Double bale handler is “one of a kind”, contractor says
10th January 2024
Buckinghamshire farmer Michael McDermott bought the TR-8 bale handler at LAMMA 2023 to increase the speed of operation on the contracting side of the business. But the machine also offers a range of additional benefits – including making it “virtually impossible” to damage bales.
Michael O’Sullivan, who runs the contracting business at Mansfield Farm in Iver Heath, said unloading bales in the yard was slowing down the process as they couldn’t get the trailers back quickly enough to reload.
After learning more about the “unique” TR-8 bale handler from JM Agri Design at LAMMA 2023, Mr McDermott made the decision to purchase one there and then – and it’s doubled the business’s output. “It was the missing part of the operation we had,” said Mr O’Sullivan.
The TR bale handling range was initially developed by engineer Joe Moynihan, to reduce bale damage on his own family farm in Ireland. Unlike other bale handlers, it uses a patented over-arm design which significantly reduces damage to plastic wrap on the bales and improves visibility.
It also has much higher output than a conventional handler – increasing efficiency by 25–115% depending on the model – which has made the range attractive to contractors and farmers alike.
Having proved highly popular in Ireland, the range officially became available UK-wide at LAMMA 2023. It consists of three models: The TR-3 single bale handler for tractor loaders, the TR-4 for loading shovels and telehandlers, and the flagship TR-8 machine, which is a double bale handler.
“No other machine like it”
Mr O’Sullivan chose the TR-8 for its superior speed and output, and uses it with his JCB telehandler for both round and square bales. He believes: “It’s the only machine if you want to move bales fast”. Two friends of his who saw the machine in action have gone on to purchase the other models in the range, the TR-3 and TR-4.
Based in Iver Heath, Mr O’Sullivan’s business does digestate work, round and square bales and muck spreading, alongside the family beef farm. Seven months on from the TR-8 arriving on site, he estimates it has handled around 4,000 bales.
Asked how it compares to more conventional bale handlers, he said: “It’s one of a kind, there’s no other bale handler on the market that can do two bales at a time. There’s a bit more thought into the design of it; it’s virtually impossible to damage a bale with it. I would go as far as to say it’s well ahead of its competitors in that respect.”
Mr O’Sullivan added: “It’s very straightforward – there’s nothing complicated about it, it’s easy to use and everyone can drive it.”
Additionally, while the machine has a very robust build, it’s still quite light and has an in-cab control box which allows each arm to be operated independently or in tandem – which he feels is a “brilliant feature”.
Originally from Ireland, where the product was developed, Mr O’Sullivan said he had heard a lot about JM Agri Design from his friends back home.
The service from the company has also been very positive, he added. “Joe is very nice to deal with, there’s no hassle with him. I got another two machines out there in the area for him because you don’t mind helping someone like that out.”
Key features of the TR range
The TR range can comfortably put through 100,000+ bales without any issues, compared to 20,000–30,000 with a conventional handler, which has been a “big winner” for contractor customers, Joe Moynihan said.
The machines are able to grip round bales on the flat faces where there is more than double the plastic wrap. The range can also approach a round bale from any direction, unlike other bale handlers which can only be approached from one side. And it’s possible to switch from handling round to square bales of any size without any adjustments.
The over-arm design additionally means it can grip bales at any angle. The arm supports two large rotating rollers to ensure bales are handled without risk of damaging the plastic wrap. These rollers, along with all other pivot points, have composite bushings and grease points fitted as standard. A check valve is also fitted as standard on all TR bale handlers to ensure a consistent grip is maintained on the bale, for safe transportation and minimum damage.
Machines come with a full-year warranty and spare parts are stocked in the UK for next-day delivery. For more information or to order visit the JM Agri Design website
Stand number: Hall 9, Stand 456