An Oregon rancher feeds 9,000 pounds of big square bales in one load with the Hustler Combi feedout wagon

Published 24th February 2022
United States

Jim Bob Collins from Mitchell, Oregon (USA) feeds a lot of hay to his cows in wintertime, and the bales are quite large 3′ x 4′ x 8′ squares, so he got a Hustler Combi RX178 feed wagon to help. “When we’re putting eight bales into that wagon, we’re g getting approximately 9000 pounds of hay in there … when you look at how many pounds and tons of hay we can fit into that, it works great. It was pretty cool!”

In addition to its massive capacity, Jim Bob was also a big fan of the RX178’s fully hydraulic system and scales. “We were able to improve our ranch and our daily lives without having to spend a lot of money in buying new tractors, and those were things – we were able to pick up this machine to feed our operation. And it gave us data to know how much hay we’re feeding.” All in all, a really smart addition to the ranch!

Widely spread across New Zealand and Australia, the new Hustler Combi feedout wagon range has landed in North America about a year ago and has already been a real game-changer for quite a few ranchers.

In April last year, we visited Kent Smith in Missouri who purchased one of the very first all-new Hustler’s Combi RX multi-feeder wagons operating in the United States.

Today, we’re traveling to Oregon to visit Jim Bob Collins who invested in a Hustler Combi RX178 for his family ranch.


“My dad would always say, take care of the grass, the grass will take care of you”


Jim Bob’s ranch is located in Wheeler County where the principal industries are agriculture, livestock, and lumber. Precipitation in the region is limited by the rain shadow effect of the Cascade Range and the Ochoco Mountains to the west. In winter, much of the precipitation arrives as snow.



“The native grasses are resilient but they can’t be abused a lot and expected to do the same thing every year,” Jim Bob said. Oregon’s range grasses are of two kinds: annuals and perennials. The annuals have one default – their yield differs enormously from year to year, but as we all know, a rancher can’t keep 500 cows one year and only 5 the next year. Perennials differ in yield too, but not nearly so much.

So Jim Bob must buy hay supply for winter most of the years.

“When we feed here in Oregon, and a lot of the Western US, we feed with square bales. We purchase and we bale our hay in 3′ x 4′ x 8′ length. And the reason why we see that primarily here is because of shipping,” Jim Bob explained.

If square bales are handy to transport, it is not always easy to find the right feedout equipment for them, especially for large volumes of hay. 


“When we’re putting in eight bales into that wagon, we’re getting approximately 9000 pounds of hay in there”


The Combi RX range has been particularly thought-through from a space optimisation standpoint resulting in the most compact and maneuverable combination feeder in its class. 



With the Hustler Combi RX178 feedout wagon, Jim Bob is able to fit 8 big square bales in, which is “approximately 9000 pounds of hay,” he said. “When you look at how many pounds and tons of hay we can fit into that, it works great.”

Designed to feed out any type of loose feed but also virtually any size or shape of bales, the Combi RX range is a very versatile tool that fits a large diversity of farms and ranches. A very essential feature of this wagon that Jim Bob appreciates is the ability to unroll bales instead of shredding them as it would be the case with a TMR wagon or a traditional bale processor. 


“It didn’t chop it up into little bitty stems. It made them more in a native state as they came out.”


Thanks to the tilting side elevator, the Combi RX feedout wagon range is able to unroll the bales or tease the bales apart. It’s a very unique feature, gentle on the hay, that doesn’t “chop it up into little bitty stems,” Jim Bob continues “it made them more in a native state as they came out.”



“It would pull apart a flake of hay, we could tell – but it wasn’t kicking out great big chunks – unless we want it to do that. As that hay’s being torn apart and kind of kicked out, it’s blending in a little bit as we go, and it’s adding that so that the cattle have to go along and eat all of it, instead of just like staying here for a little bit,” Jim Bob detailed. 

This situation is ideal for Jim Bob’s operation who is concerned by the ranch soil health.


“We were able to improve our ranch and our daily lives”


Mature cattle redeposit a majority of the nutrients that are consumed and it is up to us where they deposit it. A 100-acre pasture that has a 100-head cow herd being fed good quality cool-season grass hay for a 110-day feeding cycle would receive 23 pounds per acre (lbs/ac) of nitrogen, 23 lbs/ac of phosphorus, and 67 lbs/ac of potash” according to a University of Missouri extension publication. If we feed in one spot the whole season, those values would not truly make it over the entire 100 acres. In order for those nutrients to be of the most benefit, Jim Bob makes sure to move the feeding site regularly throughout the feeding season to better distribute the manure (nutrients). 

And the Hustler Combi RX178 helps him to achieve that goal.



The wagons are scale ready as standards, which allows the owner to add the weighing option when it suits. Jim Bob uses this optional feature to accurately measure the correct amount the herd needs, reducing waste and increasing his overall performance. “With advancements that Hustler’s brought in with the scales underneath it with the ability to feed safely off the back of it,” Jim Bob knows “exactly how many pounds we’re putting on the ground.”

As the Combi RX is 100% hydraulically-powered, it doesn’t “need a high horsepower tractor,” said Jim Bob. “We were able to improve our ranch and our daily lives,” he concluded.



Do you want to know more about Hustler’s Combi ranges? Contact us today, you’ll be glad you did!


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