Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Tractor implement to grind, mix, and deliver feed

A farmer has a spectrum of options concerning preparing grain-based feed for his livestock. At one end of the spectrum is that he buys the feed from a feed mill. Note that commercial feed mills have a lot of little bins to hold supplements and a building to hold the grinder and mixer. Most of them also function as a local grain elevator.

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The other end of the spectrum is that the farmer stores all of his corn and makes the feed himself with a tractor implement designed to grind, mix, and deliver the feed. (Much more below on this option.) While I was at a family reunion I took pictures of the pig raising facilities. On the left are the buildings that house the pigs and on the right is the grain storage and feed mill.

A point on the spectrum closer to the 100% commercial solution is that the farmer grows the grain but hauls it during harvest to the feed mill for them to store and use when he needs more feed to save the cost of buying grain. (This is the solution my Grandfather used for dairy cows and chickens (20,000 at a time).)

A point closer to the self-contained solution is that the farmer stores the grain himself and takes loads to the commercial feed mill when he needs another shipment of feed. This saves paying the mill a storage fee.

There are several aspects of a farmer's feed mill I want to discuss, but for this posting I'm concentrating on the farm implement designed to make feed because I have come across a few pictures recently.

The "backyard" of the Paquette's Farmall Museum had some of the more interesting equipment in the museum. One of which was an IH feed mill.

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Unfortunately, the weeds are obscuring the front of the mill. But in the closeup below, you can see that all of the rotating motions are delivered via belts, pulleys, and/or shafts. Compact, powerful hydraulic motors had yet to be developed. And older equipment tends not to have safety shields so it is easier to see the "guts." Note in the lower-right that several belts are used to drive a little pulley by a big pulley that is driven directly by the PTO shaft from the tractor. The little pulley would be on the axle of the hammer mill which grinds the grain and that axle turns significantly faster than the standard 540 RPM of the PTO shaft.


Below are the pictures I took of my relative's Gehl 170. An overview showing he uses a John Deere 4240 to run it and that he has a special building as part of his elevator complex to house the mill. The long unloading auger sticking out of the door can be lifted and swung to the side when the farmer drives the mill past the hog houses to fill the feeder bins. If you look at the top picture, we can easily see six feeder bins alongside the hog houses. Looking at a satellite image, which I'm not sharing for privacy reasons, I see 17 bins. Although some may be obsolete because I don't see tractor access to them. (Some of the buildings are farrowing houses, but they no longer maintain sows and handle pig births. They now buy the babies and specialize in stuffing corn into them to grow them large enough to take to market.)

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Operator's Manual, p 53
As we see in the picture below, you now have to pay for extra sheet metal to cover up the interesting belts and pulleys for safety reasons. But the picture for the instructions of disengaging the Mill/Blower drive in the Operator's Manual shows us it is the same basic design of using 5 V-belts to drive a small pulley with a large one.


Note that on the left of the above picture and on the right of this side picture, there are piles of sacks. These sacks would be supplements that are used in low volume such as vitamins and minerals and would be added in the concentrate hopper on the back of the mill. The four augers that use big PVC pipes so that they all feed into that concentrate hopper load higher volume supplements that are stored in bins outside of the mill shed. Three of the augers come from the bins pictured below that can be loaded directly from the CO-OP bulk delivery truck.

The fourth is a relay auger from the relatively small bin that is tall enough that it has to be loaded from the elevator's leg.

Below is the cover page from the operator's manual. It shows the side I was not able to get a picture of because it was too close to a wall. Note that the loading auger has been removed by my relative because the augers from the two corn bins feed directly into the hammer mill's hopper. Shown in the closeup on the left.
Operator's Manual, cover page
The farmer can add the various supplements as the corn is being added to the hammer mill hopper to reduce the total time needed to make the feed.

The cover page picture also shows the sight glass along the side of the bin that shows how full the bin is and how will mixed the feed is.

They have modified the hydraulics that control the unloading auger to be controlled by the tractor instead of a self-contained PTO driven pump as described on pages 32, 56 and 57 of the owner's manual. To the right is a closeup of the hydraulic motor that drives the unloading auger.

Operator's Manual, p 60
Page 60 has pictures of the hammer mill, which is what grinds the grain into powder so that it mixes well with the supplements. There is an auger in the center of the bin that moves the feed from the bottom of the bin to the top. That is what mixes the ingredients. Page 61 has a view of that auger looking down from the top of the bin with the cover removed.

As I have mentioned before, my Dad worked for Central Soya. That company got its start as Master Mix. Their product was bagged supplements that a farmer could add to his own grain to make a complete livestock diet. In this video we learn the most expensive additive is 10 50-pound bags of soy meal to raise the protein content. A bag contains 50% protein and they raise the protein content of the feed to the desired 14-16%.

During a later family runion, the farmer was out filling his feed bins. So I was able to get pictures of that part of the operation.

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Since the mill was out of its building, I got a good view of the augurs running from the steel bins outside the building. The two on the left would drop material into the hammer mill whereas two on the right drop into the supplement bin at the rear of the mill. (The third augur on the right is actually dumping into the augur that continues further to the left. Installing these augurs gives a whole new meaning to the word "plumbing.")

A closeup of some of the supplements he measures into the mill's supplement bin by hand.


This video shows the entire process of preparing and delivering feed. Near the end of this video of a John Deere 700 unloading he goes to the top and opens the cover so that you can see the vertical auger turning.

Screenshot
Notice in the middle of this screenshot that there is a tractor driven grinder/mixer mill in their shed. Do they use the feeder to distribute corn and then the grinder/mixer distributes just supplements?

The following screenshot shows that this auger is also driven by a hydraulic motor.

Screenshot
Manternach 4L Farms posted 11 photos of a restored JD 700 with the comment:
The "Real Deal" grinder mixer is now operational and running great. I call it that because, even though I bought it at a fair price, I have 4x invested in getting it running again. I bought it with a broken shaft, full of old feed, and in need of some fabrication and parts to get it running like new again. All in all, it's a very nice machine and will serve us well!
Paul Althouse Have the sane grinder. Ours was in good shape when bought it though. Paid for it in 30 days vs what coop was charging for grinding and delivery charges.

Manternach 4L Farms This is our third 700 mill. They are a great machine, but are getting pretty hard to find in good working condition. Tens of thousands of tons of feed have gone through them on this farm. Deere doesn't have a lot of parts left for them, and the ones they have are big $$$$. Luckily, there isn't a whole lot on the machine you can't build or fix with a little skill.


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Tim Rowlett posted
Farmers grinding their own feed on their farm is not a new development. This 1913 cover [Wisconsin Historical Society] for an International Harvester Feed Grinders catalog shows a hit-miss engine driving a grinder.

A video of a restored John Deere 720 grinding then delivering feed. Once you start watching feed grinding videos on You Tube, you will find quite a few more videos.


Screenshot from a barn design video that also shows
the Jaylor mixer that they use.
While watching a video about a barn design, I learned about the TMR Jaylor mixer. It looks like their model is the self-propelled A50. Video demo. A dairy farm using a Jaylor mixer.
Update:
Aaron Cummings posted
Anyone want to go back to 1959 and grind calf feed? For the record, that hammer mill gave my boys C one heck of a workout. Usually have the D17 on it, but he insisted on using his.
[They must then have added sacked feed from the store to supplement the ground grain. Or they are adding ground grain to the end of their bottle feeding to help wean them.]
Jason Mathre posted
3288 doing Friday activities.
[The red is rather faded. It was posted in the "IH 88 series group."]
Tim Butcher posted two photos.
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A 7:11 video of feeding the hogs. Unfortunately, he doesn't actually show the grinding of the corn so you can't hear the old Allis-Chalmers tractor with a heavy load. I'm still trying to figure out why he switches tractors. I assume he uses the A-C for grinding because it is small enough to fit in the corn unloading shed. Both tractors seem to use just two hydraulic circuits. If the A-C has enough PTO horsepower to grind corn, it has enough for the unloading augers. You don't need the Ford's four-wheel drive because the pig buildings are not in a muddy field. Does he switch to the Ford because it has a faster road speed?

A 3:56 video that uses alfalfa and grass hay, ground corn, and "organic kelp," a 17% protein mix. I can't believe that just one 5-gallon bucket is enough feed for the pigs in the field. How often each day does he carry a bucket?


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