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Price-Shocked Dairyman Got Into The Spreader Business
When David Foster needed a new manure spreader, he couldn’t believe what it was going to cost.
So he went out and found a company that would provide a basic spreader that he could customize. Now the Kansas dairyman is selling his Terrakat manure spreaders at half the cost of competitive machines.
“I thought the price I was quoted for a replacement, which is essentially a box with chain and beaters, was outrageous,” says Foster. “I started looking outside the U.S. for alternatives.”
After talking to several European companies and touring their facilities, he settled on a Turkish manufacturer who already marketed spreaders in 20 countries, mostly in Europe.
“They have a top-of-the-line factory and build most of their own parts,” says Foster. “They’ve been willing to do anything I ask.”
Foster made changes in the company’s design, which was typically used for dry manure such as chicken litter. The first change was to go to larger tires to reduce compaction and tracking. He added a rubber belt to the bottom of the rear gate and replaced the screened front with a solid panel.
“We wanted the box sealed up tight to hold slurry and didn’t want it dripping out front or back,” says Foster. “The original design allowed the operator to reach back and control the spreader’s hydraulic valves. We shifted them to the cab.”
One of the things he didn’t change was the flail style beater. “Other beater styles plug up with trash, like tire sidewalls or even chunks of concrete, and you have to stop to dislodge and remove the objects,” says Foster. “Custom manure haulers complain that it can break shafts and tear up equipment. With my flail style, the paddle gives, and the trash goes right through.”
Confident other livestock producers would like the design and the price, Foster ordered 2, including one for his dairy. The first one sold at the first farm show he took it to, and a second buyer bought Foster’s slightly used unit.
“He towed it across the state at 68 mph, put it to use, and a month later ordered a second and larger model,” says Foster.
The larger model is a T34 (34-ton) spreader that Foster has priced at $70,000. “I’ve been told a comparable, competitive spreader sells for $140,000,” he says.
Foster is offering a range of spreaders, including 5, 10, 15, 20, 28 and 34-ton models. He notes that cost savings on smaller units are not as great as with larger models due to shipping. However, he adds that even the $43,000, 20-ton T20 is priced at $10,000 under the competition.
Foster is far from the first to go to Turkey for cost savings. He notes that all smaller New Holland tractors are made in the country, as are a wide range of disk blades, sweeps and chisel points for U.S. tillage tools.
“I had no idea how much we import from Turkey,” says Foster. “As a dairyman, I sell my milk at world market prices, the same with my corn and soybeans. If I can cut my costs buying on that same world market, I will. I found a deal for myself and am sharing it with others.”
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, TerraKat, 1035 KS-39, Fort Scott, Kan. 66701 (ph 620 224-9433; terrakat.com).

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2020 - Volume #44, Issue #2