Kentucky farmer sees “much less loss” of hay since starting using a Hustler bale unroller
James Coy’s family has been on their land in Kentucky since 1795. He’s an eighth-generation farmer and was looking for a way to make his farm sustainable. The fact that his Hustler Unrolla bale unroller can shrug off the mud in their muddy season and feed out in the winter season helps reduce the hay waste enough to give James confidence that his kids will be able to successfully continue their family legacy on that land into a ninth generation.
James’ family farm is located in Kirksville near Richmond, United States in the Bluegrass region. The area is characterized by underlying fossiliferous limestone, dolomite, and shale of the Ordovician geological age. Hills are generally rolling, and the soil is highly fertile for growing pasture. Since the antebellum years, the region has been a center for breeding quality livestock.
James runs a cow-calf operation – in British, a cow-calf operation is also known as a single-suckler herd, but the principle of it remains the same where a permanent herd of cows is kept by a farmer or rancher to produce calves for later sale.
The farm hasn’t always been exclusively dedicated to cattle. It has also been a crop and tobacco farm. James has always been working here, since a young age. “I grew up working on the farm, hanging tobacco, running tractors, all day every day… it’s all I did every summer,” James said. And he would not change his lifestyle “I love it out here, this is my office. It’s the best place to be.”
James’ approach to his farm is sustainable. The aim is to raise healthy, quality livestock. Indeed, public opinion and consumers seem to have become increasingly concerned about animal welfare over the last few years, as James explains.
“We try to run an ethical operation. We take really good care of our cattle. We have to have them, they’re what supports the farm,” James continued. Moreover, to the farmers’ detractors, James explains that it makes perfect sense to him that farmers should take good care of their animals, as this is how they earn their living. “They’re what pays the bills and so we take care of them like you would take care of any high-quality, high-dollar item,” James finished.
To help him achieve this and gain in efficiency, James decided to purchase a few years ago a Hustler mounted Unrolla LX105 bale unroller. “The biggest thing that the Hustler allows me to do is to be able to distribute the hay out over a larger section of land that allows the cattle to come up and they come in from both sides and they can eat from both sides and they consume most of it,” James explained.
“The biggest thing that the Hustler allows me to do is to be able to distribute the hay out over a larger section of land”
Compared to using a hay rack/hay ring or just putting a whole bale in the paddock, using a Hustler bale unroller is much better for avoiding waste. This is what James found when he started using his machine.
When a bale is dropped in one place, the risk is:
- deteriorating the soil due to hoof traffic concentration
- wasting hay because cattle do not eat it all at once, rejecting the worst parts and the weather will spoil what is left
- when hay is not mechanically unrolled, cattle tend to unravel the hay themselves, making it difficult to eat. In addition, the hay falls into the mud and is trampled.
“There’s much less loss because of the lack of destruction to the ground and the lack of waste for the hay”
“When there is snow on the ground or when there’s ice on the ground, the Hustler allows us to just put out the windrow of hay instead of putting out frozen hay bales where they only eat half of it one day and then they come back to it the next day and it’s had ice or snow on it. There’s much less loss because of the lack of destruction to the ground and the lack of waste for the hay,” James detailed.
James is also quite impressed with the build quality of his Hustler Unrolla LX105. As he operates the machine mostly in wintertime, it is covered in mud fairly quickly. But all the vital components are either protected or tucked away in less exposed parts of the machine. “None of the gears, chains or anything seem to be affected by mud that’s thrown up by the tractor or setting it down in a muddy area of the field. It seems to still continue to run without issue,” James told.
“None of the gears, chains or anything seem to be affected by mud that’s thrown up by the tractor”
The Hustler Unrolla LX105 has been specially designed to survive in harsh conditions. Some key features are particularly well-thoughts:
- Tough Chains. Tough chain and floor bars are bullet-proof and last the entire life span of the feeder. Super strong roller chains with a combined strength of 24,000lbs, with tough 40mm x 40mm zinc-plated bars. Bars are bolted to the chain, a stronger and more easily replaceable system.
- Covered Drive Bearings. The LX105 Unrolla has covered drive bearings to keep the dirt and the mud out, extending bearing life.
- Polyethylene Floor. A solid thermoformed, fully enclosed polyethylene floor with covered drive shafts eliminates wrapping. It’s non-corrosive, impervious to UV, slippery, easily repairable and very shock resistant.
- Enclosed Sprockets. The 6 tooth sprockets are made from Bisalloy (the same material used in a bulldozer blade) so they last forever. With smaller diameter sprockets less torque is required to drive the chains, giving more drive power for tough bales. Designed so it is impossible for the chain to jump off the sprockets, this saves you downtime in the field.
- Protected Drive. The LX105 Unrolla drive coupling is protected to eliminate hay from jamming it when connecting, and the hardened drive connection which has been proven on thousands of machines is built to last.
- Protected Motor. We’ve protected the motor from coming into contact with the tractor tire, which can save you costly downtime and repairs when your tractor has short linkage arms.
If you want to learn more about the Hustler Advantage, grab a copy of our free guide