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Elevated Hay Deck Makes Feed-Mixing Easier
Dumping 200 lbs. of ground hay into a feed mixer to make up a total mixed ration for an 80-head dairy herd used to mean starting up a skidsteer loader for two minutes twice a day, say Dave and Keith Wampler at Mt. Sidney, Virginia.
  "Since this was the only use for the loader most days, we felt it was probably causing more engine wear than it was worth in the long run," says Dave.
  Still, they needed some way to load the hay into the feed mixer. After giving the matter some thought, the Wampler brothers built an elevated hay storage bin large enough to hold the equivalent of two large round bales of ground hay.
  A special feature of the bin is its hinged legs, which allow it to be dropped down, filled with hay, and then pushed back into the upright position with a skidsteer.
  The elevated hay deck, measuring 15 ft. wide, 12 ft. deep and 4 ft. high, has a frame made of 2 1/2-in. square steel tubing. The floor and siding are plywood. The deck, when upright, is 8 1/2 ft. off the floor. "That's high enough that we can climb into the deck and push hay off of it into the mixer by hand," Dave says.
  The legs attach to the deck and floor with hinges made by fitting pieces of 4 and 5-in. pipe together. The legs themselves are also made of 2 1/2-in. square tubing.
  When it's lowered, it's just 4 1/2 ft. off the floor. "When we've filled it, we push on the front of the deck with the Bobcat to raise it back into upright position. Once it's fully upright, it locks into place with two pins," Wampler says. "Filling the mixer by hand takes no more time than it did before, when we had to start the skidsteer to load the hay," he says.
  To make mixing feed even easier, they added a hopper bottom bin for grain next to the hay deck. "It lets us put in the hay and grain without moving the feed mixer," he says. "It holds about 800 lbs. of grain and we use about 700 lbs. in our ration right now." An auger with a drop switch automatically refills the hopper from the grain bin after they've dumped it into the feed mixer.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, David Wampler, Buttermilk Road Dairy, 675 Buttermilk Road, Mt. Sidney, Va. 24467 (ph 540 234-8051; E-mail: dewmofun@aol.com).

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2002 - Volume #26, Issue #3