Refills in the Fast Lane

March 11, 2011 07:35 PM
Refills in the Fast Lane

When it’s a perfect spring day and your planter is rolling, you don’t want a refill stop to impede your pace. With that in mind—and firsthand experience as a farmer, seed dealer and welder—Mark Hoffmann designs and builds the Trailer Conveyor System to efficiently handle bulk seed.

"As a seed dealer, about half of my seed sales are in Probox or true bulk. With this trend, I knew we had to think bigger when it came to handling seed," Hoffmann says. "With our Trailer Conveyor System, we can fill a 40' planter from one spot. This system gives farmers the working capacity they need while keeping them safe."

Hoffmann’s Trailer Conveyor System can be installed on 45', 48' or 53' trailers. It bolts onto the undercarriage of the trailer, and the 18' conveyor provides more than 100° of swivel and a 40' reach with the telescoping tube. The system is self-contained, with a Honda self-start motor and independent hydraulic system.

"The trailer provides the reliability of air brakes and a proportioned center of gravity," Hoffmann says. "It eliminates the need to lift seed containers over the top of a shuttle."

In 2010, Illinois farmer Rod Wilson headed to the field with a central-fill planter for the first time. To further streamline refills, he had Hoffmann build a 48' custom tender trailer.

"I wanted to go all bulk seed or as much as possible, and with my current equipment there wasn’t a way to move that much seed in bulk," Wilson says.

Coupling a central-fill planter and the Trailer Conveyor System, Wilson reports he cut planter refills from 30 to 40 minutes down to 15 minutes.

"Even on the county highway, we can get the planter close enough to reach across the ditch," Wilson says. "The thing you have to be most careful of is the clearance at the bottom of the conveyor when it’s extended."

The Trailer Conveyor System leaves plenty of room to customize the trailer to fit the farmer’s needs.

"I have a fertilizer tank over the fifth wheel, and we added toolboxes and parts storage," Wilson says.

Other options include an entry assist ladder, jumbo bag lifter, air- or spring-ride trailer, electric or manual pallet jack, side doors and lighting packages.

Hoffmann says customers are grateful for the security the trailer provides.

After a couple of years of building the conveyor systems, Hoffmann has developed a kit for easy installation.

"The important factor regarding the trailer farmers use is to make sure the floor is good enough to support a forklift," Hoffmann says.

The base price of the kit with the power unit, conveyor and hydraulic system is $16,000.

"I was most happy with the overall ease, speed and safety of our new way to refill the planter," Wilson says.

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