Mike Ryan was never satisfied with the placement of the inoculant applicator tank on his self-propelled forage harvester.

“The applicator is usually mounted on the platform to the right of the cab,” says Ryan, of Ryan, IA. “The problem with this location is it requires either removal of the safety railing or some kind of modification to the railing. It also reduces visibility, eliminates the ability to clean the window, and puts the applicator fill height up to 8’ off the ground. That alone makes filling the tank with dry inoculant quite difficult.”

His solution? Move the applicator tank. He looked at his harvester to determine where it could be mounted while allowing for delivery of the inoculant without restricting access to the harvester.

The best place to put it was behind the drive tire, Ryan determined. So he designed a bracket with a hinge that allows him to mount the applicator up close to the harvester’s side shields and lets him swing it out of the way when he needs direct access to the forage harvester.

“We looked at the size of the box and used a tape measure and a string to determine where we needed to put a pivot point,” says Ryan, who harvests forage for his own cattle and also does custom work. “Moving the tank puts it only 4’ off the ground so you can easily fill the tank while standing on the ground.”

The mounting bracket will work on any self-propelled forage harvester built since 1995, although it will need to be modified slightly depending on the harvester frame. It will also work with liquid tanks, he says.

When the applicator is mounted higher on the platform, the inoculant flows downward to the harvester’s accelerator by gravity and a small amount of vacuum created by the accelerator. There wasn’t enough vacuum to push the inoculant up about 2’, so Ryan added a 12-volt blower that blows it up to the accelerator. This is where the break-away point is located.

The blower and delivery tubing to the accelerator are mounted stationary on the main frame while the applicator has an extension tube that swings in and out of the blower.

Whether the applicator is filled or empty, just flip a latch and swing. There are no bolts, couplers or electrical wires to unhook.

“That blower added a little cost to the unit, but it was well worth the convenience of not having to climb up the harvester every time you needed to fill the tank,” says Ryan.

He’s working with an applicator manufacturer to bring his mounting bracket to market. For more information, contact him at ryanbros@yousq.net.