Farmer-built mixer handles wet DGS

Imagine there’s a new ethanol plant nearby. There’s a plentiful supply of protein and energy-rich feed. The challenge? Mixing wet distillers grains with other feedstuffs without investing in a full-size vertical mixer.

If you’re Max Meyer, Urbana, farming near a Poet ethanol plant, you get together with three of your closest cattle-feeding and metal-fabricating buddies and figure out how to turn a problem into an opportunity.

“Austin Carrothers, Bobby Haecker and I all feed cattle, plus Bobby is a millwright by trade,” says Meyer. “And Mark Milam’s a good friend with a farm background who operates a steel-stamping facility and really likes to figure out problems like this one. Our calves loved the wet cake, but we were beginning to think mixing it with a scoop shovel was going to kill us. We knew we had to do something.”

The four began kicking around ideas in November of ’08. At first they thought about sharing use of a full-size vertical mixer. But logistics and a sticker price upward of $50,000 quickly laid that notion to rest.

“Before too long we got our ideas together and started building one,” Meyer recalls. “By April ’09 we had our first prototype, and we’ve been using it ever since. It works great — a whole lot better than the scoop shovel.”

Key Points

• Farmers invent a skid-steer-mounted feed mixer.

• The mixer handles wet distillers grains easily.

• Their new invention is geared toward small operations.

Scoops, mixes, delivers

Watching a demonstration of the Max-R-Mixer 2700 is impressive. The 27-cubic foot, heavy-gauge steel tub attaches in seconds to any skid-steer loader with quick-attachment technology.

The mixer tilts forward to easily scoop up wet cake, aided by a heavy-duty
scoop-edge blade. The actual mixing is done by a tapered, large-diameter auger topped with fodder knives, running at 30 rpm. It’s powered by a hydraulic motor delivering 4,000 inch-pounds of torque through a heavy-duty, 90-degree, reduction gearbox.

The mixer tub is flat on the scooping side. “By not being perfectly round, feed components don’t just sit there and spin,” Meyer explains. “Instead they tumble and roll, which actually does part of the mixing process.”

The unit also has steel “retarders,” which can be inserted at various settings into the mixing tub to stop material, like straw or hay, “which just wants to turn,” he says. Feed is delivered by chute, through either side of the mixer.

Market the mixer

All operations can be performed from the seat. The mixer readily gets into tight corners. The four are pleased enough that they plan to start production soon, utilizing Milam’s facility.

“We’re targeting guys that aren’t in the big mixer market,” says Meyer. “Our intent was to come up with something for the small producer who had, say, 40 cows. We figure that catches a lot of people.

For more information, visit www.max-r-mixer.com.

Boone writes from Wabash.

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SMALL BUT TOUGH: The economical skid-steer mixer Max Meyer and friends built makes handling wet DGS possible.

This article published in the February, 2010 edition of INDIANA PRAIRIE FARMER.

All rights reserved. Copyright Farm Progress Cos. 2010.