Bale Spears

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
5,375
Downeast Maine
Does anyone use bale spears? There are several different styles and configurations, FEL, 3pt, two or three prong. Just wondering what folks have found that works. I'm getting really tired of moving big round bales with my pallet forks and pallets.
 
Were we get our hay( big 21 square bale ) they us the 3 point on a skid steer ..
 

MikeK

Member
Oct 12, 2014
38
MN
Does anyone use bale spears? There are several different styles and configurations, FEL, 3pt, two or three prong. Just wondering what folks have found that works. I'm getting really tired of moving big round bales with my pallet forks and pallets.

Will the pallet forks go right under the bale without the pallet?

I know one place where the operator likes to use the grapple fork with skid steer bucket for big round bales. The 2 point skid-steer bale spear seems to work well for moving, loading, unloading, and stacking. It is quick and usually doesn't damage the bale.

I have experience with several antique two cylinder John Deere tractors with front end loaders and 3 points. They would usually be used with a bale on the 3 point for ballast and travelling through the snow. With just a bale on the FEL it was too front heavy to move effectively through the snow. I like the bale on the 3 point for that reason. It keeps the weight on the big rear tires for going through snow, whatever else, especially with 2 wheel drive tractors. The main J.D. 2 cylinder had a FEL with a grapple, and that was always used for feeding, was easy to grasp the bale and move it securely.

For 3 point bale implements I really like the ones that go directly under the bale (much like pallet forks) rather than spear the bale. I seem to have a memory of, or at least can imagine, the outside of bale being frozen in enough that if you use a spear and try to pick it up all the strings or net will be left frozen to the ground, then you can have a mess before you get the bale to where you need it to be. Probably only a real problem if you have to move the bale more than once, though, and if you have a FEL with a grapple to pick up what may be dropped, not a big deal.

Currently, I have a 3 point bale mover similar to this on a wd-45 which is too light to move the bigger round bales, so it ends up being something to strap the bale to and drag or push it, which is very frustrating and slow. But this is the type of 3 point mover I like, from the web. Only because it picks the bale up from the bottom.

Just some observations.

3 point web bale mover.jpg
 
Last edited:

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
5,375
Downeast Maine
Will the pallet forks go right under the bale without the pallet?

I know one place where the operator likes to use the grapple fork with skid steer bucket for big round bales. The 2 point skid-steer bale spear seems to work well for moving, loading, unloading, and stacking. It is quick and usually doesn't damage the bale.

I have experience with several antique two cylinder John Deere tractors with front end loaders and 3 points. They would usually be used with a bale on the 3 point for ballast and travelling through the snow. With just a bale on the FEL it was too front heavy to move effectively through the snow. I like the bale on the 3 point for that reason. It keeps the weight on the big rear tires for going through snow, whatever else, especially with 2 wheel drive tractors. The main J.D. 2 cylinder had a FEL with a grapple, and that was always used for feeding, was easy to grasp the bale and move it securely.

For 3 point bale implements I really like the ones that go directly under the bale (much like pallet forks) rather than spear the bale. I seem to have a memory of, or at least can imagine, the outside of bale being frozen in enough that if you use a spear and try to pick it up all the strings or net will be left frozen to the ground, then you can have a mess before you get the bale to where you need it to be. Probably only a real problem if you have to move the bale more than once, though, and if you have a FEL with a grapple to pick up what may be dropped, not a big deal.

Currently, I have a 3 point bale mover similar to this on a wd-45 which is too light to move the bigger round bales, so it ends up being something to strap the bale to and drag or push it, which is very frustrating and slow. But this is the type of 3 point mover I like, from the web. Only because it picks the bale up from the bottom.

Just some observations.

View attachment 272182
I unloaded them from the flatbed with my FEL pallet forks, but the driver helped me by leaning the bales backwards. My "hay dealer" has a sideways grapple that work great for moving and stacking the round bales on their end. If I had an unlimited budget that's what I would be looking into. Lately the climate has not been great for Maine hay production so this winter has seen several semi loads of large square bales and I also want to be able to move those if I am forced into buying them. Right now we *should* have enough round bales to get me through to spring. My 4x4 tractor can easily handle the weight of the bales without a rear implement, but having something on the 3pt does make it easier. Do you use that rear setup to slip under the round bales when they are laying on the ends or on the "side"?
 

duramaxman05

Feeling the Heat
Aug 17, 2014
491
Perryville, Mo
You have to watch using the 2 prong pallet fork style. You can easily bust the bale strings. That's always fun when its 0 degrees and dont have a cab tractor. The 3 prong bale spears work much better.
 
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MikeK

Member
Oct 12, 2014
38
MN
I unloaded them from the flatbed with my FEL pallet forks, but the driver helped me by leaning the bales backwards. My "hay dealer" has a sideways grapple that work great for moving and stacking the round bales on their end. If I had an unlimited budget that's what I would be looking into. Lately the climate has not been great for Maine hay production so this winter has seen several semi loads of large square bales and I also want to be able to move those if I am forced into buying them. Right now we *should* have enough round bales to get me through to spring. My 4x4 tractor can easily handle the weight of the bales without a rear implement, but having something on the 3pt does make it easier. Do you use that rear setup to slip under the round bales when they are laying on the ends or on the "side"?
Mostly it is from the side. But for example if I wanted to move it to where I would feed it, I would pick it up, move it to where it would be fed, set it down, then drive ahead a bit so the forks are about 2/3 out from the bale, then put it in reverse, and lift simultaneously so that it flips the bale on to the end.

The bale does sort of fit, or rides cradled between the forks when you pick it up on the side, but I think you could move it either way depending on the size of the bales and the forks.

It certainly isn't the nicest system out there, but I bought my fork used for about $100 if I recall correctly. I bought one similar to what I had experience using.
 
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hedge wood

Burning Hunk
Mar 1, 2009
175
Eastern NE
3 spear fel worked well on our round bales. Main centre spear with the 2 smaller either side.
We probably switched over to this style of bale movers 25 years ago or so. We used forks under the bales for years but it just always tore too many strings and later the wrap. We haul our hay a good distance so we need it to stay together.
 
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lsucet

Minister of Fire
May 14, 2015
1,673
San Ysidro, New Mexico
I deal with big rectangle bales up to 2000 #. I go for a load around once a month plus all the handling feeding the horses. I am all for the spears. After so long having spears I can't go back to do it with forks. The few times I have been trying, is a mess. Being lazy cause the forks are attached to the CTL. Anyway what it takes me to change attachment is seconds cause I do everything from inside the CTL. I vote for the spears.
 

sloeffle

Minister of Fire
Mar 1, 2012
771
Central Ohio
I’ve had this setup for 3 or 4 years now. I also have a 3 point hay spear that I use when I need to feed or need to move a lot of hay. For your tractor ( and mine ) I’d highly recommend having some kind of counter weight when moving round bales. I have 800lbs of beet juice in my rear tires and things can get real sketchy real fast when moving bigger bales. I use the pallet forks more than my bucket.

 
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jaoneill

Feeling the Heat
Unless you are trying to maximize indoor storage space by stacking rounds on end, go for the standard single long spear with the 2 smaller stabilizer spears. I've been handling hundreds of round bales each year since 1982 and can assure you that this is the best overall (and probably least expensive) alternative. Front mounted is the most versatile, 3 point is limited to simply moving bales from place to place. Whatever you do, NEVER store rounds on end, or stacked, outdoors and always leave space between the bales.
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
5,375
Downeast Maine
I didn't think it would work, but my root grapple opened just wide enough to grasp a round bale. I was wishing for a heavier counterweight than my skidding winch, but I wasn't exactly going far. I'll definitely get FEL bale spear setup after my truck stops breaking. The grapple weighs some 600 lbs on its own, so a lighter attachment will be nice.
 
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