Farming and raising cattle in northeast Iowa, Bruce Goddard has had many years of experience handling and using round bales of hay and cornstalks.
Processing round bales is how most cattle feeders get the forage ready to put into feed bunks or to spread chopped stalks for bedding. After processing, the next step is hauling and unloading the material into the bunk for feed or spreading it for bedding in the cattle shed.
Goddard has come up with a better way. He’s invented a tractor-mounted machine that processes and delivers the forage material all at once. It’s more efficient and safer than taking the extra steps with separate pieces of equipment.
Tested on their farm
With 25 years of experience working in off-farm jobs as a machinist, Goddard has made thousands of parts. He’s always desired to make a complete machine, not just parts of the machine. After Bruce and wife Connie struggled with frozen net wrap for many years, Bruce knew there had to be an easier way to bed their livestock.
He spent many nights drawing and designing a front-mount bale processor for his skid loader. He used the skid-loader processor for a short period but was never satisfied with it. It required a large skid loader, or the weight of the bale would tip the skid loader. He couldn’t justify purchasing a larger skid loader to operate the front-mount processor.
Another concern Bruce had with the front-mount bale processor was that his vision was obstructed with a round bale directly in front of him. It was impossible to see where he was spreading the bedding. He decided to design a rear-mount attachment for his tractor. The rear-mount Bale Storm Bale Processor attaches to any three-point hitch tractor. It’s run by PTO and hydraulics.
Visibility isn’t a problem. “Seated in the tractor, you are up above the rear-mount processor and you can see where the bedding is going,” he notes.
FASTER, SAFER, BETTER: The Bale Storm Bale Processor efficiently handles bedding and feeding of livestock. Bruce Goddard designed and built the machine, and has a patent pending.
Bruce built the Bale Storm himself and has been using the prototype for two years on the family farm near Charles City. He fine-tuned the design and recently began manufacturing the processors. He knows firsthand how much easier this machine has made his life, so he’s decided to manufacture them for other farmers. He believes it’s important to share his knowledge with other livestock producers.
Other facts and features
The Bale Storm Bale Processor only needs a 75- to 100-hp tractor to operate efficiently. The hydraulic self-loading lift allows the operator to remain in the tractor to safely load the bale. The bale easily rolls into the chamber. Removing net wrap is optional and is easily accessible if you decide to remove it.
“The reversible apron controls the speed as the bale is fed through the dual rotors,” he explains. “With the PTO as the power source for the rotors, forage is distributed with ease. The rear-mount attachment allows easy maneuvering in areas that otherwise are difficult with a pull-behind processor.”
Connie adds, “We are just getting started; we have a new website with more information. You can watch our video of the Bale Storm Bale Processor at Balestorm.com. We’ve been using this processor for the last couple of years. It saves us time, saves us money and is easy to operate. We will never go back to bedding the old way with a pitchfork, knife and skid loader.”
Ingenuity grows on the farm
Bruce and Connie Goddard have two grown children, Amanda and Mathew. Amanda is married to Jim Bearman, and they have two boys, Wyatt and Walker. Mathew and his wife, Jada, have three children, Kash, Nilan and Catherine. Both families live close to Bruce and Connie, and are active in farming.
Bruce and Connie believe that ‘Faith, Family, Farming and Friends’ is a great motto to live by. Bruce is especially proud, as his oldest grandson told him, “I’m gonna be an inventor like you, Grandpa.” They share many conversations about ideas and inventions to come.
WINNERS: Brook Boehmier (right) presented Connie and Bruce Goddard with a check as finalists in the John Pappajohn Innovative Award competition this fall, a program connected with North Iowa Area Community College.
Entrepreneur programs helpful
Bruce and Connie Goddard completed the Launch and Grow Your Business program at North Iowa Area Community College in April. Bruce was voted most likely to succeed after completing the program. In September, Bruce was a finalist for the John Pappajohn Innovative Award and was motivated by John Pappajohn’s speech at the Gala.
The Goddards are in the Start-Up Factory program offered by Iowa State University. Through this 26-week online program, they connect with business experts, investors and mentors. They’ve completed Customer Discovery and have put together a digital slide presentation of their business to pitch to investors.
As part of the ISU program, they’ve done the research for “who the competition is” and have found they can offer a competitively priced machine. They travel to ISU in Ames for some of the sessions.
A key lesson the Goddards have learned from the Start Up Factory is: “If you solve a problem with your solution, chances are others have the same problem and this is how a business begins,” Connie says. “The seminars and speakers we’ve experienced have been extremely helpful. We’ve made a lot of great connections and some lifelong friends through the programs.”