2012 - Volume #36, Issue #6, Page #17[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
LP Tanks Make Great Feedbunks And More
“Their round shape keeps the cattle from separating out feed and silage components as they eat. They can’t shove anything into a corner,” he says. “Everything just slides back together, and they eat it all.”
McLeish likes the ease of making bunks with the big tanks too. He buys out-of-date 500 and 1,000-gal. tanks and cuts them in thirds lengthwise. He simply takes the circumference and divides it by three.
“At first I would cut the ends off level with the sides, but I discovered that the cattle would push feed out the ends,” says McLeish. “Now I leave the curved ends pointed, and the feed just falls back into the bunk.”
He fills the tanks with water to push out any residual gas before cutting the tanks with a torch. He uses a straight edge to mark the cutting lines and then grinds off the paint, sometimes as many as 15 layers.
“I drill a 1-in. drain hole in the bottom of each bunk and drop a bolt with an oversized washer through it,” says McLeish. “If the bolt freezes over and water builds up inside, all I have to do is kick the bolt to drain it out.”
He adds 24-in. legs that are cut on 45-degree angles at one end and ground to match the curve of the tank. The other leg end is also left at an angle for increased stability. “They don’t slide around on concrete, and they also come out of frozen ground easier that way,” explains McLeish.
He has also cut the tanks in half for pasture bunks that he leaves without legs resting directly on the ground. He warns that care has to be taken or a cow can be pushed into a bunk and not be able to get out. He lost one cow that way.
“I’ve welded a pipe across the top on some, but now I just make sure I have plenty of bunk space for the cows,” he says. “I try to make sure there’s at least 4 ft. of bunk for each animal, so they don’t push and shove each other to get at the feed.”
McLeish says the bunks are built to handle tough treatment. If they fill with ice and snow, he simply turns them upside down with the skid steer.
“The steel varies by state,” he explains. “LP tanks in Wisconsin are 5/16-in. thick. In Illinois, they’re 1/4-in. On the 1,000-gal. tanks, I sometimes have to reinforce the seam, or they can bow in the middle when I pick them up with the loader.”
McLeish says the out-of-date tanks can be purchased for $85 in his area. He estimates using around $50 in gas to cut them, and that legs, if bought new, would cost about $20 each. However, he usually uses scrap pipe or steel tubing.
“The tanks also have the right curve to make great snowplow blades,” he says. “In addition, I’ve used them for water tanks by cutting windows out of them for the cow’s head. The water can freeze solid, and it doesn’t affect the tank.”
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Hayden McLeish, N4139 Hwy. 78, Merrimac, Wis. 53561 (ph 608 493-2288).
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