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MAKER OFFERS TIPS TO ENSURE MIXERS ARE FIT FOR WINTER FEEDING

9th October 2014

With grass growth slowing and cattle likely to soon be brought in for winter, diet feeder maker Shelbourne Reynolds is reminding dairy and beef farmers to check over their machines before putting them into action.

“A well looked-after feeder will do the job it’s designed to do – carefully process and thoroughly mix the ration ingredients, and distribute them accurately,” points out James Swinstead, service manager for the manufacturer, which makes vertical auger Powermix machines at its Suffolk factory.  

Powermix News

“If it’s not properly maintained, those processing, mixing and distribution actions can be affected, and the effort put into accurately calculating rations can be lost, with milk output and liveweight gain suffering as a result.”

First check, says Mr Swinstead, should be the gearbox oil level.

“On a Shelbourne machine, this should be half way up the level guide on newer models, and filling the bottom sight glass on older versions. At the same time, check that the filler/level tank isn’t damaged and giving a false reading.

“Then check the auger blades. As these do a dual job of chopping and aiding feed-out, sharpness is essential. While carefully accessing the tub to examine these, also cast an eye over the rest of the auger and tub for any other damage or wear.”

The feed-out conveyor on Shelbourne machines is positively driven with a toothed roller, so correct belt tension is important. To tension the belt the adjusters are mounted on the idle end, and the belt must be kept ‘square’ while any adjustment is made.

“Alteration made to the front adjuster needs to be mirrored in terms of adjustment to the rear one, and this can be measured to check. There are rollers on and in the conveyor system which are greaseable, and even if these have plenty of grease in them they should be checked for any movement in the bearings. At the same time, remove the end drive cover and inspect the conveyor drive coupler and oil the chain if required. Lastly, check the conveyor belt itself for wear or tear.”

Weigh cell accuracy can be affected by damage and moisture ingress, points out Mr Swinstead, and both the cells themselves and their wiring should be checked to ensure they are secure and free from damage.

“Make sure any loose wiring is secured, and repair or replace any that’s damaged. Also see that all fixing/mounting bolts are still tight and none are broken.”

Next, ensure the weigh head control unit functions and buttons work as they should, and that it is weighing correctly.

“If there’s any doubt about the accuracy of the scale, a known weight should be placed in or on the tub to confirm it’s reading correctly.”

Mr Swinstead also reminds feeder users to check that all power shafts are greased and all guards damage-free – and replaced if not.

“Hydraulic pipes can be easily overlooked. The outer rubber protective covering on multi-functioning hydraulic blocks should be examined for damage, and for leaks at fittings or hose crimps.

“Multi-functioning valve blocks do require multi-switched electrical hand controllers, and these are an area vulnerable to damage, so a once-over of all electrical wiring – including that for the lights – is important.

“Lastly, check over tyre condition and pressures and wheel nut tightness. Even if the machine never goes on the public road, these are critical to safe and accurate machine handling. And for those that do travel from farm to farm, working indicator, tail and brake lights are obviously a must.”

For further information:                                          Issued by:

 

Neil Smith, sales and marketing director                    Martin Rickatson

Shelbourne Reynolds Engineering Ltd                       JMR Agriculture

Tel: 01359 250415                                                      01953 688531                        

Mobile: 07739 332196                                                07595 031217

Email: neil.smith@shelbourne.com                             jmr.agriculture@gmail.com

Web: www.shelbourne.com                                        www.jmragriculture.com

 


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