1995 - Volume #19, Issue #3, Page #23[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Timer-Controlled Rocket Feeder
"It had to be durable because a large sow can destroy anything. It had to be reliable because it won't save you labor or money if it doesn't work. And it had to be simple to operate," says Eva.
The Roseville, Ill., farming couple's planning paid off when their sow feeder was named "Most Innovative" invention in the American Farm Bureau Federation's Farmer Idea Exchange earlier this year. The Galbraiths are now taking orders for their patent-pending feeder, which sells for $2,250.
Key to success, Eva says, is that the feeder adds safety and convenience as well as efficiency to hog-feeding operations.
Called the "Rocket Feeder" because of its shape, the sow feeder consists of a 40-bu. galvanized bin mounted on a 10 by 10-ft. portable platform. Triple-epoxy coated wood walls support the bin and form 16 individual feeding stalls arranged radially around the platform.
A digital timer automatically dispenses up to 15 lbs. of feed through chutes to the concrete troughs in each stall. (An override switch permits manual operation.) Troughs have plastic lids, and a beep notifies sows when feed is flowing.
A slide control adjusts rate of flow of feed to each trough. Feed can be dispensed in any amount or shut off completely. A solar panel powers a 12-volt DC battery, or the unit can be adapted for indoor use.
It also features a reversing mechanism that expels foreign objects if one gets lodged in the dispensing system.
The radial design of the feeding stalls keeps sows from fighting and stealing each other's feed, helping to reduce stress at feeding time, Eva notes.
Along with reducing waste, the feeder gives small farmers more management time, she says. The Galbraiths say their feeder is safer than feeding sows by hand and much more energy efficient than feeding with a tractor and feed auger.
"The only requirement with our feeder is that you keep it full of feed," Eva says.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Galbraith Industries, Rt. 1, Box 9A, Roseville, Ill. 61437 (ph 309 426-2492).
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