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Never-Rust Spreader Uses Giant Poly Tanks
"There's nothing on it that can rust or corrode," says David Struthers, Collins, Iowa, about the 4,500-gal. liquid manure spreader he and his father and brother made using three giant poly tanks mounted on a flatbed trailer. They pull it with a 1973 GMC semi-tractor.
"It's a fast, inexpensive way to apply liquid manure. All components that come into contact with manure are either plastic or stainless," says Struthers, who raises hogs and uses pits to store manure.
Struthers bought three 1,500-gal. poly tanks for $400 each and mounted them on a 28-ft. home-built flatbed. The tanks load from the top and are connected together by a length of 8-in. dia. pvc pipe that runs under the bed of the trailer. All three tanks can be filled by loading manure into the top of just one of the tanks. Static pressure forces manure down into the pipe that connects all three tanks together and up into the other two tanks until the level of manure is equal in all three tanks
The 8-in. pipe runs to the back of the trailer where it connects to a 12-in. dia., 8-ft. long cross pipe with holes in the bottom that dumps the manure evenly in the field.
Struthers made a hydraulic shut-off valve that mounts between the 8-in. pipe under the trailer bed and the rear cross pipe. He can open and shut the valve with a toggle switch in the cab.
"We use it to spread manure in the spring before planting or after harvest on chopped corn stalks, or in the summer on idle acres," says Struthers. "We have three pits and spread about 2,000,000 gal. of manure per year. Some of our farms are several miles apart. The semi-tractor allows us to haul manure fast and make fewer trips. We can haul 35 mph loaded and 55 mph empty and make 21/2 trips in the time it takes to haul one with our 3,200-gal. honey wagon be-hind a tractor. However, we still use our honey wagon to spread on fields close to home. We also use the semi-tractor to custom spread manure for neighbors. It's equipped with a Detroit 318 hp 8-cyl. diesel engine that has plenty of power.
"We saved a lot of money because a new 4,500-gal. spreader tank sells for $25,000 to $30,000. We spent about $2,000 for the tanks and trailer and $4,800 for the semitractor, which we can use for other jobs such as hauling grain or livestock trailers. We put less than 5,000 miles a year on it so it qualifies for a special farmer's license at a lower rate."
Tanks are fastened to the flatbed by cables and are kept from sliding at the bottom by lengths of angle iron shaped into circles and bolted to the floor.
Deflectors on each end of the rear cross pipe help shoot manure out over a 15-ft. spreading width. An electric-hydraulic pump mounted on the semi operates the hydraulic cylinder at the back of the trailer that opens and closes the pvc shut-off valve.
"We made another liquid spreader out of a6,000-gal. underground steel gas tank that we mounted on a 42-ft. long flatbed. We welded steel I-beams on each side of the trailer to hole the tank in place. However, I like our poly tank spreader better because it's shorter and more maneuverable and it won't rust out."
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, David Struthers, Rt. 1, Box 155, Collins, Iowa 50055 (ph 515 385-2132).

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1993 - Volume #17, Issue #6