The ethanol boom brought opportunities to more than just corn producers located close enough to ship to ethanol plants. Livestock producers who could use the distillers grains, a primary byproduct of ethanol production from corn grain, had the opportunity to purchase a desirable, economical feedstuff, especially for ruminant.
The challenge was figuring out how to handle wet DDGS and feed it, even to ruminants. Coming soon in an issue of Indiana Prairie Farmer, free-lance writer Darrell Boone explains how four north-central Indiana neighbors and friends worked together to invent a new mixer that fits perfectly for small livestock operations, say those with 40-beef cows. Huge vertical mixers are standard in big operations and handle wet roughages like DDGS, but small operations can't afford the price tag. In many cases, they also don't have the room to install a large mixer in their cattle feeding or feed preparation facilities.
After more than a year's worth of planning and testing, Max Meyer, Austin Carrothers, Bobby Haecker and Mark Mylam unveiled the Max-R-Mixer 2700, a feed mixer that attaches to any skid-steer loader with the technology for quick-attachment tools. This model holds 27 cubic feet of material, and is designed specifically to mix a roughage such as DDGS with other feedstuffs.
It looked like it was build something or use the scoop shovel, and the scoop shovel notion was beginning to grate heavily on the guys feeding cattle, Boone observes, after interviewing Meyer and company for the story. Fortunately, one of the friends was a millwright. The other is in charge of a steel stamping facility. Meyer raises cattle near Urbana in Wabash County.
Everything from designing the shape of the mixer tub to configuring the auger that operates inside it were part of the process of coming up with a prototype, Boone relates. The prototype is still working fine. It features a built-in gearbox, and is operated by a hydraulic mixer. Once the feed is mixed, it can be discharged into a feedbunk or a wagon out of either side of the mixer.
Watch for more details soon. Or visit a Website set up by the friends to garner interest for their product. Current plans are to offer the mixer for sale to anyone who has a similar need for a small, economical feed mixer. Find them at: www.max-r-mixer.com.