Road Runner available as full unit or as separate kit
By JOHN SCHMITZ
For the Capital Press
One stop at the Willamette Valley Ag Expo that should be of interest to hay, grass seed and dairy farmers is the Sunny D Manufacturing booth.
There, they will find on display the Sunny D Road Runner hay squeeze, which has become a familiar site in the Willamette Valley.
The Road Runner got its name because it's designed to follow hay trucks down the road and unload them once they reach the barn. The machine also unloads hay bales off the bale wagon coming in from the field and onto trucks at roadside.
Sunny D Manufacturing began operations in Klamath Falls in 1971 and was incorporated in 1983. Today, the company is owned and operated by Ed Majors.
In addition to the Road Runner, Sunny D also offers the clamp kit separately. The clamp kits are designed to fit on any front-end loader or lift truck with a 15,000- to 20,000-pound capacity.
According to company literature: "The full Road Runner mast provides excellent visibility for the operator. ... Side thrust loaders absorb lateral load forces and maintain vertical alignment."
Large side windows and the convenient roof view offer maximum visibility, which in turn enhances operator efficiency.
The Road Runner is available with either the Cummins ISC8 3, Detroit Series 50 engine or the ISL 8.8 diesel engine.
The hood tilts forward to expose the engine compartment for easy service and maintenance.
One thing that's changed at Sunny D is that today all components are brand-new. "In the older days we used to use used axles, used motors," Majors said. "As of today, everything is new."
One advantage Road Runner offers over the competition is visibility, Majors said. "The cab is different, windows are bigger."
Sunny D has 17 employees, mostly fabricators and mechanics and a paint specialist.
The company sells a lot of hay squeezes into Oregon's grass seed industry. "That central valley is a big part of it right there," Majors said. "We've sold lots of machines -- 25 to 30 -- between Eugene and Portland."
The Road Runner costs between $160,000 and $165,000. Clamps sell for around $10,000.
The clamps are not designed to work on tractors because they are too light, Majors said. "The attachment itself weighs around 3,300 pounds."
Like most people selling into the ag sector today, Majors said business has been down significantly. "Actually, it's pretty slow right now. Hay prices and milk prices -- you know where that's going. It's directly related."
Normally, Majors will sell two to three Road Runners a month. This past year the number dropped to one a month.
"I see it turning around a little bit," Majors said in late September. "Hay prices are starting to come back. Milk prices are starting to come back up a little bit."
Should milk prices take an expected jump in November, that will help. "If that happens, it usually turns around. Takes awhile to get to us," Majors said.
Sunny D also turns out custom-built hay squeezes, as well as used forklifts and squeeze attachments.
The original, first Road Runner built almost 40 years ago is still putting the squeeze on, according to company literature.