Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Another Episode of DIY

I'm getting to the age when I notice the things that are migrating away, and I'm not just talking about looking in the mirror.  A lot of infrastructure that farm folk rely on is disappearing locally which necessitates finding alternatives, sometimes too far away to be feasible.  When Agway in Bath was in business we had our animal feed ground at their mill.  When they closed their doors (taking our dividends with them, but that's another story) we were willing to try the other mill in town.  They served us pretty well for a few years and then decided that upgrading their mill equipment (translation - repair or replace so it worked better) was going to be too costly so they, too, ceased grinding. They would be more than happy to sell us all the bagged feed we wanted from Blue Seal or other companies, but that wasn't what we wanted to do for several reasons.  So we asked around and found a Mennonite business that handles agricultural needs in Penn Yan and inquired about having our feed ground.  Well, they could mix it but didn't have a grinder and did we think other people would come from the Bath area?  All we could say was 'maybe' so they acquired a (heavily) used grinder and actually have done a very good job with it for us.....until last month when they gave us notice that it wasn't cost effective for them to have a big tractor tied up sporadically to run the mill for us and a couple other customers and they were going to stop doing it in August.

Travelling farther than Penn Yan was not going to be financially sensible for us, and suppose the new place did a mediocre job besides?  Feeling more than a little put out with circumstance we decided to look for a used grinder of some type and if price and condition were favorable we'd buy it and start milling our own feed.


The Gehl Mix-All 125!  (pronounced "gale")

Empire Tractor in North Cohocton had just taken it in as a trade for something else.  They said they hadn't seen one on their lot in a few years and we were prepared for all kinds of damage from misuse (because you never know...)  but it was in quite good condition and only needed minor attention to a bearing and a good cleaning inside.  It runs off the PTO of the tractor, so no engine to worry about.  It had been stored inside and had all its parts and the price was pretty good considering a new one goes for 35-40K.  It lacks an owner's manual, but we're looking online.

So, you shovel corn into the hopper......

The cobs go through a hammermill to be crushed into pieces that will go through the proper sized screen and then it dumps into the mixer body.

At this point you would add other things and let it all mix thoroughly before augering it out for bagging or direct feeding.  However, we don't have a way to store the other components in bulk (soybean, distiller's grain, molasses) so we will still have to run to the Mennonite place and buy sufficient quantity each time for the weight of corn we've ground, put everything back in the mixer and then draw it off again as finished feed, but it's an improvement over buying somebody else's bagged feed or spending lots more money and time driving to another mill (assuming we could find one).

So, we drew off the ground corn and bagged it to take and weigh at the Mennonite's place.  I ran the hydraulics and Andy bagged it right in the truck bed.  Why lift bags from the ground if you don't have to?

It does a good job of grinding and we're happy with it....and happy that we don't have to depend on someone else's mill, skill and schedule.

If anybody wants some ground corn, just let us know ;-)


  1. Interesting - we have several mills around - quite a few actually that will grind custom blends. Maybe because of all the horse farms? You'll probably be happier doing your own anyway.

  2. There's still some feed mills up here (or at least I think there are), but that's not convenient for you at all. Let me know if you want me to ask around

  3. When as a kid my grandfather decided to buy a Gehl Mixall mill for grinding feed for the hogs, I thought it would be better than shovel corn on the cob twice a day and carry it over to the feed lot in a steel bushel basket. Several baskets a feeding. We hooked Gehl Mixall up to the Farmall M which was most sufficient to run it. Pull it up to the corncrib and start shoveling and let the cob corn flow into the auger and grind away. After there was a certain amount ground it was over to the barn where we used to shovel oats out of the granary room into the mill and then threw down a couple of bales of alfalfa and ground that along with a bag or two of hog supplement. What was great then we drove the outfit over to the self feeders for shoats that were being fed out for slaughter. The sows had a storage wagon they were fed from individually when they were having their little ones. Still work but a little easier. Thanks for the memories back to the 1960's.

    1. We can always find a way to make it work, can't we? We farm people are all kindred spirits in that regard. :-)