A new bale stacker literally wasn't working for the owner and employees of J & J Farming, Halsey, OR. “We used that stacker for one season, but it seemed like it spent more time in the shop than in the field,” recalls Glenn Shaum, J & J's shop foreman.

So they designed and built a better machine. “We have a fabricating facility here on the farm, so we're able to build some of our equipment.”

The stacker's large enough to handle twelve 3 × 4 × 8' bales. It can pick up 12 bales and place them back on the ground in a neat stack in five minutes or less.

“We can stack 1,500-1,800 bales/day and sometimes more,” says Shaum.

That efficiency and speed are what the folks at J & J need to handle many tons of grass straw each year.

“We're located in an area known as the grass seed capital of the world,” he says. “We grow some grass seed, but most of our work is for other growers. After they've combined their grass seed, we bale the straw. Those bales are then hauled to storage sheds and later to the pressing facility, where they're compressed, wrapped and put in shipping containers for export to Japan and Korea.”

Controlled by 16 hydraulic cylinders, the farm-built stacker has a two-section working table. The front section holds two bales; the rear section holds 10.

The machine has two sets of arms. One pair picks up a bale and sets it down in front of a second bale. Two longer arms pick up that bale, and the two bales are raised into the air. The working table's front section rises under the bales and a chain with a paddle pushes them onto the rear section.

The process is repeated until the table's rear section is full. The final two bales remain on the front section until the entire table is raised for unloading. The table rises a few degrees past a 90° angle, which helps the bales slide off as the operator pulls away.

The main frame and table sections are built from 3/8” steel tubing. The arms are, too, with heavy-wall steel pipe at their ends to guide and grab the bales.

The stacker has attracted attention from other growers, says Shaum, who's willing to explain the details. For more information, call him at 541-466-5070.