Grower builds automated trailer. If you have trouble maintaining control of the TV remote control, here's another one to fight over.

After working on the concept more than 15 years, Will Cheatham, Chandler, TX, patented a totally self-contained 10-bale trailer for loading and unloading big bales. To operate it, he simply pushes a few buttons on a pocket-sized remote control.

Cheatham's trailer, which he calls the Hay Hawg, is different from most in that round bales are loaded two wide and flat side down. That's a concept he's patented. He says bales ride better that way and are easier to load and unload.

What really makes the Hay Hawg unique, though, is the remote-controlled, self-contained hydraulic system that operates the bale pickup arms (one on each side of the trailer). It also runs the conveyor chain that moves the loaded bales away from the pickup area and unloads them, too.

Power for the hydraulic system comes from an on-board, Honda single-cylinder gasoline engine.

"Everything is on the trailer," Cheatham explains. "That includes the engine, hydraulic system, and all the electronics and switches operated by the remote control. There are no wires or messy hydraulic hoses to connect."

All that's needed to operate a Hay Hawg is a 31/44-ton 4 x 4 pickup with a gooseneck hitch. The trailer can easily be moved from truck to truck. Or it can be pulled by a tractor with a fifth-wheel ball on its three-point hitch.

"It makes picking up and hauling big bales the easiest job in the hayfield," Cheatham says. He notes that his wife, Pam, helped field-test the trailer and jokes that he had to arm wrestle her for the control once or twice.

Once all the patents were obtained, Cheatham showed his idea to Rick Scott of Scott Manufacturing, Lubbock, TX. Scott knew about cotton handling equipment, but had no experience with hay handling trailers.

"He looked at the trailer and saw the potential, though," says Cheatham. As a result, Cheatham assigned the patents to Scott's company.

"They built more prototypes and did a lot of additional research and development," he adds.

It'll handle both round and rectangular bales, although a little more care is needed with rectangular bales, particularly when unloading. "With a little practice, you can actually drop the bales into two tight rows, so you don't need a tractor and bale fork to stack them," says Cheatham.

Scott Manufacturing began production of Hay Hawg trailers this past fall. A one-bale-wide, five-bale version is being produced. An attachment is in the works that will make handling big rectangular bales even easier.

For more information, contact Tim Gregson, Scott Manufacturing, Inc., P.O. Box 10232, Lubbock, TX 79408. Phone: 806-747-3395.