Our Pen Crew’s New Toy – A Feed Vacuum
Shayne Noller - [email protected]
Here at MacFarlane’s Pheasants we are continually striving to become more efficient and economical.We look for ways to cut costs and retune our processes to remain competitive. With the rising cost of feed, we needed to make a change in regards to dealing with leftover feed after the shipping season ends. The pen manager does his best to estimate the amount of feed the last birds on the farm will need before they are shipped so that a minimal amount is left in the feeders, but circumstances arise that, sometimes, complicate this effort. And, even when the feeders appear empty, by looking at the pan, they usually have about 20-30 pounds of feed
around the cone that the birds can not reach.
In the past, the leftover feed was usually disposed of while washing the feeders, if it was a “small” amount. If there was a good deal of feed left we dumped them by hand or the use of a skid loader into a wagon which is difficult work. We also hired a contractor to vacuum the feed into auger wagons but the price per hour is over $100 for the labor. Now, while this sounds expensive, and it is, it opened our eyes to the advantages of salvaging our feed. Our initial estimates for salvaged feed ranged from five to fifteen tons. In less than eight hours working with the contractor we collected over 20 tons of feed!
The decision to purchase a vacuum was a nobrainer. We purchased a gently used Agri-Vac from Walinga Inc. It is a top of the line agricultural and industrial vacuum machine that offers many benefits over manual feed
removal and relocation. It moves feed and grain on a cushion of air that minimizes damage to the pellets. It is portable and can be mounted on a small trailer which can be pulled by a tractor or utility vehicle. And, it moves the feed very quickly into an auger wagon which is ideal for transporting the feed back to a bin. These turbulent economic times combined with a competitive industry like ours call for innovation and change.
By adjusting the way we deal with things like “leftover” feed we will keep our costs down and our business on the forefront. The new feed vacuum is a foot forward in our effort to streamline and eliminate wasteful practices on our farm and we will continue to follow this path into the future.