Farm implements, equipment, innovations sure to tempt at show

A rotating bale grapple is one of the featured products at this year’s Agri-Trade

tractor managing a bale
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Agri-Trade visitors be warned — you may be gripped by an urge to splurge.

Take, for example, the Haukaas Rotating Bale Grapple, one of this year’s winners of the show’s Ag Innovation award.

After watching the video showcasing the device, cattle producers who feed round bales may want to run out and buy one.

The exhibitor submissions in the seven-year-old contest are judged by a committee of farmers, who also selected Integrity Post Structures’ Perma-Column and John Deere’s Interactive Combine Adjustments as 2014 winners.

Haukaas Manufacturing was started 34 years ago by Greg Haukaas and his father on their family farm near Mortlach, Sask. The company has grown over time, and for the past 20 years, it has been an allied supplier to John Deere with one of their products.

The goal of the rotating grapple was to simplify and speed the process of unloading and stacking bales, said Haukaas.

“On average, an experienced operator can unload a 53-foot semi-trailer (carrying 30 bales) in 12 minutes,” he said.

With the grapple on the tractor, the operator is able to pick up two big round bales off the semi in a horizontal position, drive over to the bale stack, rotate them to a vertical position, and set them on the ground. When four bales are lined up as a set, the operator can then place two more horizontally on top to prevent weather damage. Known as “mushroom stacking,” this method reduces damage from ground moisture, keeps the net wrap from freezing to the ground, allows for more bales in a smaller area, and more precise placement makes the stacks more stable.

The device was also designed to be easy on the bales.

“The grapple is gentle on net wrap, unlike teeth on manure bucket grapples,” said Haukaas.

The rotating grapple requires an extra hydraulic remote in addition to the existing one to run the rotating part of the grapple. An inexpensive electric solenoid valve with a foot switch that shares the oil between grapple and rotating cylinder is also available, he said.

Currently there are no other rotating grapples on the market. Haukaas Manufacturing produces four different kinds: one-bale rotating and non-rotating and two-bale rotating and non-rotating.

Integrity Post Structures is a post-frame construction business founded in 2008 and based in Okotoks. The company started with one construction crew, but now has 17 crews and constructs about 400 buildings a year.

In 2009, co-owners Al Williams and Jerry Myer spotted the Perma-Column while attending the National Frame Building Association trade show in St. Louis. Although they had been in use in the United States for years, no one had investigated bringing them to Canada and the duo quickly secured the Canadian rights for distributing and manufacturing it.

wooden fence on concrete pillars
Keeping the wood frame off the ground along with special concrete makes building more durable, says Integrity Post Structures. photo: Integrity Post Structures

The Perma-Column is a five-foot-long precast concrete column paired with an engineered metal steel bracket, which is installed in the ground. This keeps a building’s wooden frame off the ground. The column is made with self-compacting concrete, which provides three times the strength of standard concrete. Microfibres and microsilica add shock resistance, durability, compressive strength, and erosion resistance. A corrosion inhibitor protects the rebar reinforcement from rusting, and a final admixture is added to give freeze/thaw protection.

Although, using the precast concrete column adds five to 10 per cent to the value of the building price, the value is in the longevity.

“Seventy-five per cent of the Integrity post-frame buildings sold today are being built with the premium Perma-Column,” said Williams.

“People who buy buildings feel they have added value with Perma-Column. It adds longevity and provides the building with a concrete foundation that other companies do not have with a wood foundation.”

The company’s five-year-old headquarters along Highway 2 at Okotoks was the first building in Canada to be built with the Perma-Column.

John Deere won for its Interactive Combine Adjustments, which allows a combine operator to select a harvest priority and specify which performance issue the machine should focus on — grain quality, straw condition or grain loss. The system will be available on all W, T and S-series combines and is integrated into the cab’s armrest display.

About the author


Jill Burkhardt

Jill Burkhardt, her husband, Kelly, and their two children, own and operate a mixed farm near Gwynne, Alberta. Originally hailing from Montana, she has a degree in Range Management from Montana State University. Jill’s agricultural passions are cattle and range management but she enjoys writing and learning more about all aspects of farming.



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