Reading Gerald Potterton’s article last week about the new JCB TM 320 that he purchased last August has inspired me to write about my own new piece of kit.

I don’t buy machinery too often, but when I do, there will be no expense spared - all the bells and whistles and available options will be added.

Two weeks ago, I took delivery of a brand new out-of-the-box Fleming double bale lifter. I know it’s a bit extravagant, but you have to spoil yourself every now and then.

Believe it or not, this is the first bale lifter that I have actually owned. Up until a few years ago, bales were very much a secondary option on the farm.

First and second cuts were put into the pit and it was only a few paddocks here and there - too strong for grazing - that were baled and I had always got a lend of my cousin’s bale lifter to draw those in.

Old pit

However, over the past few years, I’ve found myself baling the second cut, mostly down to the fact that I only have one silage pit, so the cover has to be taken off to put the second cut on top of the first.

And the pit is old with fairly low walls, so you ideally need an army of people to try to keep the sides tidy as the silage is going in or it’s a nightmare to get it straightened up afterwards. And that army of people is getting very hard to get.

That, coupled with the introduction of red clover silage to the farm and the fact that I bought a new tractor and loader three years ago, which allowed me to easily and safely stack bales in the yard, which obviously means I can fit more bales in the same space, has meant that I am now making more bales than I used to.

I was working with a bale stacker on the loader and my cousin's bale lifter on the back, two bales at a time, and I thought I was doing well. But one of my silage fields is over a mile away from the yard and a round trip takes about 15 minutes.

At eight bales per hour and usually somewhere between 40 and 60 bales on the field each time depending on the crop, it was still taking quite some time to clear that field, as an all-night episode in May of last year demonstrated.


I was having the conversation with the man who mows my grass for baling and he offered me a lend of his double bale lifter for my subsequent cuts last year and, of course, taking three bales at a time instead of two is only going to help speed things up.

So, I decided this year to invest in my own and stop torturing my neighbours and cousin.

I am still getting a lend of the bale stacker unfortunately, but the man who owns it has had a lend of my post driver for the past five or six years, so I suppose we can call it even.