Tuskan clamp takes risk out of bale handling

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Distributed by Kerfab, the Tuskan bale clamp offers additional safety to farmers with no strings attached

Simple in its design and purpose but extremely versatile in its capabilities, the Tuskan bale clamp is a gamechanger for farmers.

Designed and built in Australia, specifically the New South Wales town of Cowra, the Tuskan was initially devised as a way of increasing safety when loading hay bales into mixers.

In simple terms, the ability to clamp a bale with the Tuskan allows farmers to cut strings off a bale without needing to lean over the top of a mixer while it is operating and therefore risk their safety.

The clamp can widen to nine feet, to handle a variety of bale sizes

"Loading mixers safely was the initial kickoff," explains farmer Phillip Wallace, who was heavily involved in the Tuskan’s design and testing.

"That relates to hay mixers like the dairies use, the tub mixers, and putting a big bale in them.

"The aim is cutting the strings off the bale without the bale falling to pieces, and we saw a gap to do that safely from within the tractor without needing to get out.

"I got the idea from forklifts loading wool bales. All they did was come outside the bale, squeeze it, and then lift it up and put it on the truck. They put one on top of the other and put two or three on.

"I thought ‘why can’t we do that with hay?’ but perhaps not use the paddles they have on forklifts, so we just put two spikes, like hay spikes, which go in and out hydraulically and that will clamp the bale."

While the advantage of a product that increases safety is obvious, the Tuskan has also been designed for ease-of-use and to adapt to all sizes and densities of bale.

The spikes can lift a bale as well as squeeze the hay together

According to Wallace, the process of getting a hay bale safely into the mixer is simple.

"You put the bale on the ground and put your Tuskan spikes outside it," he says.

"That means you just widen it out and come in just outside the bale, which is normally eight feet long [2.4m] maximum.

"The Tuskan goes to nine feet [2.7m] so you just put it outside the bale, go and cut the strings and pull the strings off.

"If the bale is really tight, it will bounce out to the spikes and is kept together within the spikes. If it’s doughy or light, it will just sit there.

"Regardless, you just squeeze the spikes hydraulically from in the cabin and squeeze the bale just like you do with a wool bale, pick it up and hold it over the top of the mixer.

"Generally you would have the mixer going, but you don’t have to, and spread the spikes.

"Bit by bit the hay falls out from between the spikes and down into the mixer."

Another advantage of the Tuskan is its ability to be used in multiple ways – such as a spike, clamp, grab, fork and prong.

The Tuskan can pick items up using whichever method is required, depending on the preferred access angle and looseness of the item in question.

The clamp is multipurpose, able to lift anything from hay and wool to tractor tyres

A further example of the Tuskan’s versatility, Wallace says, is that it can be used even without a full bale.

"You can do it with a half bale and spear it halfway through the middle with the spikes closed in somewhat, and then close them up again and pick half a bale up and put it in the mixer, just by clamping it hydraulically and dropping it in," he says.

The Tuskan has become quite a versatile all-round tool, with Wallace explaining several other uses that were found for the machine since its original development.

"After we’d had them for a few years, we ended up using them for all sorts of things," he says.

"It’s amazing what you can use it for – fitting tyres is one thing and loading wool on trucks.

"We have a paddle that slides over the two prongs at either end and that gives you a nice flat sheet and you can squeeze a bale of wool and pick it up.

"For something like tyres we just use the spikes, but you can pick a big tractor tyre and rim up off the ground and go and put it on your tractor.

"It’s very hard to manage and handle tyres with front end loaders and chains, but with this you can place it exactly where you want it, take it off and put it back on.

"It’s a very versatile and multi-purpose tool. It’s not until you have one that you realise how much you can use it for.

"I’ve never spoken to anyone who has gone for one and hasn’t raved about them."

The Tuskan bale clamp is available through attachments manufacturer Kerfab.

The clamp provides a convenient system for loading hay into a bin

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