20 years of trouble-free made Hustler Softhands® a no brainer for this farmer

Published 11th February 2021
New Zealand

When John Vallance decided to buy a new set of bale handlers to lighten the workload on the Hustler Softhands® purchased by his father 20 years earlier and still used on the farm, he chose Hustler without a second thought. Find out in this video why John chose Hustler after trying a few other brands.

John Vallance farms in Tangiteroria, Northland, New Zealand. Tangiteroria is a small rural community located halfway between Whangārei and Dargaville on State Highway 14 on the banks of the Northern Wairoa River.

As New Zealand’s only subtropical region, Northland’s climate offers a key competitive advantage for its agricultural sector, which includes dairy, beef and sheep farming. The mild climate and reliable rainfall create ideal conditions for fast pasture growth, giving Northland producers the ability to fatten stock during the warmer winter and spring months. Northland produces around 20% of New Zealand’s beef output and produces about 116,000 tonnes of dairy products.

John Vallance runs 900 heads of Friesian bulls on 360 hectares of grass, his land is a mixture of easy and steep-hill country. As you can guess, John uses quite a bit of wrapped silage bales each feeding season…

Farm equipment seems to be a family affair among the Vallance family! John’s father bought a set of Hustler Softhands and he “had them for about 20 years and they’ve never let us down so I just went straight in and bought another set of Hustler,” John explained.

“The reason why we chose Hustler is because of their reliability, its lack of maintenance. Grease them and away you go!”

However, sticking with Hustler is not only due to John’s father’s choices or the quality of the Softhands, it’s also because Hustler outperforms the others! John has also had experience with other bale handlers or bale grabs, and “their quality hasn’t been up to scratch,” John assured. “We’ve used it for less than a week and I’ve come across cracks in the welds and other issues that weren’t acceptable,” John recounted. 

“They last for a long time so in that respect they’re saving us a lot of money because we’re not having to go and replace them all the time.”

Choosing the right brand of farm equipment is indeed a question of long-term investment. This is true for all equipment – sometimes the purchase price is lower, but there are actually hidden costs, such as the price of parts to be replaced or the time spent on repairs and maintenance. According to John, the Hustler Softhands need “no maintenance, they’re strong, they’re sturdy.” The set is also a pleasure to work with thanks to clever engineering that offers perfect visibility on the load. 

“My father’s set of Softhands is proof of that after 20 years of no issues.”

“I’d highly recommend Hustler. Great product,” John concluded.


How to choose the right bale handler for your farm?

When buying a pair of bale handlers, the following points should be taken into consideration:

  • The shape

The right shape of Softhands® will prevent damage, make close stacking easy and will make slipping in between bales simple.

  • The design

A good design will keep the load close to the tractor (for the safety of the operator and the sake of the hydraulic loader) and provides good visibility.

  • Total control

Hustler’s patented floating Equaliser® bar is a game-changer in control and safety. Equaliser® keeps the hands moving simultaneously which makes handling bales safer and easier, whilst giving the operator more control. It also allows the operator to compress bales in either direction without leaving the cab when loading trailers, making for safer loads.

Equaliser® comes standard on Hustler Softhands® LX200 and comes optional on Hustler Softhands® LM100.

  • No pinch points

The last thing you want when it comes to handling wrapped bale of silage is breaking the airtight seal with a spike or any other sharp object. The Hustler Softhands® are designed with no tear-points so you can handle bales without damaging the bale wrap of both, the bale you’re handling and adjacent bales.

  • Protection of the vital parts

Hydraulic rams and hoses should be protected from outside influences to guarantee a long life span. The Hustler Softhands® and the hoses are cleverly pointing up to avoid accidental catch with the bale or another piece of gear.

  • Maintenance

Minimal maintenance is the goal to save you time and money. At Hustler, we make sure that the moving parts of our Softhands® are easily accessible and easy to grease!

  • Durability

Good quality of products and components are crucial for durability and reliability. At Hustler, we chose carefully our raw materials and we use innovative welding robots for efficiency, but also professional welders for top-level quality control. All our Softhands are designed, built, painted and assembled in our own factory in Hastings, New Zealand. We are a 100% Kiwi-owned company able to provide the above feature at a competitive price, backed up with an exclusive 4-year warranty.