This year we had grown a field of spring oats following potatoes which grew well and were harvested in good conditions. The plan was to mill the oats, use them as animal feed and keep the straw for bedding.
The existing meal bin would be replaced with a bigger one which was lying spare at the back of the yard. We would modify the new tank to allow us to get the mill mixed meal into it, but also fit a standard pipe for a lorry to blow in nuts if needed.
Putting a base on the new meal bin
The bottom of the new tank had a square bottom on it which was no good for the auger which takes the feed out of the bin into the shed. We solved this issue by cutting off the existing flange which I welded to the top of a small fertiliser sower hopper which was bought from a man.
Next, I cut a hole in the side of the fertiliser hopper and welded in a large diameter pipe at roughly the angle the auger would be and then bolted this to the bottom of the new tank.
Fitting a pipe for the meal lorry
There was an old meal bin with a 4″ 100mm pipe which was used by the meal lorry to blow in the nuts. I cut it at the top and side and welded in a section of pipe to make this fit our new tank. A lid was made out of the old bottom section, a neat hole was made for the pipe and it was fully welded. When the pipe had a bracket welded at the bottom to bolt it to the tank leg, the lid was sealed with silicon and tek screwed in place to keep it watertight.
Getting the homemade meal into the bin
The oats which were saved are bagged and some grain is in the underfloor dryer, this grain is ran through a Gehl mill mixer and other concentrates are added and mixed together.
Initially, we had the idea of blowing this meal into the tank with a grain blower and a large diameter pipe which I had welded a bend onto, and cut and bolted a hatch with a lid onto the top of the tank. A flexible pipe and flange was added at the bottom for fitting to the grain blower and a flexible pipe was added to the top so it could be pulled out of the hatch and the lid closed.
Although the trial run of adding a few buckets to the grain blower worked, when we tried to fill the tank using the trailer full of meal which has a conveyor bottom, the pipe became blocked and this method was abandoned. The combination of the finely milled grain flour being difficult to blow and the slightly smaller diameter pipe were probably the underlying issues here.
After firing the blower and pipe into the nettles we brought out a grain auger which has its own wheels and jacking mechanism, this is powered by a hydraulic motor with two hydraulic hoses and fittings. We cranked it up high enough to set it into the filling hatch, put a reception tank at the base and connected the hydraulic hoses to the Kramer. The trailer of meal was backed up and the whole load was filled into the tank in a few minutes.
I will fit another top-filling hatch with a slightly modified angle for the auger to the top side of the bin so the auger can sit out of the way next to the wall.