Farmers over the years have applauded the Easy Rake ® as a timesaving and safer way to handle forage for livestock production. Gold-Eagle Cooperative of Wesley, Iowa has used a Easy Rake ® for two years to unload bridged up fertilizer which can get stacked up high in their Stueve fertilizer storage building.
Spud Rahm, an employee at Gold-Eagle Coop for 31 years, operates a big payloader equipped with a Easy Rake ® from Hanson Silo Company. He’s had it on his payloader for two seasons and says:
“That fertilizer rake is great, it works really good. We use it mostly in the Fall but also in the Spring when our building is getting pretty low. We’ll put in 70 to 80 hours a week in the busy season during which we use the rake a lot. It saves us a lot of time, it really does. Without the rake I couldn’t keep the guys in the tenders and floaters in the field going.”
Rahm said he has more control with the rake and it’s easy to use. After the load is raked it is put into a pit which takes it to holding bin towers. With the auto-disconnect, it’s fast, he uses the same loader to switch from the rake to the payloader bucket.
They store 8,200 tons of potash on one side of the building and 7,200 ton of DAP (Diammonium Phosphate) on the other side compartment. The building will hold up 150 railroad cars with 100 ton on each one.
“I built a homemade poker with a 20 ft. rail and ball on it that I put on the payloader before we got the Easy Rake ® to break up the fertilizer. It was just a poker, you couldn’t rake with it. It didn’t work very good, said Rahm. “Fertilizer piles up pretty high, up to 50 ft. high, and compacts pretty hard and is real difficult to handle. It doesn’t fall, you have to knock it down.”
He said the rake is tremendously safer to use than the poker. With the rake fertilizer comes down in sheets. The poker would make bigger chunks come down at once. The rake also allows him to get much higher up on the pile.
“Many bulk storage warehouses of fertilizer, chemical, bio-mass energy have a need to get their piles down safely. The Easy Rake ® has been a top safety pick for these applications. We have sold rakes into bridged Urea, Potash, MAP, DAP bulk bins. Cement, Fly Ash, Coal and sugar beet processing plants have also utilized Easy Rake ® as part of their operations unloading piles of bulk material,” said Mike Hanson of Hanson Silo Company of Lake Lillian, Minnesota.
In the past, but not likely still so, fertilizer storage warehouses would use dynamite to blow the bridged fertilizer apart.
“I talked to a guy 10 to 12 years ago who told me he was the last guy to use dynamite for this purpose. You can’t find anyone legally licensed to do it anymore,” said Rahm.
The agronomy guy at Gold Eagle Coop in Wesley did some research on the Internet where he found out about the Easy Rake ®. They viewed a video on the Hanson website which showed the rake being used on silage and realized it would be perfect for their use at the coop.
“What I like the most about the rake is you can get the fertilizer down. We had a choice between a four foot and a eight foot rake, we have a four foot rake which works great for what we use it for. When the fertilizer is standing there you can rake enough down to keep your bins full. I’d recommend it to others if they are in the same situation as we are having to move a lot of fertilizer,” said Rahm.
Safety is a big factor why the Easy Rake ® has been a big seller. It’s not hard to come by stories where silage being brought down has caved in damaging equipment and even causing loss of life or limb. Mechanical spinning rotary silage facers can be frustrating. Bearings go out, chains and tighteners need to be replaced, motors and sprockets give out and invariably someone forgets to unhook the hydraulic hoses. They are slow, harder on loaders and can be unsafe. The length of the Easy Rake ® keeps the loader further away from the operator and there are no moving parts to break. Patented and designed by dairymen covering eight years of development, it also allows the operator to face all the way to the ground on any bunker, pile or bag, not half way, and from heights up to 40 feet. It is also capable of cutting through plastic, reducing the need to work near the silage cliff and many operators pull tires off the top of bunker with the Easy Rake ®.
The Easy Rake ® ® was invented by Riverview Dairy of Morris, MN in the mid 1990s. Riverview had been using mechanical rotary facers and could not stay ahead of the maintenance and down time on their dairy farms. They began research and development on a facer with no moving parts and used bale spears on a loader arms This worked OK but Riverview was continually breaking the attachments off their loaders among other problems. Several years of R&D, adjusting and rebuilding they built the perfect facer and came out with The Easy Rake ®- “This Rake Don’t Break!”
Riverview then patented the Easy Rake ® and set up a Nationwide network of dealers to sell the rakes. In September of 2011 Riverview sold the product line to Hanson Silo Company.
The Easy Rake ® is available in several different sizes to accommodate different operations for use on skid steer loaders, Telehandlers and payloaders. It’s totally different from other products because it does not have any moving parts whatsoever. Without the moving parts, there are no motors, chains, bearings, sprockets or even hydraulic hoses to hook up or anything like that to go wrong.
Hanson Silo is a fourth generation family owned grain and feed storage and handling business. The Hanson family has been involved in agriculture and has grown to symbolize quality, economy, and dependability. Founded in 1916 by Emil Hanson – a local farmer who wanted a better product for himself and for his neighbors. His goal – to manufacture an improved product at the best price with the lowest upkeep.
For more information on Easy Rake ® or other services offered by Hanson Silo Company, contact them at 11587 County Road 8 SE Lake Lillian, MN 56253 | Office: (320) 664-4171 or visit their website hansonsilo.com. Hanson Silo Company has over 15 dealers located throughout the United States and Canada.