If you have livestock on your place, you might own and operate a TMR (Total Mixed Ration) machine.
Also known as tub grinders or grinder/mixers, this on-farm feed-processing equipment has seen a great deal of changes and advancement over the years, including the addition of technologies that make them more efficient and reliable than ever before.
For example, Art’s Way just released their new 8215 6-ton Grinder Mixer 6. The company notes that the 8215 is ideal for larger producers who mix batches over and over. And with the same grinding power of Art’s Way’s 26-inch hammermill and common wear parts from other models, the 8215 offers simple and easy servicing. The 8215 also features remote control operations and various scale systems.
While new products continue to enter the market, on-farm feed processors generally fit within three different approaches:
Reel mixers rely on gravity for mixing. A slow-turning reel gently lifts material. As material falls into the center of the reel, a mixing bar helps break it up. Material then moves onto two machine-length augers running in opposite directions. This provides end-to-end mixing for even more consistency.
The reel’s tumbling action thoroughly blends all ingredients, no matter how small or large the batch size. Reel mixers provide a gentle mixing action and result in the fluffiest rations.
Horizontal auger mixers compress ration ingredients rather than fluff as with reel mixers. Lower augers move feed forward while upper augers move it rearward. The feed convergence area at the front of the mixer pushes feed into the upper augers and then moves it to the rear of the mixer. This creates a front-to-back and up-and-down cyclical action within the mixer.
The auger design’s cyclical action quickly blends ingredients while incorporating up to 25% of long-stem forages, increasing to 40% if they’re preprocessed.
Vertical auger mixers blend ration ingredients using a “boiling” action. Augers pick up and elevate material vertically, creating an up-and-down feed-mixing cycle. The rotation of the augers delivers a front-to-back feed-mixing cycle while sidewall baffles help transfer feed from chamber to chamber. With their open-top mixing chambers, these TMRs offer 100% long-stem hay-processing capabilities.
There is one more approach to consider. If you really don’t have the need to process hay or other roughage within the ration, you might want to look at the new Danuser Mega Mixer.
Danuser offers a wide variety of industrial and farm equipment including pallet and grapple forks, wire winders and unrollers, post drivers, auger systems and material handling buckets. Their new Mega Mixer is an enhanced model of the material-handling bucket designed to mix, scoop and dispense a variety of materials ranging from livestock feed to bag-mix concrete. New and improved features include an easy-to-operate discharge end, an 8-inch diameter with 8-inch pitch steel auger for faster mixing and dispensing, a 22.8-cubic-inch motor for improved torque, capable of dispensing three-fourths of a yard of material in 26 seconds (up to 1-inch diameter rock).
The company notes that while the Mega Mixer excels at scooping, mixing and dispensing concrete and wildlife feed, it also can handle dry topsoil, asphalt, sawdust, sand and manure.
“We like to develop and produce products that provide more versatility for the owner” says Glenn Danuser, vice president and co-founder of Danuser Machinery Company.
“When developing the Mega Mixer, we made a list of what customers were asking for on a similar product we had been distributing,” he says, “including larger capacities and different mounting options.”
Mounts on both sides of the Mega Mixer allow the operator to dispense on either the right or left side of the host vehicle to better meet each project’s specific needs. The Mega Mixer includes pin holders, easy-to-read yardage markers, and two multi-link chutes that store conveniently on the bucket.
Additional accessories include 24-inch and 36-inch chutes, and a funnel with 6-inch hose adapter. A closable discharge end limits spilling and allows for faster material mixing.
An optional hopper extension increases the Mega Mixer’s capacity from three-fourths of a yard to 1 yard, making it a solid choice for scooping, mixing and delivering livestock feed.
Of course, you wouldn’t want to use the Mega Mixer for both livestock/wildlife feed and concrete, asphalt, sand or similar materials. Still, as an overall chore handler, the Mega Mixer could be a welcome addition to your machine shed.
Michael Gustafson has written for and about farm equipment companies, their products and dealerships for more than 40 years, including 25 years with John Deere. He lives on a small acreage in Dennison, Ill.