Martin Dillon

2021 Machinery Innovator of the Year winner

M W Dillon,
Tilting bale spike,

Since his very own development of a titling bale spike, Aberdeenshire farmer Martin Dillon, has saved on time and is now no longer damaging bales when moving or loading them onto trailers.

Having used the bale spike on the forklift for three seasons now, the whole job has become more efficient, with bales now stacked three high on a trailer due to an increased lift height.

Based at Kirkmyres, Fraserburgh, Martin farms 304 acres along with his family, growing 90 acres of cereals and buying in dairy beef calves for finishing, with most of the tractor work carried out by Martin himself using his own machines.

Keen to make the movement and loading of bales more efficient but unable to find a suitable machine with a spike on the market, Martin decided to design and make his own product.

He used second-hand rear lift arms, a set of second-hand Manitou brackets and old steel leftover on the farm which was either off cuts from previous projects or bits of scrap waiting to be recycled.

The tilting bale spike allows the operator to pick up one bale, then tilt it upwards so that the second bale can be picked up without having to put the first bale back down.

Increased efficiency

Martin saw a similar piece of kit that cradled the bales but this method would prove difficult to stack the bales two or three high.

He believes the biggest advantage is that bales are not damaged as its unnecssary to drop them onto the ground or push them along to lift them up as you would with an ordinary forklift.

Over the course of a month, it took roughly 30 hours of labour to put the bale spike together, with a three-point linkage attached to fit securely between the forklift and the spike.

Since its completion in 2019, Martin have lifted 4,000 round bales of silage and 4,000 round bales of straw which have all been transported at a quicker rate, saving man hours and ultimately using less fuel.

At the moment, the machine is just for his own use but hopes to raise more awareness in the coming months.

At a glance: 

  • Mixed farming enterprise in Aberdeenshire
  • Sell-sufficient with machine work on farm
  • Tilting bale spike designed with £350 cost
  • Using surplus scrap metal on the farm
  • 30 hours of time over the course of a month
  • Transported 8000 round bales over three reasons