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Self-Propelled Feed Mixer Built Onto Military Truck
Dairyman Jay Boldt needed a better way to produce total mixed rations for his 150-cow herd. His solution was to build a self-propelled machine by combining parts from a military semi tractor and a pull-type feed mixer.
  "It's built entirely from used equipment, and any parts like chains or sprockets were all purchased online at surplus prices. The entire project cost less than $25,000," says Boldt, of Manitowoc, Wis. "I saved a lot of money because the hydraulics alone on new commercial truck-mounted mixers cost about $40,000. And this rig eliminates the need for a $30,000 tractor to operate a pull-type mixer."
  He paid $2,500 for the 5-ton, 6-WD military truck and stretched the frame 7 ft. to make room for the mixer. He bought a used 600 cu. ft., pto-operated Lucknow vertical mixer for $16,000 and removed the axle, mounting the mixer on the truck frame. He chain-drives the mixer with a Detroit 4-71, 150 hp engine equipped with a 4:1 gear reduction.
  The engine is mounted "backward" behind the semi tractor's cab to get the proper direction to run the pto-operated mixer, via a double 120 chain. "A tractor's pto turns in the opposite direction as this engine, which is why I had to mount the engine backward," explains Boldt. "Chain-driving the mixer this way allows me to keep the feed mixer's speed independent of the truck's travel speed."  
  He bought the engine from a friend for $1,200. "The engine had just been rebuilt and had the clutch and gear reduction that I needed. I mounted the radiator on the other side of the mixer, and use belts and jackshafts to operate the radiator cooling fan.
  "The Detroit 4-71 wasn't my first choice in engines mainly because it's noisy, but the price was right. If the engine ever fails I can lift the mixer off and convert it back to a pull-type model."
  A hydraulic pump off an old combine is used to open and close the mixer's gate and to operate the unloading conveyor.
  Boldt says he's a big believer in the value of surplus military equipment. "The truck I bought was a mid 1970's model but had only about 15,000 miles on it. It was in great shape - the tires were literally brand new when I got it. It's powered by a 250 cu. in. Cummins diesel engine that looked like it was put in yesterday. Often, you can find old military trucks that sell for little more than scrap price."
  He says this is the fifth military truck he's bought over the years. "Military surplus is now sold online at govliquidation.com and other sites. You can find anything there from Cavalry horses to dentist chairs to locomotives, and more."
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Jay Boldt, 7120 Co. Rd. C, Manitowoc, Wis. 54220 (ph 920 323-0987; boldtdairy@lakefield.net).

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2011 - Volume #35, Issue #2