Beef farmer found the perfect solution for damage-free bale handling with Hustler Softhands®

Published 20th April 2023

Bob Ethell, a beef farmer in Australia, has been thrilled with the performance of his new set of Hustler Equipment’s Softhands® LM100 bale handlers.

The Softhands® have helped him easily shift his silage bales around during the first hay-making season on the farm without damaging the wrap on the bales, which could otherwise compromise the quality of the silage. Watch the video below to see how Bob utilized the Hustler Softhands® and improved his farming operations!


You may know Bob Ethell from a previous video we published last year. Bob Ethell runs a beef cattle operation in Beeac, a small town in the Western District of the state of Victoria, Australia. He feeds at least two silage bales a day to his 80 to 100 head of cattle, depending on the weather and the conditions with his Hustler trailed Unrolla TE205 double bale feeder.

For the first time, Bob decided to make silage bales on his farm this season and purchased a set of Hustler Softhands® LM100 bale handlers to move and stack the bales without damaging them.

“The reason I’ve got the Hustler Softhands was because about a year or so ago I purchased the Hustler hay feeder, and I’ve been really thrilled with the way that works,” Bob said.

Prior to buying his set of Hustler bale handlers, he “had borrowed some soft hands on a tractor, a different brand of soft hands. And look, they did the job, but were a bit frustrating. Looking at the Hustler Softhands, there’s a lot of features again that stand out to me,” Bob detailed.


“Looking at the Hustler Softhands, there’s a lot of features again that stand out to me”


According to Bob, the Hustler Softhands® have been a great investment for the farm. “It’s really in my best interest to have – when I stack those bales up or pick them up out of the paddock that I don’t damage them, because it’s just a loss,” Bob explained.

“You don’t want to be putting holes as it lets air into the silage. If the air gets into the silage wrap it actually spoils the silage,” Bob said.

The plastic wrap is an important component of the silage-making process as it helps to keep air and moisture out, which can cause the silage to spoil. Silage that has been exposed to air can quickly begin to ferment, leading to a loss of nutrients and a reduction in the quality of the feed. Holes in the plastic wrap can also allow insects, rodents, and other pests to get into the silage, which can lead to further spoilage and contamination. 


“They’re just so well made”


One of the features that stood out for Bob was the Equaliser™ bar that connects the two hands, which move simultaneously.

“The equaliser bar that the Hustler Softhands have on them, and that connects this hand here. And underneath it’s connected to there, so that the two hands move perfect harmony to each other. They don’t move independently of each other, which some of the other brands do,” which can lead to bales being picked up unevenly or dropped, Bob said.

This innovation from Hustler makes the bale handling process more efficient and easier for the operator. The Equaliser™ bar ensures that the bale is picked up evenly and securely, reducing the risk of damage to the bale or the surrounding area. It also makes the handling process smoother, reducing the stress on the bale handler and the tractor or other machinery being used.


“There’s no sharp edges on it”


Bob also likes his Hustler Softhands® bale handlers because they are simple to use and smartly engineered. “The greasing points are easy to get to. The hydraulic cylinder’s all protected. They’re just so well made. It’s just you know, really heavy-duty. There’s no sharp edges on it,” Bob said.

“Like I said, I’ve used other soft hands before different brands on it on a tractor. They were harder to use. Whereas the Hustler ones again, so easy,” Bob continued.

“You look at the other brands around and there’s a reason why they’re cheaper. And if you’ve got to buy something twice or it breaks down on you, that’s – that’s a cost, and you certainly don’t want to be buying something in the middle of the harvest season. Hustler’s not the cheapest around but you get what you pay for,” Bob said.


In a nutshell, Bob chose the Hustler Softhands® bale handlers for the benefits they offer, including:

    1. Damage-free bale handling

      The Hustler Softhands® LM100 design ensures that bales are handled without causing any damage to the bale or the wrapping. This means that the quality of the bale is maintained, and there is no wastage due to damage. 

    2. Ease of use

      The Hustler Softhands® LM100 bale handlers are designed to be user-friendly, making it easy for farmers to handle bales with minimal effort. The Equaliser™ bar ensures that the hands move in perfect harmony with each other, making it easy to pick up and stack bales.

    3. Durability

      The Hustler Softhands® LM100 are built to last, with heavy-duty construction and no sharp edges that could cause damage to the bale or the wrapping. The greasing points are easy to access, and the hydraulic cylinder is protected, ensuring that the Softhands® can withstand tough farm conditions.

    4. Cost-effective

      While the Hustler Softhands® LM100 bale handlers may not be the cheapest option on the market, they are built to last and offer a cost-effective solution for farmers in the long run. Buying a high-quality tool that is durable and reliable means that farmers can avoid the cost of having to replace cheaper, less reliable equipment in the future.

    5. Versatility

      Bob uses the Hustler Softhands® LM100 bale handlers on a Mustang skid-steer loader. The Softhands® can be adapted on any type of machine, from front-end loader to telehandler, with also a 3-point linkage option.


In conclusion, Bob Ethell’s experience with the Hustler Softhands® (and other Hustler products!) has shown how the product’s innovative design can make a significant impact on a farmer’s bale handling process.

By choosing the Hustler Softhands®, Bob has been able to move silage bales without damaging them, ensuring that the quality of his feed is maintained, and there is no wastage due to damage. The product’s ease of use, durability, and cost-effectiveness make it a smart investment for farmers like Bob, who value quality, efficiency, and reliability.

Overall, the Hustler Softhands® are an excellent solution for farmers looking for a better way to handle their bales and protect their valuable feed.


And do you want to know more about Hustler’s awesome products? Contact us today, you’ll be glad you did!


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