How To Spear Large Round Bales

There’s more to knowing how to spear large round bales the right way than meets the eye.

Using bale spears to handle large round bales can be an everyday job in a lot of livestock operations. From transporting to storing to feeding, operators need to pick ‘em up and put ‘em down frequently. And even though it isn’t a hard thing to do, we’ve moved enough bales in our time to know it’s worth reviewing how to do it the right way.

To demonstrate, we’re using a John Deere 5100R Utility Tractor (US CA) with a 540R Loader (US CA). We’ve also added a Frontier AB12G Loader-Mount Bale Spear (US CA), and a Frontier HS2001 3-point Bale Spear (US CA).

Here’s tip #1.

When planning to transport round bales using both the loader-mount and 3-point bale spears, always lift the rear bale first, and drop it last. That way you’ll always have sufficient rear ballast.

The HS2001 Bale Spear will handle a single large round bale weighing up to 2200 pounds (998 kg). To use it properly, raise the 3-point hitch so the primary tine is level with the ground, and insert the primary tine above the center point of the bale.

Because you can’t tilt the 3-point hitch, it’s important to spear large round bales a bit higher above the center point than you would with a loader mount bale spear.

Once speared and raised, the rear bale will tend to angle slightly away from the 3-point hitch. So it’s very important to drive the spear well into the bale, keeping as much bale weight as close to the hitch as possible, while the spear remains virtually level.

Here’s tip #2.

 The AB12G Loader-Mount Bale Spear will spear large round bales weighing up to 2500 pounds (1,134 kg). To spear that bale properly, raise the loader and tilt the carrier so the primary tine is roughly level with the ground. Then move forward and insert the primary tine just above the center point of the bale.

Watch the video and you’ll see what it looks like from the operator’s point of view.

With the bale spear tilted back so the bale sits at a slight angle, more of its weight is carried primarily on the back of the spear and the loader carrier, and not all on the bale spear itself, making transport more secure.

Now, here’s the most important tip.

After you’ve inserted the tines into the bale, stop and tilt the carrier back before raising the loader and bale for transport.

If you’re in a hurry and find yourself in the habit of moving forward before you raise the loader, you’ll be scraping that bale on the ground. By doing that, you can tear the bale wrap or bale twine, loosening the bale, which will lead to lower quality hay.

Think of it this way. You’ve probably spent a lot of time and money growing the hay, mowing, raking, maybe tedding and raking again, then baling and wrapping. Take a couple extra seconds per bale to spear, tilt, and lift, and you’ll have the highest quality hay you can produce when you need it most.

Frontier has nearly 600 implements that are available only from your John Deere dealer, the place to go for advice and equipment.

So remember, for implements that help turn your tractor into the workhorse it was built to be, think Frontier and your John Deere dealer.

And lastly, always read the Operator’s Manual before operating any piece of equipment and follow all operating and safety instructions.


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