Farmer Brent learns about leverage

…but forgets to take a photo.

Where you park a trailer of hay affects how easy it is to unload. The first time you park it you get something wrong and it is a pain to unload. This helps you get really motivated to improve things for the next time. With each successive trailer load things get more optimal. [Then you find a place you are comfortable with and never change again, ever. It becomes the way we do things around here.]

You can make some mistakes getting to that point. The smart thing to do when you’ve parked a trailer in a difficult place is to hook it back up and move it somewhere better. The dumb thing to do is to just make the best of it because you don’t want to ‘waste’ the effort of hooking and unhooking it.

The first time I parked the trailer across one of the doors of the the chai (our big barn, the former wine store of the farm). I figured I could manoeuver inside the barn and just stick the loader of the tractor outside to pick up a bale and reverse back in. I parked the trailer by one door and drove in the other. Turning around inside was a bit tricky but you get used to that. It doesn’t take long to learn the corners of the tractor and the posts of the building.

Picking up the first bale I noticed a problem. I had easy access to the six bales on the front but it was going to be tricky getting to the five bales on the back. Ah well, I thought, I’ll worry about that later. So I worked my way through the first few bales.

As I raised the tractor’s fork to pick up the sixth bale, the front of the trailer raised with it. For a second I wondered what in the world was going on. The front lifted about 45 degrees into the air and stopped with a crunch. The five bales at the back were heavy enough to tilt the trailer back on its axle despite the axle being way at the back.

Pushing the down with the loader dropped the trailer, and I unloaded that sixth bale but it didn’t help. The load had shifted enough to the rear that the extra 300kg wasn’t changing things. The tractor tilted back up as I raised the fork. So I picked up bale six again and wiggled the tractor to get the bale positioned above the very front of the trailer. I pushed down with the loader, brought the trailer back down and managed to get bale six off the fork while holding down the trailer. The 300kg sitting at the front of the trailer was enough to keep it flat on the ground so I could unload the rear.

I looked for damage on the trailer: there was none. The Cosnet folk are smart enough to design it for moronic behavior. For later loads I figured out a better place to park. But the big lesson of the day was this: When stuff goes wrong, take a photo. I went through all that embarrassment but have no cool photo to show for it.

3 thoughts on “Farmer Brent learns about leverage

  1. Susan Lea says:

    Oh my goodness, I’m so glad to know somebody else does dumb stuff, too! I can even picture it without the photo. Of course, if you had our little trailer that only holds two bales plus one in the bed of the pick-up, you wouldn’t have had a story. Of course, you wouldn’t have had time to write one because you’d have spent all day making trips back and forth to get 11 bales! If we ever get a big trailer, I’ll definitely remember your story!

  2. bc says:

    Josh, you remain the cheekiest person I know with the possible exception of Minty.

    Susan, part of me wants to create haystacks to stop moving all these bales around. Some folk do stack them in the field under a tarp or even out in the open. They lose the outer few inches but those round bales do a good job of shedding water.

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