Farm-built bale unroller wins Highland Show innovation award

The practical and “green” attributes of a simple farm-built bale unroller have been recognised by the judges of a technical innovation award to be presented at the Royal Highland Show, which is being held on 22-25 June.

Farming cattle and deer at Hawick in the Scottish Borders, the Mitchell family adopted an outwintering beef system at Whitriggs Farm to avoid the labour, machinery, diesel and other input costs associated with winter housing.

“The bale unroller is a key part of this approach because we can outwinter a large group of cattle with only an ATV to take silage to them,” explains Stuart Mitchell. “Housing them would involve a lot more time and inputs.”

See also: Bale unrollers: Options and prices

The Whitriggs Bale Unroller is reversed up to a round bale with the pivoting lift frame positioned so that lengthy spikes on either side can be pushed into the core.

A hand winch and strap then tilt the frame to lift the bale off the ground.

Out in the field, the bale netting is cut and pulled off and the bale lowered to the ground so that it unrolls as the outfit is driven forward.

“We’re not using a heavy, fuel-thirsty tractor on our pastures when they’re at their most vulnerable,” says Stuart.

“Putting out silage across the field rather than in a ring feeder gives the animals plenty of space, and their muck and any spoilage from the bale is distributed evenly, adding organic matter that should help reduce fertiliser input in future.”

Examples of the bale unroller, which will be displayed alongside other award winners next to the new Agri Innovation Arena at the show, are built in the farm workshop and sell for £1,800 each.

More prize winners

Other silver medals in the Royal Highland Show’s technical innovation awards will go to Eadie Bros & Co for the ClipFitter lamb castration and tailing device, and to HL Hutchinson for the SoilOptix TerraMap soil mapping system.

Water Fuel Engineering will also receive a silver medal for its HydroGen vehicle-mounted device producing a 2:1 mix of hydrogen and oxygen, which is used as an additive and is said to enhance the performance of a diesel or petrol engine while reducing emissions by 70-80%.

Need a contractor?

Find one now