Safety gains for dirty job with new gadget
Farmhand were in touch recently to tell us about a handy little gadget they are now selling that could make life easier (and cleaner) for farmers faced with a winter of feeding round bales.
The Hayknife is priced at €35 plus VAT and designed to facilitate the easy and safe opening of wrapped bales or fertiliser bags, allowing the operator to stand at arm's length while performing the task.
The Hayknife consists of a long plastic handle featuring a hand grip, with a standard Stanley blade mounted on the business end. The Stanley cutting blade is easily replaceable should it become damaged or worn.
I used it over the weekend and for me the Hayknife's strengths are its hygiene and safety advantages. The long reach of the device allows the operator to perform cutting tasks without working under a suspended load, be it wrapped bales, bulk fertiliser or bulk bags of meal/gravel etc.
This removes the risk of having the bale or fertiliser bag fall on top of the farmer and cause a crush injury, which are unfortunately very common during the winter months.
Removing bale wrap is also a notoriously messy task. It is difficult to avoid getting silage effluent on your overall sleeves or hands. This device could help because it allows you to maintain a distance from the bale while initially opening it.
The knife edge folds out of the way when you are finished, and the Hayknife can be stored in the tractor or in the yard. At about 60cm long, it won't fit into any old tractor cab cubby hole in the way a smaller knife would. But the Hayknife's length is what gives it its leverage and safety advantages over the usual practice.
The product can be purchased from machinery wholesalers Farmhand Ltd, or from its parts division, see fastparts.ie.