Farmers gathered around the next item to be sold at the Kelsay Farms auction on April 12. The family farm made the tough decision to exit the dairy business and was liquidating lots of equipment, including hay equipment. Ritchie Brothers Auctioneers handled the auction.
Lot 178 was a New Holland Super 1049 Stackcruiser bale hauler. It could pick up and hold 158 small square bales at once and was equipped with a V8 engine with 3,109 hours on it. The bidding started, and bids came in from around the crowd and over the internet. Many buyers from other states bought items in the sale via the internet.
“Sold!” the auctioneer finally said. The self-propelled bale-hauler sold for $5,000 to a bidder in the crowd. It will go on to a new home and continue to make one-man bale handling possible for a new owner.
Even before fast-food restaurants became a thing and gobbled up the high school boys who once were the hay crews across the Midwest, New Holland realized that farmers needed a way to simplify haymaking. The innovative company introduced the Automatic Bale Wagon to dealers nearly 60 years ago, touting economy, capacity, timeliness, versatility and profit.
Here is a line from a booklet, “New Holland — 25 Years the Leader,” issued as the Western Hay System Product Book to dealers. “New Holland’s Automatic Bale Wagon now completes the ability of one man to harvest an entire hay crop by himself, whether he be a farmer, rancher or custom operator.”
It continues: “One man can cut the hay, bale the hay and load, transport and stack thousands of bales quickly, easily — without hiring extra help.”
THE IDEA BEGINS: New Holland introduced a forward-thinking tool to reduce labor in handling small bales in the mid-1960s, before “hay help” became scarce on many Midwestern farms.
The bale stacker that sold at the Kelsay Farms auction uses the same concept of the original models. Early literature talks about the 1020 Stackliner and the 1045 Stackliner. The product guide includes testimonials. A Texas farmer reported, “We replaced two trucks and four men with a Model 1045.”
Someone else out West used a Model 1020 to reduce the hay crew from five men to one and more than doubled the acreage of hay they could bale and stack.
The early models didn’t have a cab like the used model that sold in the recent auction. That model also used a small side unit on wheels, which attached to the main frame to pick up bales.
But in the end, the models from 50 years ago and today accomplished the same thing. They allowed one person to pick up hay out of the field without lifting a bale, and to stack it in a large stack without lifting a bale either.
If you want to learn more about the technology of yesterday, check out this article about the Massey-Harris self-propelled picker.
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