For ranchers and farmers who have postponed buying a hay trailer due to rain, the time to act is now. Further delay may leave you waiting 6-12 weeks, or settling for a lesser trailer, just as peak summer hay season hits.
Ag pros know how hard it is to do without a needed hay trailer during peak season because the dealer does not have their top choice in stock. Then it can be a mad scramble to buy any equipment, even an unreliable brand or a flatbed, to bring in the bales and clear the fields.
Inefficient or undependable hay trailers can be costly. When baling hay, particularly the first cutting, leaving bales sitting in the field can stunt or kill the grass, and make it difficult to achieve healthy second and third cuttings. Unreliable trailers that break down when they are needed are even more costly and can jeopardize the quality and quantity of the entire hay growing operation.
Instead of being caught unprepared and needing a hay trailer during the busiest season of the year, proactive ranchers and farmers are now planning ahead. To optimize production, they are working with their dealers and ordering prior to peak seasonal backlogs.
While manufacturers try to ease the shortage of top hay trailer brands during peak season, waiting too long is a recipe for doing without.
Every year, for instance, the manufacturer of the Red Rhino hay trailer, GoBob Pipe & Steel (www.gobobpipe.com), builds hay trailers all winter and usually has a hundred or more in stock by mid-April. But by July, that stock is all sold and customers are forced onto a waiting list.
“Each year before the season starts, we pile up more hay trailers than the previous year, and every year we still run out,” says Bob Studebaker, owner of GoBob. “The backlog during seasonal demand is an industry-wide issue, and it has been particularly bad the last two years.”
The seasonal crush also causes logistical problems. “Because everyone wants their hay trailers at once, friends, relatives, and friends of friends are often recruited to help make deliveries,” says Studebaker. “Don’t be surprised if I am the one delivering your hay trailer this summer.”
Because clearing bales from the fields fast and efficiently is a priority, one of the most popular categories today are self-unloading hay trailers.
Loading bales on a flatbed truck not only requires securing them to the flatbed but also tractors are needed to load and unload the bales. If the same tractor is used to load and unload, it has to be hauled back and forth. This wastes time for those waiting at the hay lot for it to arrive.
“With self-unloading hay trailers like the Red Rhino, there is no need to strap hay down because they sit in a cradle so they are safe and will not roll off,” says Studebaker. “On a trailer like this, you pull a lever and it unloads itself in seconds so you are headed right back to get the next load.”
Such self-unloading hay trailers also make it unnecessary to have a second tractor to unload bales. This way a single tractor can be efficiently used to load bales, rather than having to be hauled back and forth to load and unload bales.
Make It Reliable
One of the worst case scenarios of waiting too long to order a needed hay trailer is having to settle for an off brand, unreliable brand, or whatever the dealer may have in stock. Unfortunately, such equipment may not be built with the durability required to clear the fields of bales – or keep it out of the repair shop – when you need it most.
For ranchers and farmers who do not want to worry about anyone tearing up their equipment, it is best to consider a hay trailer that is built to last like the Red Rhino. Besides an extra wide 5’ frame and double latches, for extra strength, this trailer uses more steel in the cradle, neck, axles, main tube, and rail supports.
“Reliability and dependability are the main reasons this trailer has remained a top seller. But if you want your first choice of trailer, you better order quickly before they are sold out,” adds Studebaker