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Buyer's guide: What to look for in a used bale shredder

A used Teagle Tomahawk 8500 could offer value for money for those with a moderate number of bales to shred each season.


Teagle’s sales manager Chris White guides Geoff Ashcroft around a trailed 8500 model.


Teagle’s Tomahawk round bale shredder can be traced back to the late 1980s, although it would be the early 1990s before its trailed box-type version broke cover as a 700 Series, followed by the 800 Series, offering capacity for round and square bales.


The later type gained a single cross beater to improve bale shredding efficiency, plus a twin-chute unloading system to further extend its versatility, allowing it to dispense into troughs, feed passages or loose bedding areas.


In 2012, the 8500 Series arrived with a 150mm-wider body to improve loading and let bales tumble and move much easier, further improving shredding performance.

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The wider body also brought a larger diameter paddle blower, with eight vanes instead of six and a 15 per cent increase in tip speed for improved material throw.


Teagle sales manager Chris White says: “The 8500 gained a lot of improvements over previous versions, and offered better value for money too.


“Bigger paddles also meant much drier straw could be dealt with using a lower pto speed without the risk of blocking or poor throwing performance.”


With more spec, the 8500 Chief arrived in 2016 with a wear-resistant steel plate in the fan housing, a heavier duty driveline and the introduction of Bluetooth connectivity.


Finding out what to look for in a used bale shredder, we check out a 2014 model 8500, with 4.5cu.metre capacity. This particular example is currently for sale at Farols, Milton Common, priced at £9,950.



Tomahawk controls have changed little in recent years, with joysticks for the chute and rear door control.


However, be wary of the multi-core control wire running from the machine to the tractor, which can be expensive to replace.


This was often damaged when the machine was unhitched and the control box remained connected as you drove away.


Mr White says: “While the control box is waterproof, it should be kept in the cab. However, a faulty control box can still be returned to the factory for repair.”


The machine needs just one constant-flow spool with a free flow return to operate, so try before you buy.


“It is worth remembering that the first time an 8500 is used on a new tractor, you should calibrate the bed control to the hydraulic system to make sure the bed does not move, with a zero setting on the control box.”


The tailgate comes with button controls at the rear of the machine and in-built safety requirements need two-handed operation for this function to operate.



Teagle’s cross beater is where the shredding takes place. The wider body of the 8500 gives more room for the bale to roll and tumble, encouraging more efficient shredding of material.


The beater carries a series of ripper paddles that help unroll and untangle bales. These are accompanied by blades too; some straight and some angled.


Mr White says: “Ripper paddles bruise and break the stalks to improve the straw’s ability to soak up moisture, so check they are in place on the beater drum.”


Blades are reversible and can be sharpened using an angle grinder. Check their condition for signs of damage from stones and other contaminants that may have been inadvertently baled.


Look beyond the cross beater to inspect the main paddle blower, and check paddles for straightness and overall condition.


It is also worth looking at the outside of the blower housing, which will reveal a lot about what might have gone through the machine.


Mr White says: “The Tomahawk is a bolt-together shredder-bedder, so replacing parts is relatively straightforward.”



Bale feed is courtesy of a hydraulically driven moving floor conveyor, comprising bed chains and slats.


Inspect the slats for kinks and damage, as they should be straight. The 8500’s slats feature gripper plates on the leading edge to prevent dry bright straw bales from slipping.


Slats are secured to the chains by u-bolts, which are deliberately not fully tightened, allowing chains to turn freely around the end rollers.


If you need to remove a slat, make sure a new locknut is used and the bolt thread needs to only just protrude past the locknut.


Mr White says: “If bales suffer from stone and flint contamination, they will collect in the rear corners below the rear roller and can be easily cleaned out.”


Bed chain tensioners can seize through lack of maintenance, so look for non-standard or welded replacements. The rear roller has a scraper too and it is adjusted separately on earlier models when chain tension is altered.


On later models, the scraper’s relationship with the roller is fixed, simplifying adjustment. Its cast rear roller comes with a chain guide system for greater durability.



A two-speed gearbox with mechanical speed change is fitted on the 8500 model. It powers the cross beater using a chain drive and its sprocket uses a shear bolt.


Mr White says: “It is important to use the right size bolt with the correct tensile strength to ensure trouble-free operation.


“The 8500’s chain tension is adjusted centrally by moving the drive sprocket in its guides. Its predecessor, the 8080, uses a tensioner acting directly on one side of the chain.”


Check chains and sprockets for excess wear and replace accordingly.


He adds: “Check the pto shaft’s mounting point on the gearbox input shaft. It should be snug and tight, not floppy and loose. It is a good indication that the machine has seen regular maintenance.”

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