The dictionary defines the Jayhawk as a mythical bird, a cross between the blue jay and the sparrow hawk. But the Improved Jayhawk built by the F. Wyatt Mfg. Co. of Salina, Kan., was a farm workhorse well into the 1950s and beyond.
The F. Wyatt Co. got its start in the late 1890s in Salina, building its first hay stacker (capable of lifting 700 lbs. of hay to 23 feet) in about 1903. The Wyatt company was eventually folded into the Hesston Corp., which is today part of AGCO.
The company’s early stackers were horse-powered devices, available in both wood and steel models. Commonly used in the Midwest and west before the advent of square bales, stackers created mounds of hay 12 feet tall. Skilled operators knew how to form a rounded top that would shed water.
Used as a sweep rake, the Jayhawk was hitched to the front of a tractor and pushed forward. Moving forward, the operator steered in the opposite direction of where he wanted to go. The sweep was mounted on the front of the stacker, so the operator gathered a load as he drove up the windrow. As the operator neared the stack, he pulled a lever that raised the load over the stack. Early models employed a cable winding onto a drum; later models used hydraulics. When the load was positioned over the stack, the head was tripped and the hay slid off. The Jayhawk allowed access to the stack from all directions and hay could be deposited where needed. FC
Editor's note: Please see the Image Gallery to view the full Improved Jayhawk brochure.
Many thanks to Layton Rhudy, Topeka, Kan., and Bill and Kathy Connelly, Tescott, Kan., who shared this literature on the Jayhawk hydraulic loader.
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