A Cheap Alternative Method
for Moving Large Round Bales

This year we baled all of our hay into the large round variety (average weight of 1,200 pounds).  Because of machinery limitations, we hired our neighbors to do the baling.   But, with winter around the corner, we needed a way to move these monsters into the pasture for feeding purposes.  Our little Allis simply does not have the horsepower, hydraulics, nor the frame for such a task.

A friend had mentioned to us that he had an old stone boat that had belonged to his grandfather.  He recalled, some years ago, moving large round bales with it and an old John Deere "B" when the ground was too soft for a larger tractor with a loader.  Because the stone boat was hinged in back, he opened it all the way behind the round bale, and then connected the two ends to the tractor with a chain.  As the tractor went forward, the ends came together under the bale, and the ride was underway!

I took him up on his offer to lend us the stone boat, and tried the method for myself in late September, 2000.  The pictures below are a journal of my first experience moving round bales without having to pay thousands of dollars for a tractor that could do the job with a loader (although some day we believe we will have to purchase a reliable used one).  For the winter months, we do have tire chains for the tractor, which we trust will bring the bales through snow drifts.

You may have to wait for some of the photos to load (depending on your Internet connection).



The "Tools"
A 1949 Allis Model C, and a Stone Boat

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The Stone Boat
This is an antique that was originally used with horses to remove boulders from fields in East Central Minnesota.  This is the hinged variety.  Most were made of wood, were not hinged, and looked like a low-profile sled.

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Here's Dave pulling the monster bale using technology from another generation.

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Almost There!
The cattle can hardly wait..  Notice the stone boat still chained to the tractor (lower left corner).  The round bale feeder sits on end, soon to be placed around the bale. 

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All Done!
Mission accomplished, thanks to the old stone boat!

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