The clamp on bucket forks attachments provide a means of leaving the bucket on your tractor loader and easily converting the bucket to handle bale spears, pallet forks, or a receiver hitch for trailers.
Bucket attachments hold the load out in front of the loader bucket. The loader must have a lift capacity 1000 lbs. greater than the weight of the bale, pallet, trailer, or load to be handled. If the loader does NOT have this capacity, then a different attachment that requires the removal of the bucket should be considered. Never lift a load that will jeopardize the structural integrity of your bucket.
NOTE: The maximum load for the attachment is at the pivot point of loader and is as follows:
Top Bucket Hitch Receiver
Light Duty Pallet Forks
Medium Duty Pallet Forks
Heavy Duty Pallet Forks
5 Spear Ultra Fork
7 Spear Ultra Fork
52" Debris Fork
60" Debris Fork
Square Bale Spear
Round Bale Spear
Tractor and Loader Requirements and Preparation
The required size of the tractor and front loader will be determined by the size and weight of the loads to be handled.
Remember, high moisture hay (silage) bales are very heavy in relation to similar size dry hay bales.
Always use a tractor and front loader large enough to safely handle bales.
Check your tractor and front loader to make sure they are in good working condition. Check all frame mounting bolts to make sure they are tight.
Loaders that attach to the tractor frame rails should have a crosstie installed for stability.
Check the hydraulic system. Be sure the tractor hydraulic oil and filter have been serviced according to the tractor manufacturer's recommendations.
The operator is responsible for the safe operation of this equipment. The operator must be properly trained. Operators should be familiar with the tractor, attachment, and all safety practices before starting operation.
Tractor Safety Warnings
Be sure your tractor is in good condition and properly equipped with counter weights. Read all safety precautions and make sure all tractor operators are familiar with the safety rules of tractor operation.
A heavy load can cause instability in driving a tractor. Make sure the front or rear of the tractor is properly counter balanced with weights. Always drive slowly - especially around turns. An unstable tractor could steer badly and possibly tip over, causing injury or death.
The use of loader bucket forks attachments is NOT recommended on tractors with a tricycle wheel arrangement. Tricycle type tractors are unstable for front loader use.
Do not exceed the maximum recommended large round bale weight listed for each of the loader spear models. Damage to the equipment or serious personal injury could result.
Power unit must be equipped with ROPS or ROPS cab and seat belt. Keep seat belt securely fastened. Falling off power unit can result in death from being run over or crushed. Keep foldable ROPS systems in "locked up" position at all times.
Installation of Quick Attach Clamp-On Units
Always check your loader to make sure it is in good working order.
Unscrew handle(s) or bolt(s) to allow enough space to slide over your bucket.
Slide the clamp-on attachment over the bucket to the proper location.
Make sure you slide the attachment all the way back. The 1 ?" rod bar on the attachment should be flush with your bucket front edge.
Tighten handle(s) or bolt(s) until the attachment is securely attached to your bucket.
Safety Warning for Bucket Attachment - DO NOT operate loader if attachment is not securely fastened to the loader bucket. Always check and tighten the attachment before each use. If loose, the bale and attachment could come off the loader bucket creating a dangerous situation that could lead to personal injury or death.
Bucket Forks and Pallet Forks Operation
The operator is responsible for the safe operation of the bucket forks and/or pallet forks. Operators should be familiar with the attachment, tractor, loader, and all safety practices before starting operation.
Make sure all operators have read the Owner's/Operator's Manual and are familiar with the instructions and the safety rules of operation.
Be sure tractor is properly counterbalanced with weights before attempting to lift any load with the bale spear, pallet forks, or receiver attachment.
If you are handling loads with both the front-end loader and the 3-point hitch on the tractor, always load the 3-point attachment first and unload last.
Using the bucket tilt cylinders, adjust the angle of the spear(s) so they are parallel with the center of the hay bale.
With the tractor, push the spear(s) into the large hay bale. Make sure you have penetrated the hay bale far enough so the bale doesn't want to come off the end of the spear(s). If, when you initially pick the bale up, it tends to droop forward, this would indicate you have not penetrated the bale far enough.
Tilt the ends of the bale spear(s) upward (about 15-20 degrees) when transporting the hay bales. This will reduce any tendency for the bale to slide off the spear(s) while being transported.
When you have placed the hay bale in the desired location, it is recommended to tilt the spear ends slightly downward (5-7 degrees) so as you pull away from the bale it will slide off the spear(s) more easily. Different location and circumstances will determine the best withdraw angle to use.
Always make sure bale spear fully penetrates the bale. Partial penetration forces all the weight of the bale on the outer end and can damage spear. Not covered under warranty.
In cold weather, a bale frozen to the ground may exceed the lifting capacity of spear and loader. Damage to spear or loader may occur. Not covered under warranty.
Soft center bales will tend to droop after being lifted by a single spear. Placing the spear in a lower position in the bale will allow for more lifting height and lessen the load on the stabilizer spears.
Square Hay Bale Spear.
Click here for information on square and round bale hay feeders.
Pallet Forks and Hay Bale Spear Warnings
Always insert spears into the bale - NEVER under the bale. Failure to insert spears into bale can allow bale to roll back when loader is raised, causing serious injury or death.
Slide the individual pallet forks to the correct width for load to be handled.
When correct width setting is obtained, tighten c-clamps securely.
Use pallet forks adjusted to maximum width possible to increase load stability. Use receiver in center of bucket to increase load stability.
Never exceed the lift capacity of the tractor-loader used with the spear or loader pallet forks attachment.
Beware of low electrical wires when loader is raised. Serious injury or death can result if contact is made.
When stacking bales, ALWAYS MAKE SURE BALES ARE PLACED SO THE STACK IS STABLE.
Keep all bystanders at a safe distance. REMEMBER THAT FALLING BALES CAN ROLL OR TUMBLE.
Handle Loads Safely
Improper use of loaders to handle workloads can result in serious injury or death to the operator. The load tumbling back down the loader into the operator's station could cause this.
For optimum stability and visibility:
Become familiar with controls.
Be sure anyone operating the loader is aware of safe operation and potential hazards. Read and observe safety recommendations in loader manual. Operate loader from operator's seat only. Remain at controls until operating cycle is complete. Do not handle loads that exceed the weight limitations of the loader. Carry loads slowly and as low as possible to the ground.
Operate the loader hydraulic controls smoothly, avoiding jerky operation.
When handling round bales on a slope, always approach the bale with the power unit facing uphill.
Never use the tractor/loader to stop a rolling bale. Only use tractor forks or power units equipped with a ROPS cab or rollover protective structure.
Stop loader gradually when lowering or lifting loads.
Use particular care when working on inclines and hillsides.
Avoid holes, ditches, and obstructions, which may cause tractor/loader to tip.
Allow for additional length of loader on tractor while turning.
Never allow anyone to walk or work under a raised loader.
Be sure that people, livestock, or pets are not standing near the machine while operating.
Do not use the loader for a work platform.
Do not lift or carry anyone on loader, attachment, or in bucket.
Travel slowly over rough ground or when making turns.
Drive slowly through gates and doors.
Avoid carrying loose loads or loads that can shift.
Lower bucket or attachment to ground when loader is unattended.
For operator safety, always keep bales in front of tractor hood. NEVER position bale over operator. ALWAYS BE CAREFUL!
When working on side hills, DO NOT RAISE LOADER TOO HIGH. Keep an eye on terrain changes. Keep load low.
When stacking hay bales or loading vehicles, make sure you are operating in an area AWAY FROM OVERHEAD WIRES.
Reference: This article is excerpted with permission from International Agricultural Manufacturing, LLC's Owner's/Operator's Manual, 2010.
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