Earlier I described our inefficient grain handling system and the need to upgrade. During the winter and spring I started buying the equipment and for the last few months I’ve been building, repairing, and assembling all the components. This week we put all the pieces together and tested the system end to end.
I bought a moderately beat up gravity wagon. It wasn’t the prettiest wagon I looked at, but it sure wasn’t the ugliest. I couldn’t afford the nice boxes not in need of repair; I couldn’t afford the time and frustration that would be required to repair some of the rusted or smashed boxes. I straightened the top rails, welded a few split seams, caulked a few lap joints, sanded all the exterior rust (or at least all that I could easily get to), attached additional ladder rungs, replaced the cracked 4×8 runners, built upper box extensions, added a roof, fitted a new access hatch, and installed pneumatic fill pipes and vents. The exterior received two coats of paint. The metal paint came from the “oops” pile at the hardware store, but it looks like Ford/New Holland Blue or pretty close to it (but don’t trust my color-impaired eyes). Inside the wagon I applied a graphite paint to help material slide down the slope to the trap door. The jury is still out as to whether the graphite makes any improvement. The only remaining to-do is repairing the extendable wagon tongue. I need to put in a new steel channel since the old one is twisted and consequently it doesn’t telescope properly.
The grain auger is new. I looked for an used auger, but all the ones I found were either too small or too damaged. I’m sure with more persistence I could have found one at an auction, but auctions are time-wasting traps. After attending a few auctions, I had to call it quits because I couldn’t justify spending so much time for so little benefit.
The feed mill delivered three tons of grain to test the pneumatic fill setup. Everything blew into the wagon without a hitch. It appears that I can fit four tons in the wagon, but I wasn’t sure how the material would pile up, so I was conservative with the first load. After driving the wagon out to the back fields where the pigs currently reside, I hooked the tractor hydraulics to the auger and pumped out a ton lickety split. The last ton of feed is probably going to need coaxing to flow down into the hopper, but the first two tons should dump without difficulty.