A new silage facer with no moving parts is drawing strong interest from dairy producers looking to cut maintenance costs and headaches, says a partner in the company that developed it.
Adam Zeltwanger of Riverview, LLP, Morris, MN, says the Easy Rake Silage Facer was introduced around May 1 this year after more than three years of development and testing on the company's own dairies.
“It's going over very well; we've moved about 25 units since then,” he says.
The heavy-duty facer features long, spear-like teeth that rake silage from a bunker or pile. At the opposite end are brackets that allow the operator to quickly unhook and switch to a bucket or grapple for loading a TMR mixer. There are no hydraulic hoses to hook and unhook.
The original Easy Rake, 16' long with 2'-long teeth, was built for an industrial loader. But 12', 7' and 4' models now are available, too, for various types of loaders, including skid steers and telehandlers. All wheel-loader models are 8' wide; skid steer models are 6' wide.
“There are probably more sizes to come; we're getting some requests,” says Zeltwanger.
Riverview, LLP is an umbrella company that includes Riverview Farms and Riverview Dairy, which has about 30,000 cows at six sites. Zeltwanger says he used to maintain equipment on the dairies.
“I was fixing those face grinders all the time,” he remembers. “It was either a tightener, the chain, bearings, sprockets, hoses, orbital motors, the seals were going out — always something.”
Too much time was spent working on facers, so Riverview personnel decided to build their own. They came up with an initial design, built and tested one, then made several improvements over the three-year period. They applied for a patent on the final design, then sold a few facers to friends before developing a marketing plan.
Zeltwanger says the facer works well in haylage or corn silage, leaving the silage face packed tight. Also, it doesn't reduce particle length, which he says is “a big question” with other facers.
“It saves time, reduces maintenance and preserves particle length — those are the three points we hit,” he says. “We feel it's going to revolutionize silage facing.”