2002 - Volume #26, Issue #3, Page #06[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Combine "Elevators" Unload Seed From Semi Trailer
Since their trailer has two compartments and two unload hoppers, they needed two identical unloading units. With that in mind, the Eau Claire, Wisconsin father-son team went looking for something that would work.
They found a couple of junked John Deere 95 combines and removed the clean grain elevators. "The elevators have rubber paddles in them so we figured they would be good for handling seed," Don says. "Early versions of the 95 model had flat chains, but these were later versions with roller chains."
With help from part-time employee Dave Dohms, they replaced the rubber paddles and restored the elevators to near new condition. The original cross augers that pulled clean grain into the elevators were shot, so they installed new 6-in augers. They also constructed new hoppers to fit the unload hoppers of the trailers to accommodate the new augers.
While it sounds simple enough, working out the drive system proved to be a challenge. They decided on hydraulic motors to power the augers, and figured they'd drive the elevator from the end of the auger shaft. Trouble was, the elevators originally were driven from the top, so they had to make several changes to make it work the way they wanted.
An 8 hp Briggs and Stratton engine, coupled to an old double hydraulic pump, provides more than enough oil flow for both of the seed transfer elevators. "The double pump is actually two pumps in one," Jaquish says. "With it, we can use either or both of the seed transfer elevators at once."
They mounted the engine, pump and a 5-gal. reservoir on a bracket under the trailer, between the two seed handling hoppers.
The elevators themselves fit close to the trailer side. "Our hopper bottom trailer is 8 ft. wide. To be road legal, we couldn't make the entire unit more than 8 ft. 6 in. wide," Jaquish notes.
The elevators lift the seed 10 ft. and empty it into telescoping flexible plastic tubes, which the Jaquishes use to fill their planter boxes.
"There's an electric solenoid valve on each of the elevators to shut them off. The switches are located near the end of the drop tube, so we can control them while we're filling. We used a heavy-duty coiled extension cord from the switch to the valve, so it slides back and forth with the tube," Jaquish tells. "In total, we probably spent around $1,000 for everything, including the engine, hydraulic parts and the new solenoid valves, which were $150 apiece. Really, it took more time than money." He figures they spent around 200 hours in the shop rebuilding the elevators and piecing everything together.
To their surprise, everything worked the first time. "We've made a lot of things over the years that didn't always work the way we would like without further modification. "
Once they were able to fill the planter quickly, another bottleneck in their system came to light. "We found we were spending most of our time putting inoculant on the seed," Jaquish says.
After giving that matter a little thought, they decided they could add the inoculant in the horizontal feed auger. "We were already using liquid inoculant, so we ran lines to the auger and installed a couple of solenoid valves from an old sprayer to turn the inoculant valve on and off. We put sink valves from the hardware store in the lines to let us increase or decrease the flow. The solenoid valve is wired to the shutoff switch for the elevator, so when we shut off the elevator, the inoculant flow stops, too."
He says it takes two people about two hours to attach the seed hoppers to the semi trailer and hook up the wiring and hydraulics. "That's nothing to the amount of time it saves us in handling bean seed. And you only have to do it once a year," he says. "Taking it off is easier, though, and only takes about 45 minutes."
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Don Jaquish, Jaquish Farms, W5725 State Road 85, Eau Claire, Wis. 54701 (
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