Retriever makes machinery moving easier


Safe and efficient Improvement in moving two-point and three-point hitch implements, combine headers and tillage tools

Prairie producers with fields spread over a wide area are transporting tractors on flatbeds and flat towing other implements with highway tractors.

The trend started when farmers with leased implements saw how much extra they were paying for the hours and miles while an implement was in transit. Loading it on a flatbed saves time on the clock and could keep money in the bank.

Producers who own all their equipment quickly saw the benefit in terms of reduced tire wear, fuel consumption and labour.

Highway tractors are intended to haul heavy loads down the roads. Farm implements are intended to work in the field. Most farmers have at least one highway tractor, so it makes sense to put the transit costs on the semi rather than the farm implement.

However, moving farm implements safely and efficiently can be a challenge without special transport equipment.

The Kansas-based sprayer manufacturer Bestway saw the need for special transport equipment designed specifically for farm implements, and recently introduced two new haulers.

Both haulers load the implement without depending on a combine, forklift, tractor or other frontend loader machine being on site.

The Bestway Retriever Self Loading Trailer was brought to market in 2010 as a totally self-contained moving device for combine heads and wide two-point or three-point implements. The trailer floor allows it to carry any other implement that will fit.

With its own 5.5 horsepower Honda gas engine coupled to a hydraulic system, the trailer is not only self-loading, but also self-contained, according to Bestway dealer Kellen Huber at Tristar Farms in Regina.

“With a conventional header trailer, you have to load the header onto the trailer with a loader, or you need the combine to lift the header,” says Huber.

“With the Retriever trailer, you don’t need any of that. You back the trailer up to the header, hook it to the lift arms or head adapter, lift it up off the ground, swing it around so it’s parallel with the trailer, then set it on the trailer.

“You can also pick a header up from a regular header trailer. Once it’s loaded, you drive to wherever you want it delivered, then reverse the process and set it back on the ground.

The head adapter is designed so loading and unloading is a single person operation. One adapter moves John Deere corn and small grain heads made since 1970, CaseIH new style heads since 2006 and New Holland heads since 2002. With the additional pin on arms, it converts to handle old style CaseIH and other brands. A separate adapter is used for Lexion headers.

Standard equipment includes hydraulic outriggers to stabilize the trailer during loading and unloading. Each outrigger has its own independent hydraulic control so the operator can compensate for uneven ground.

All hydraulic controls are at the rear of the trailer so the operator has a close view of what’s happening. From that position, he controls lift, the rotator motor and movement onto and off of the trailer.

The hydraulic system uses six inch by 12 inch, main lift cylinders, with three inch diameter cylinder rods.

The trailer is equipped with one set of hydraulic remote valves at the rear to be used for folding or unfolding winged implements before and after loading. The lower link arms have heavy-duty pintle-style latches that open wide for easier hookup.

There are a number of different sizes available, with the longest Retriever trailer capable of carrying a 49 foot header.

The trailer is available as a gooseneck, bumper hitch or highway tractor model. The gooseneck is extra high so the operator has a better view when backing up.

Depending on the size, carrying capacity and options, most Retriever Self-Loading Trailers list for less than $30,000.

The Bestway Retriever Transport Hitch is designed to quickly turn any tandem axle, semi tractor into a specialized agricultural implement towing vehicle for two-point equipment, three-point equipment and implements towed with a conventional tractor drawbar.

The Retriever Hitch features a hydraulic lift mast, CAT II and CAT III two-point hitch systems along with removable CAT II or CAT IV drawbar for towing large implements.

It handles large drills, grain carts, tillage tools and fertilizer applicators. However, the hitch does not handle combine heads.

The self-contained Honda powered hydraulic system eliminates the need for a wet kit on the semi. This lets the transport hitch easily move from tractor to tractor. It takes five minutes to install it on the semi.

The Retriever Hitch basically takes the entire hydraulic lift, rotate and placement assembly from the rear of the Retriever trailer and sets it on the fifth wheel of a highway tractor using a special frame.

Although he has only carried the Retriever Hitch for five months, Huber says he has already sold three units since Canada’s Farm Progress Show in Regina. The Retriever Hitch has a list price of about $10,000. There is a $500 cost saving if the tractor has a wet kit and doesn’t need the Honda self-contained system.

Contact Kellen Huber at 306-586-1603 or visit www.tristarfarms.com and www.bestway-inc.com.