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Copyright 2013 Rocky Mountain Rider. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Reproduction of any editorial material, artwork and photos is strictly forbidden without express written permission of the publisher. For information about reprint rights, please contact the editor; editor@rockymountainrider.com.

 

Putting up Hay with an

Overshot Stacker


Story and photos by Pat Hansen, Avon , MT

 

September 2013 issue  

 

Overshot Hay Stacker

Claudia Hrebicek of Victor , Montana , drives the stacker team lifting hay onto the stack with an overshot stacker. Claudia’s team are two “PMU babies” that she bought as weanlings in Alberta , Canada . They are Percheron/Quarter Horse/Thoroughbred crosses and she says that they are “not quite matched” as one is a little bigger than the other. They are now 15 and 13 years old.

 

      Over time many methods have been used for making hay stacks including the Overshot Stacker like one demonstrated at Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site in Deer Lodge, Montana recently.

      My husband, Larry, and I visited the Grant-Kohrs Ranch in July to watch the haying demonstration. Usually they use a beaverslide but this year decided to use an overshot stacker.

      I had never seen one work, although Larry worked with one when he was younger. It is quite labor intensive because most of the hay has to be pitched into place, but the guys standing around reminiscing said it was a huge improvement from pitching all the hay.

 

Five teams of horses and volunteer teamsters, as well as other volunteers, helped with the haying demonstration at Grant-Kohrs Ranch NHS on a summer afternoon. Three men drove buckrakes (like the loaded one on the left and the empty one leaving the stack) to push large bunches of hay onto the fork of the stacker, one man and his team raked up leftover hay and the stacker team pulled the loads up, until the arms were perpendicular and the hay dropped off the forks onto the stack.

 

      The Overshot Stacker, invented by John Deere Co. in the 1930s, has forks mounted at the end of two long arms attached to pulley and cable system. It is powered by horses to raise the arms and their attached forks upright, dumping the load onto the stack where it is moved into position by individuals wielding pitch forks.

      The stackers were commonly used until the 1950s and old-timers who watched the process reminisced about their experiences of putting up hay in this manner.

      Traditionally a stack formed by an overshot did not have a framework of backstops as pictured and, as it dropped off the forks, the hay spread out making the stacks wider than the one being made in this photo. They recalled that as a stack built up, the overshot was moved forward, allowing the crew to build a long stack.

            Although labor intensive, “it sure beats how we did it before,” one fellow remarked.

 

 

 

Copyright 2013 Rocky Mountain Rider. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Reproduction of any editorial material, artwork and photos is strictly forbidden without express written permission of the publisher. For information about reprint rights, please contact the editor; editor@rockymountainrider.com.

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