Save Time and Fuel While Improving Your Feed Quality. BuckRake: The Most Effective Tool for Moving High Volumes of Silage
Published on Thu, 01/24/2019 - 11:57am
Save Time and Fuel While Improving Your Feed Quality.
BuckRake: The Most Effective Tool for Moving High Volumes of Silage.
By Steve Weisman.
Corn silage and haylage are important feeds for dairy producers. However, most will agree it can be a stressful, as well as costly endeavor to produce high quality forage within the short weather windows in which farmers operate. Time is of the essence, and producers are constantly facing the dilemma of what is the most efficient way to prepare and pack newly cut silage and haylage into the storage bunker, or drive-over pile so that the forage is stored and that spoilage is kept to a minimum. It’s really a pretty tall task, but BuckRake USA (http://www.buckrakeusa.com) located in Westford, Vermont offers an answer that is fast, efficient and cost/time effective.
Over four years ago, Mark Letorney, who with his wife and son own Rovers North, opened the BuckRake USA division after seeing what the BuckRake could do. “We found that the BuckRake was the primary haylage tool used in Europe, and after studying them and watching them work, we wanted to introduce this to the American dairy producer.” Letorney found that the BuckRake is ideal for building high quality silage/haylage piles and is much more efficient than a blade or a bucket.
In essence, the BuckRake is an enormous pitchfork with a hydraulic push off gate that meters out feed in even layers. As a result you are carrying your feed instead of bull dozing it. This makes the job faster and less stressful. With up to a 4.5-ton capacity, BuckRake moves more feed with each pass, out performing larger blades on larger tractors. This results in lower input costs to the farmer.
Letorney says over the past four years, more and more dairy producers and custom harvesters have become sold on the benefits of the BuckRake. “We spent our first year testing the BuckRake on all types of machines, in all types of conditions. We instructed users not to be easy on it. We needed to know its limits. The BuckRake tines are made of Hardox steel rated at 3 times the strength of ordinary steel, and we wanted to make sure they would stand up to farmers’ eventual encounters with the concrete walls and floors used in storage bunks. We also wanted to expose it to inexperienced operators to confirm it was indeed easy to operate. That’s when after a full season of testing a friendly custom operator refused to give one back. He was buying our prototype right then and there! Now four years later, he’s still using it. The BuckRake is simple, over-built and extremely durable.”
According to Letorney, farmers appreciate the BuckRake’s ability to evenly spread an entire truckload in just one pass allowing operators more time to pack between trucks. For best results, haylage needs to be evenly distributed in 3” to 5” layers and then compacted to preserve the highest feed value possible. Using a BuckRake eliminates spoilage caused by the lumps and balling that occur so often with blades.
Tom Coddington, a sixth-generation farmer near Melbourne, Quebec purchased a BuckRake last April. He has six bunkers 40’ x 225’ with 16’ high walls, four of which are filled with corn silage and two with haylage. It used to take five machines to load and pack the bunkers. Now with the BuckRake, it’s down to one machine to pack, while the BuckRake distributes and layers the silage/haylage. After one season, Coddington is totally impressed with the BuckRake. “It does all that I hoped and more. I reached out to BuckRakeUSA, and they were able to get the BuckRake to me. It has incredible strength. Yet it is easy to learn and easy to teach others how to use it. It does a marvelous job of spreading the silage/haylage evenly all across the bunker. There is no spoilage.”
The BuckRake comes in three widths 8’ (with 10 tines), 10’ (with 12 tines) and 12’ (with 14 tines). Each unit has two strong steel tines on each side that help keep the silage intact on the load. Its unique hydraulic pushoff provides smooth even distribution of silage. This movement, along with the strong side tines, ensure that the silage is pushed forward at a rate and depth controlled by the operator.
Easy set up. The BuckRake 3-point mounting system quickly mounts to your tractor’s front, or rear 3-point linkage and requires a single SCV hydraulic circuit to operate. Designed for use with a manual, or hydraulic top link. The BuckRake 5 top mounting holes allow for the perfect articulation range. Complete with attachment pins, hydraulic lines and quick couplers, BuckRake is supplied completely assembled and easily installs onto your tractor in minutes.
Letorney adds that there is little downtime during the silage filling process. “Many times when a bucket or blade is used, the trucks delivering the silage often have to wait. Operating a tractor with a BuckRake will always keep ahead of the trucks. At the same time, so many of our customers talk about how little horsepower it takes to move haylage because you are carrying the feed not smearing it like a dozer, so it is really easy on your tractor.”
Twin 75mm hydraulic cylinders balanced through a divider valve allow for smooth powerful silage push off without effecting your tractor’s power while lifting, or climbing. This results in noticeable fuel savings and increased traction while working in haylage. The BuckRake moves volume without the twisting action associated with blades, or loaders eliminating adverse side loads on the tractor’s frame. As a result, this equates to way less fuel usage and less stress on the tractor.
Scott Magnan has been a custom harvester in Vermont for over 20 years. Each year he works with approximately 10 customers who want corn silage and haylage put up. So, time is a precious commodity. Four years ago, Magnan purchased a 10’ BuckRake. It has increased his efficiency. “Loading and moving the silage/haylage is so much easier. You don’t have to work the tractor as hard. You can slow down the rpms, which cuts down on the wear and tear of the tractor and really cuts the amount of fuel used. In the three years of using the BuckRake, I have experienced $0 in repairs.”
BuckRakes are currently in use in the United States from Maine to Wisconsin as well as Eastern Canada. “We are expanding our BuckRake business in a steady and controlled manner so we can continue to provide excellent customer service to our farmers and dealers. Our goal is to help dairy farmers be successful, giving them that extra edge to help make their operations more efficient and profitable.”
For more information contact Allen Frey: Allen@buckrakeusa.com or call (802) 999-4263.