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  1. #1
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    Apr 2012
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    bridgewater , nova scotia
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    Default Trailer and lift recommendation

    Hi all,
    I am looking to buy a trailer for hauling beehives and I thought I would ask those who have already went through this before.
    The amount of hives I will have to haul at one time will be 50 BUT I would like to be able to do more if possible . They would be double deeps and I was thinking no more than 2 hives stacked .

    Also I haven't yet purchased a mechanized way to lift the hives off the trailer , I am getting way too many different answers when it comes to what to buy , most of the contractors that I have been talking to about skid steers say they get stuck a lot, and it's very hard to find a rough terrain forklift unless I buy a new one and have it imported from the US . Ezyloaders look nice , but they cost a lot and I am not sure I want to spend all that money on something that has limited use. I was also thinking a smaller tractor with a fork attachment on the front might work , but I don't know if my view would be obstructed with the tractor for picking up the pallets .

    There is some commercial beekeepers around NS that are using a Kubota R310 and other R series loaders with forks on them, but they are hard to find used , and new they start at 40 K from what the Kubota website shows me.

    What would be a good setup for me that won't put me in the poor house for the next 5-10 years LOL

    Thanks
    and I know this is a mixed up thread , it's just hard for me to figure this out on my own .

    Ben
    Ben Little <The Little Bee Farm> https://www.facebook.com/TheLittleBeeFarm
    Nova Scotia Canada

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    Herrick, SD USA
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    4,323

    Default Re: Trailer and lift recommendation

    Well expect even more confusion after you hear all the different set ups that folks on here have. If you aren't prepared to spend upwards of 40 grand on an articulated loader and trailer and you don't want to consider an ezy-loader then I think a used skid steer
    probably gives you the best bang for the buck. I have loaded lots of trucks of all sizes with them and they work just fine. The only real downsides are they are a bit awkward to get in and out of and they can be a bit hard on the turf. In the rare instance where I have had one stuck, it took no more to get going again than to use the forks to push or pull your way out. They aren't the perfect bee moving set up but their versatility more than makes up for the shortcomings.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  3. #3
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    bridgewater , nova scotia
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    Default Re: Trailer and lift recommendation

    When getting stuck with a pallet of hives on the skid steer , how can you get unstuck ? I have used front end loaders/tractors but not for moving hives , it was easy for me to just dump the load and use the bucket to get going again. That was my only issue with getting stuck with a skid steer.
    I can see it now ,I am moving hives and uh-oh i'm no longer moving ahead and then i'm toast until i get something to move me LOL

    I tend to research things to death , this is why I don't want to jump into buying something I will regret is all.

    Thanks

    Ben L
    Ben Little <The Little Bee Farm> https://www.facebook.com/TheLittleBeeFarm
    Nova Scotia Canada

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Knox, Pa. USA
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    1,258

    Default Re: Trailer and lift recommendation

    It all depends on how you want to do things. An older goose neck horse trailer with the sides and roof removed worked ok for us for a few years, I had to reinforce the frame a bit because the wall and roof were a part of the structural integrity of the trailer . The problem with things like this is there seems to be a natural progression of endless repairs required. 12 years ago I had a company in Indiana USA. Build a very nice all aluminum trailer to our specifications. The tie downs are just the way we like them, and we have a tool box on either side to hold straps, net, and other tools. The front wall of the deck, aid in diverting the wind from the first row of hives. I had a wood deck placed on it, and it is still in good shape. I think it may need replaced in the next 2 years. But in my opinion that is not bad as they did not use treated lumber on it. It can be loaded 3 pallets of 2 deeps high. For a loader we use a John Deere with forks on the front end loader this requires a bit of finesse to operate but the joy stick operation of the John Deere makes it a breeze. You at today’s prices will be in it for around 40K but when you depreciate it over the 20 or so years it will last you, it’s a steal.

  5. #5
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    Feb 2006
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    Herrick, SD USA
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    Default Re: Trailer and lift recommendation

    Ben: I'm not going to say it can't happen only that such a scenario never did happen to me in probably 1,000 plus hours of using one. Get a good set of tires use a little discretion and worry not. Absolute worst case is hook up a chain and pull the sucker out. articulated loaders are awesome, though. Once I started using one I rarely jump on the ole skidder. It's probably around 10 grand more though and it won't be much good (without spending even more to accesorize) for odd jobs like moving dirt and filling the pot holes in your driveway.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Stockton, CA
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    304

    Default Re: Trailer and lift recommendation

    I like over the tire trailers, no wheel fenders to mess with. I have a 20' car trailer and it works for now. It holds 50 hives exactly. I was thinking of some sort of a boom lift mounted on a over the wheel flat bed trailer would in theory work great. You mite have to mount two booms and if the cost was right it wouldn't be to bad.

  7. #7
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    Apr 2012
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    bridgewater , nova scotia
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    Default Re: Trailer and lift recommendation

    Since I am the one that has to make these decisions it is difficult , with limited knowledge on skid steers I only wonder about backing up with them, most of them seem to have poor visuals in the rear , is this a common issue with skid steers ?
    Being a small engine mechanic I do know things about ZTR lawn tractors , but they are a different ball of wax , pardon the pun .

    I would really like to have a swinger loader , there isn't any around to look at where I am.

    The real problem is knowing where to dump the finances, I need increase and a way to move them from place to place (trailer & lift ) plus a building for equipment /storage.
    Next year I hope to get into the Pollination expansion Program through the province , it helps with funding increase to provide more hives available for pollination rental , so I am hoping to get the right tools for the job ahead of time.

    There needs to be a magic wand for these decisions

    What would be really great is if a company could sell a package where they know what you will need to accommodate a certain number of hives and to properly suit your type of operation .
    instead of me or someone else guessing what is the best setup by trial and error .

    But that's life !

    Thanks for reading my rant : )
    Ben
    Ben Little <The Little Bee Farm> https://www.facebook.com/TheLittleBeeFarm
    Nova Scotia Canada

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    Lk Stevens, WA
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    158

    Default Re: Trailer and lift recommendation

    Hey Ben, I just went through what you are going through. I initially bought a 14' bee boom that I was going to put on a flatbed truck. When I finally bought the truck I didn't want to put the boom on it. Rethought it and was going to get a trailer to put it on. Thought about it some more and ended up buying a swinger 1k. Still have the bee boom without any intentions of using it now. This only took two years to make the final decisions so you have plenty of time yet!

  9. #9
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    Apr 2012
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    bridgewater , nova scotia
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    Default Re: Trailer and lift recommendation

    How many hives do you have Scott J ?
    I plan to have 150-200 Hives within the next couple of years , so I don't want to spen most of my time laying on the floor with ice packs on my back LOL.
    Justification of purchasing a machine to do the heavy lifting for me is already decided at 26 hives .
    What it will be to do the lifting is still in the brainstorming stages : )

    Ben L
    Ben Little <The Little Bee Farm> https://www.facebook.com/TheLittleBeeFarm
    Nova Scotia Canada

  10. #10
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    Feb 2006
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    Herrick, SD USA
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    Default Re: Trailer and lift recommendation

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Little View Post
    Since I am the one that has to make these decisions it is difficult , with limited knowledge on skid steers I only wonder about backing up with them, most of them seem to have poor visuals in the rear , is this a common issue with skid steers ?
    Yes they pretty much all have poor visibility behind, add a tail wheel back there and it gets a bit trickier yet. You sit low and in a small cockpit that dosent give much good visibility anywhere but directly ahead of you. Side visibility is often limited by the lift arms. Access and visibility is infinitely better in a swinger or a hummer.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  11. #11
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    Sep 2007
    Location
    Hudson, WI USA
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    Default Re: Trailer and lift recommendation

    Ben, I understand the logic of moving away from "Mr. Strongarm", and the desire to own the equipment, but have you considered renting or borrowing? That way you can grow with out sucking the profit out of your operation. A person has to sell a lot of honey, or rent a lot of bees, to cover the money it takes to buy even a small skidsteer. Also, this way you would be able to test out the equipment and see if it works for you.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Trailer and lift recommendation

    Quote Originally Posted by Adrian Quiney WI View Post
    Ben, I understand the logic of moving away from "Mr. Strongarm", and the desire to own the equipment, but have you considered renting or borrowing? That way you can grow with out sucking the profit out of your operation. A person has to sell a lot of honey, or rent a lot of bees, to cover the money it takes to buy even a small skidsteer. Also, this way you would be able to test out the equipment and see if it works for you.
    Possibly the best advice yet. This is a really big investment when balanced against 100 to 200 hives.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Weeki Wachee, Florida,USA
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    1,957

    Default Re: Trailer and lift recommendation

    If you buy equipment to move your hives do you have a back up plan in the event it breaks down and you can't get it repaired in time to get your hives where they need to be?
    What's plan B? How much will that cost? Can you still make money with plan B? Maybe plan B should be plan A for a while.

    Did that make sense?
    These are the questions I would ask myself but that comes from an inexperienced perspective.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Anderson, South Carolina, USA
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    108

    Default Re: Trailer and lift recommendation

    I'll throw in my 2 cents. Now, I can't really comment about a trailer but, I can about a skid steer. If you have a large acreage a skid steer can be invaluable, we have 200 acres and lease another 150 or so. But, just to move bees I would say rent one. Now as to getting stuck well our skid steer has rubber tracks. The only time I have had to use another machine to pull it out is when my father drove it off into a gully. Otherwise I was able to use the bucket. And, I assure you that when it gets that stuck it is nowhere near some place you would want to have bees (like in a swamp or pond).

  15. #15
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    Jan 2011
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    Clackamas Oregon
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    731

    Default Re: Trailer and lift recommendation

    Scott, I looked up bee boom and came up empty. Sounds like my plan now so I am curious as to why you went away from it. Thinking of flat bed with a boom. Could you post a picture of the boom and why you went away from it (BTW I am within purchase range).
    “Why do we fall, sir? So that we might learn to pick ourselves up” Alfred Pennyworth Batman Begins (2005)

  16. #16
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    Apr 2012
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    bridgewater , nova scotia
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    Default Re: Trailer and lift recommendation

    Thanks all for your opinions.

    As far as what I can do if what I buy breaks , I am a mechanic and my father in-law is a machinist , I am sure it wouldn't be too hard to repair a hydraulic problem or an engine problem. But I am sure that there is lots I couldn't do as well. I don't know everything, and neither does anyone else , that's why they make repair centers : )
    I believe in being prepared properly , this is why I research things to death before jumping into it too fast.

    But I am going to buy a lift of some kind , because being a Fire Fighter and a mechanic for a while has taken it's toll on my knees and back , I do not want to over do any heavy lifting if I can help it.

    So this is why I have started this thread , on what to buy basically : )

    If there was only 1 way to do things , then it wouldn't be a problem , but there is so many ways to operate a farm , it's crazy : )

    I don't really want to get into renting things , I like to be independant as much as possible.

    Ben L
    Ben Little <The Little Bee Farm> https://www.facebook.com/TheLittleBeeFarm
    Nova Scotia Canada

  17. #17
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    Garland, Bladen County, NC, USA
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    Default Re: Trailer and lift recommendation

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Little View Post
    I don't really want to get into renting things , I like to be independant as much as possible.

    Ben L
    Yea.. I understand that. I'm the same way myself. But a number of years ago I went out and rented a 753 bobcat and having never used one... I unloaded most of a semi of bees. Another guy was also unloading with a JD frontend loader - I would guess I was unloading 2 pallets for his one - and I had never used a skidder. So I just had to go buy one and in those days there were plenty around in the 7k to 10k range - i've never regretted that purchase and I still use it to this day. If I remember correctly, that JD was pretty tricky to use and required some serious weight on the rearend just to deal with 2 pallets of dd. Sure I would love to a have a swinger but they are just out of range for the 200-300 hive crowd.

    Also sounds to me like you need a flatbed truck and not a trailer. Something like my 2002 GMC 6500. With 250K on a cat diesel engine they are affordable.
    “Don’t tell me how educated you are, tell me how much you have travelled.” - The Quran

  18. #18
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    May 2013
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    Anderson, South Carolina, USA
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    108

    Default Re: Trailer and lift recommendation

    Have you considered making a dedicated trailer that you could just take some place and just leave all the hives on it? I know it would a lot in one place.

  19. #19
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    Feb 2006
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    Herrick, SD USA
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    Default Re: Trailer and lift recommendation

    Quote Originally Posted by hpm08161947 View Post
    Yea.. I understand that. I'm the same way myself. But a number of years ago I went out and rented a 753 bobcat and having never used one... I unloaded most of a semi of bees. Another guy was also unloading with a JD frontend loader - I would guess I was unloading 2 pallets for his one - and I had never used a skidder. So I just had to go buy one and in those days there were plenty around in the 7k to 10k range - i've never regretted that purchase and I still use it to this day. If I remember correctly, that JD was pretty tricky to use and required some serious weight on the rearend just to deal with 2 pallets of dd. Sure I would love to a have a swinger but they are just out of range for the 200-300 hive crowd.

    Also sounds to me like you need a flatbed truck and not a trailer. Something like my 2002 GMC 6500. With 250K on a cat diesel engine they are affordable.
    As usual ole Herby pretty much nails it. I have about one of everything and if your criteria is speed of loading or unloading a large truck load of bees, a "skidder", particularly one with a tail wheel, is the hands down winner in the speed race. My first experience with a skid steer was borrowing one from a neighbor. They aren't the absolute perfect tool for the job but their versatility more than makes up for the shortcomings. A one ton with either a 9 or 12 foot bed pulling a bobcat trailer with a skidder aboard is all I had for a few years while first getting palletized and it did the job. Truth is, the guy with the JD may also have the perfect tool for his needs as well. Maybe he spends 2 hours a year loading bees and 200 hours in the field doing what that machine does best.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

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