‘The Once A Day Farmer’ reviews the Hustler Chainless LM104!

Published 8th April 2022
New Zealand

Kiwi* dairy farmer Andrew Macky aka ‘The Once A Day Farmer’ reviewed the Hustler Chainless LM104 bale feeder in one of his farming videos on his YouTube channel. As Andrew owns an older Chainless bale feeder model, the famous CH2000 which has served thousands of farmers in New Zealand but also all around the world, we thought it could be cool for Andrew to try the new model out and give us his honest review of the machine! Watch the video below to find out more.


The Once a Day Farmer

*As Andrew’s YouTube is followed by many people around the world, lots were asking what the term ‘Kiwi’ refers to in the comments. ‘Kiwi’ is actually a common way to call New Zealanders (people from New Zealand). The name derives from the kiwi bird, a native flightless bird, which is a national symbol of New Zealand. 

Andrew Macky aka ‘The Once A Day Farmer’ is based in the Waikato, New Zealand and runs a dairy farm with his father, milking 320 jersey cows, making him the 4th generation to farm on the same property. The cows are on an all-grass system with a bit of supplement in summer (drought) and stay outside 365 days a year. 

Andrew owns a 16-year-old CH2000 bale feeder, the first Chainless system introduced on the market. Angus Hewetson, Hustler’s global sales manager, came on the farm to drop a brand-new Chainless LM104 bale feeder for Andrew to test and compare it to the older model. At the time, the old machines were still yellow and green, but Hustler rebranded in 2019, revealing the new MiNT green and white colours. 

The rebranding was also the perfect opportunity to change of painting method. Hustler’s all-new coating system is a real game-changer. By using our new Armacote powder system, rather than wet spray, the new coating has an extremely durable long-lasting finish. The powder is oven-baked into the machines at 200°C after being sandblasted, giving your new Hustler a world-class finish making it withstand the test of time while reducing the wear and tear damages and increasing resale values.


CH2000 versus Chainless LM104 

The Chainless LM104 is the direct improvement of the CH2000, so it made a lot of sense to compare both models even though there are 16 years between the two machines. 

Headstock comparison

The two bale feeders have an integrated headstock with tynes, allowing the operator to load the bale on the feeder without the need of using another tractor or another implement. However, the headstock of the Chainless LM104 has been improved. 


“It’s just been beefed up big time, just a lot more support now”


The new headstock has been made stronger, the steel is wider on the frame and the hooking system has been improved, from one hook to two hooks for added safety. 

The drive motor remains the same and is still located on the headstock as the machine has enough torque to unroll 1,000 kg-bale with only 30L/min hydraulic flow. Andrew noted that the motor is a bit better protected on the Chainless LM104 than what it was on the CH2000.

One big change is in the tynes/bale forks. “They’re not the round shape anymore,” Andrew said. Indeed, the new ones “are like actual bale forks and most of the weight of the bale feeder actually sits up the top.” The new forged bale forks are much better and is designed to pierce the bale rather than push it. They are also longer than on the previous model, which reduces bale sag even with the wettest of bales. The bale fork can also be used for other chores around the farm, making it handy even when the feeder is not in use. Also, the tynes on the new bale feeder have “definitely like a noticeable difference in length,” Andrew said. Hustler made one tyne longer than the other for quick and easy alignment when reconnecting the cradle. You’ll only need to line up one tyne, then back straight in.

On the principles, both headstock stays the same, with a little rope to tug when disconnecting the feeder. However, Hustler offers front loader and telehandler brackets to fit on the Chainless LX104 model which embarks Snaplox, the hands-free auto-connection/disconnection system. 


Feeder comparison

Reconnecting the headstock to the feeder is easier thanks to the unequal length tynes like stated above, but also simpler than before thanks to the bigger tyne guides on the feeder side. 

The Chainless LM104 is a bit more massive than the previous model and also a little bit heavier (about additional 170 kilos). This is due to the fact that the whole châssis has been reinforced. “The feeder rollers are a lot higher on the new model,” Andrew continued. The angle of the feed rotor remains unchanged, however, even though the feed tray/platform is approximately the same width, it is not placed exactly as it was on the older model. Indeed, the pivot part of the platform sits a bit lower.  

As lots of people wonder if the plastic tray would last over time, Andrew noticed that it is just a cover over a metal structure, that’s why it can support a heavy load so well. The metal structure integrates a little bar to tight up the strings of the bale, especially handy for square bales. Also, the feed tray is not simply “plastic”. It is actually made in polyethylene. The ribbed design keeps the bales tracking straight, and with 30% less friction than steel, it reduces drag on the bale which makes feeding out sticky bales easier. Polyethylene is a great 100% recyclable material that handles extreme climate conditions better because it can be treated against UV and never corrode, of course.

Andrew noted that the platform height can be adjusted in two positions, one for round, and one for square, making the whole bale feeder more customisable for any type of operation.

The new axial rotor embarks a new paddle design. After countless prototypes, Hustler settled on angled plates that keep the bale positioned in the centre of the feeding chamber to minimise wastage and provide a better grip on soft bales. 

The proven Hypaflo wiper panel located at the front of the top rotor is the same, but a quick-release latch has been added to release the wiper panel – in order to clean it if materials (hay or bale net) built-up in there.

Even though Andrew didn’t try the new bale feeder on his smaller 85-hp tractor, he reckons that it should go as good as on his 115-hp New Holland tractor.

Next time we will see Andrew, we hope that it is going to be at our factory in Hastings where Angus would give him a little tour to share on his channel! 



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


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