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  1. #11
    Veteran Member repowell's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    East Texas
    NH Boomer 8N, NH TC40DA

    Default Re: How big of Tractor to unload round bales from Semi?

    I stopped and watched a guy unloading round bales today. He was using an older model JD, probably around 75 hp. He had a 3pt bale spear with a bale on the back for counterweight. Unloaded the trailer by sitting bales on the shoulder and driveway, then carried 2 at a time to where he is storing them. Did not take him long and looked pretty stable.

    NH Boomer 8N, 6' Bush Hog Squealer Rotary Cutter
    NH TC40DA, 16LA FEL, Red Master II Harrow
    Land Pride 6' Tiller, 7' Landscape Rake
    2017 GMC 2500HD 4X4 6.6 Duramax, Allison
    2008 GMC 2500HD 4X4 6.6 Duramax, Allison
    Big Tex 12GP 20' GN trailer, 50LA 14' bumper pull
    Kawasaki Mule 4010 Trans4X4, Kubota ZD1211 60"

  2. #12
    Bronze Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2009

    Default Re: How big of Tractor to unload round bales from Semi?

    we use an old 1086 farmall... bushog loader....

    works fine.

    i even use my NH TN60A with weight in the tires.

    its quicker.


  3. #13
    Gold Member SLHawkins's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Northern Virginia
    John Deere 5403, International Harvester 584

    Default Re: How big of Tractor to unload round bales from Semi?

    The tractor in the video is a John Deere 1030, or similiar frame sized, tractor. He was able to stack 2-high on this flatbed without any problems. But, I definitely would not go any smaller. These bales were 4x5. I would recommend 50 hp or more and nothing lighter than 4500-5000 lbs operating weight.

    Hauling Hay out of Purceville, VA 16 Jan 2010 pt 2 - YouTube

    A lil bit country, and a whole lotta soul, wid a taste of hip hop flava on the side.

    JD 5403, , IH 584, NH 846 Baler, NH 492 Haybine, Woods E320 Batwing Rotary Cutter, Landpride RCR1572 Rotary Cutter, WR Long 72" OBRG, LandPride RB3596 Landscape Blade, '74 Diamond Reo Dump Truck; '70 F880, '94 Freightliner Classic, KNC 10 tooth Chisel Plow, New Holland Manure Spreader, 35' Texas Bragg Flatbed Gooseneck, Case 450 Track Loader, H-90CM Wheel Loader, '69 Kaiser Jeep M52A2 6x6

  4. #14
    Elite Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    7040 HDC 1153 fel

    Default Re: How big of Tractor to unload round bales from Semi?

    you have remember those guys unloading the double stacked goosenecks an semis have been doing it for alot of they know how to keep their tractor stable while doing so.

  5. #15
    Elite Member Jerry/MT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Western Montana
    New Holland TD95D, Ford 4610 & Kubota M4500

    Default Re: How big of Tractor to unload round bales from Semi?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bigfoot62 View Post
    First of all, to TBN.

    The tractor and loader you need will partially be determined by the size and weight of the bale. And, the tractors that will be suggested will be limited by your budget. Also, be aware that sometimes, very clean used tractors in excellent condition may not be much less expensive than new ones. Factoring in 0% financing by many of the manufacturers, and it can be very close.

    Many of the newer tractors don't weigh as much as the older ones of the same HP, so that can be deceptive. For example, my NH TN70A is an open-station, four wheel drive, 70 hp engine. My cousin has a kubota M9540 FWD, cab, 95 hp engine. My NH can handle his 5x6' rolls without ballast. He had to put water in the Kubota's tires so it could pick up the same roll of hay.

    Having said that, either of those tractors would do what you are asking. Also, the older Ford or NH 5610, 6610, or 7610 series.
    The 5M series John Deeres, like my 5085M, would easily handle it. And certainly, the larger JD tractors, such as the 6403, etc.

    Just so that you'll have some to consider, here are some NH models that will fit your need. (you'll have to decide if they fit your budget) Note: you can do the same with other brands, I'm just using NH as an example.
    These are basically arranged from newest and most expensive (current model with the most features, shuttle shift, etc) to the older and less expensive (fewer features, simpler transmission, etc)
    2008 NEW HOLLAND T4030 Tractors - 40 HP to 99 HP For Sale At (current model) also T4020, T4030, T4040, & T50xx series
    2004 NEW HOLLAND TN70A Tractors - 40 HP to 99 HP For Sale At (built 2004-2008) also TN75A, TN85A, TN90A, TN95A
    2005 NEW HOLLAND TL80A Tractors - 40 HP to 99 HP For Sale At (2004-2007) also TL90, TL100
    1997 NEW HOLLAND 5610S Tractors - 40 HP to 99 HP For Sale At (built late '90's-2000) also 6610S, 7610S
    NEW HOLLAND 3010 Tractors - 40 HP to 99 HP For Sale At (1996-2003) also 4010, 5010 (this series would be the absolute smallest NH that I would suggest, and the larger ones would be better)

    And, of course, if you want to go even older, you can look at the 5610, 5600;6740, 6710, or 6600. (also 7740, 7710, 7610, 7600)
    1992 FORD 5610 Tractors - 40 HP to 99 HP For Sale At (1982-1993) also 6610, 7610

    I hope this helps and is not just overwhelming. Point is, there are LOTS of tractors out there that are bigger than yours and would do the job.

    I used a Ford 4610 2WD with an EzeeOn 2070 loader to load and unload round bales( 12000-1500 lbs) for about 4 years and it was a little scary clearing a pasture of bales and just loading a flat bed with one tier of bales. I still have it but I use that to unload in the stack yard where it isn't so rough.

    We bought a used 2007 NH TD95D 4WD with NH 820 loader (93 hrs) last fall and it was so much more stable in the pasture even without ballast.
    I'd recommend 4WD because you get a stronger front axle then a 2WD and you won't get stuck as easy with a big bale on the loader in muddy conditons.
    As stated above,the bigger 10 series Fords (5610 through 7710) will do the job for you and are relatively simple tractors to work on if you have to. So will the IH X86 series and certainly there are a bunch of JD's that will do the job. So you should be able to find a good used tractor to fit your budget.

  6. #16
    Super Member flusher's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Getting old. Sold the ranch. Sold the tractors. Moved back to the city.

    Default Re: How big of Tractor to unload round bales from Semi?

    Quote Originally Posted by texvet45 View Post
    Howdy Folks;

    I am in the Market for a bigger tractor. I've been buying Round Bales by the Semi load and I need a tractor big enough to unload them. My David Brown 885 is not tall enough nor is the front end loader string enough to unload the top row from a semi.
    I will be looking in the used market and not afraid of an older tractor.
    Does anyone have any suggestions?

    Thanks in advance.
    Seguin, TX
    Before dropping a bundle on a bigger tractor, I'd check out a used wheel loader like the Allis Chalmers 545 that my neighbor has

    How big of Tractor to unload round bales from Semi?-dscf0039_crop-jpg

    You can find these in the $5-10K range.
    Get a SSQA fitted on the loader arms so you can change from the bucket to your bale handling implement.

  7. #17
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    S. W. Virginia
    Kubota B3200, Ford NAA, IH 454D, Case 1845C

    Default Re: How big of Tractor to unload round bales from Semi?

    As mentioned, lift height is key. We use a kubota M9540 to unload round bales and it works great. It has fluid filled rear tires, cast iron wheels, and always good ballast on the back when moving big bales. The loader goes up to 12' which is important for big bales on tall trailers. Also having plenty of reach is important. I can unload a trailer from just one side by reaching over the trailer to get the bales on that side. Being able to unload from one side is a big time saver as you don't have to keep driving around the trailer. I'd say minimum requirements for unloading semis is 3000lb lift capacity, 12' reach, about a 10,000lb tractor.
    Kubota B3200
    Ford NAA Jubilee
    International 454D
    Case 1845C skid steer
    JD 265

  8. #18
    Veteran Member whodat526's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    deridder louisiana

    Default Re: How big of Tractor to unload round bales from Semi?

    the best tractor for the money would be something like a 9600-9700 ford cab with loader can be had in the 3000-5000 dollar range

  9. #19
    Super Star Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    somewhere usa
    Deere 110tlb, 4520, x749, L130

    Default Re: How big of Tractor to unload round bales from Semi?

    Quote Originally Posted by CowwFace View Post
    Hey TexVet,

    I'll add my 2 cents ..

    I have a DK40se HST Kioti with loaded rear tires & a 96" rear blade hanging off the back: I unload 1 ton pallets of wood pellets (say that 5 times fast) from the back of my pickup (F250) a few times a year and it's a sphincter pucker event for me each time ... thus I would say that 1 ton 3 feet off the ground is pushing the limits of my tractor.

    With that in mind, I would say you will need something HELLA big for what you are doing. Old Case 1370 type tractor with FEL I'd say would be good place to start.

    Tractor on
    I had a 1370 Case with cab and duals, the power shift was great and it was an awsome tractor. Just so everyone knows I have bought new tractors that weren't green.

  10. #20
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Rozet, Wyoming

    Default Re: How big of Tractor to unload round bales from Semi?

    I wouldn't short yourself on tractor. I had an 830 Case (about 6500 lbs.) with a Koyker loader and grapple and unloaded a semi load of rounds. Did the job, but the 1070 Case (about 11,500 lbs. ballasted) with a Westendorf loader I have now is SO much more stable. Has enough reach to get the bales on the far side of the trailer too. Those rounds were probably about 800 lbs. The squares I handle now are around 1300 lbs. I always had to have something on the 3 point of the 830. Not needed on the 1070 and that makes it better in tight quarters. I'd be looking for something at least 8,000 lbs with good power steering if you will be doing much of this.


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