posts
    7,190
    Location
    Northwest Arkansas
    Tractor
    MF 1440-4 PowerShuttle

    Default Re: Using pallet forks on round bales

    I move round bales with my forks also. I have backstops on my forks. The backstops are taller that my bucket by a good margin. If your backstop is insufficient or you donít want to extend it, you could put a single short stinger between the forks. I say short because if it is very long you will have trouble with getting the bale on. That only applies for use with forks. One large stinger without forks will also work.

  4. #4
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Posts
    6,737
    Tractor
    JD 8320 MFWD, JD 6415 MFWD, FEL, and cab, John Deere MFWD 4600, John Deere 4020, John Deere 4430, John Deere 455 mower, Deutz, and Gehl 4610 perkins skidsteer

    Default Re: Using pallet forks on round bales

    I agree with Jerry. Mine also has the backstops. I've moved thousands of bales with those on my 4600 and never had any problem with them.

  5. #5
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Posts
    1,711
    Location
    Cherry Valley, New York (near Cooperstown, NY)
    Tractor
    Kubota L4630, with cab and loader, 1951 Ferguson TO-20, 1986 Ford 5610 with loader

    Default Re: Using pallet forks on round bales

    I don't have pallet forks, and after spending most of the weekend moving round bales by strapping them to the loader of my Oliver, first thing Monday morning, my wife and I went to our local farm supply store and bought a bale spear. I thought we'd bite the bullet and spend the money to make life easier. Surprisingly it only cost about $260. It's a Worksaver, looks wellbuilt, and I'll start using it sometime this week.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Posts
    1,390
    Location
    South Central Oklahoma
    Tractor
    Kubota Grand L4610HSTC

    Default Re: Using pallet forks on round bales

    JerryG (et al), I have (had?) backstops on my stock kubota pallet forks but they are bent back 45 degrees now. I will buy some steel today and when I get through the back stop will be taller and much stronger.

    I messed up, plain and simple, to bend the thing that way but it made me real cautions while handling the rest of the bales. Still there is always a chance of messing up again and I will have taller stronger backstop.

    Regarding puting the forks close together. I spread them as far as possible and pick up the bale as low to the ground as I can, sometimes not even spearing it. I can also pick them up when they are siting flat side down (absolutely no spearing) with a lot more margin of safety. I put six at a time on the 18 ft trailer by stacking them in three pairs. They ride well as my wife drives cautiously. I did bend a trailier fender a bit while learning how to unload. Got it wired now, no sweat.

    Thanks to all who commented. I will also look into a bale spear that would fit my Kubota FEL quick connect system but suspect it to be prohibitively expensive compared to making my pallet forks a lot safer.

    Chain... Nah, I'll make the forks safe without it.

    Patrick

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