Nebraska cattleman relies on Bunker Silos for increased feed efficiency

KCC Feeding Minden Nebraska
KCC has been a valued Hanson Silo customer for over 7 years

When you are raising large numbers of cattle a year, you’re always looking for ways to increase profit and boost efficiency.

“We are a natural feed yard with three or four kinds of breeds and raise close to 20,000 head of cattle a year. They pretty well are all shipped to Tyson in Lexington,” said John Wubbenhorst, owner and founder of KCC Feeding, Inc. of Minden, Nebraska.

His ranch is a family-run business assisted by his wife, Dianna, two sons, John Jr. and Russell, with two granddaughters who also do office work. He got started in the ranching business with his dad and now has 20 employees. Minden is a city of over 2,900 population, established in 1876 in Kearney County, Nebraska.

“We farm about 800-900 acres and cut all the corn for silage, a quarter is put into alfalfa hay. We always buy another quarter, so we’ll cut about 900 acres of silage. Maybe another quarter is grassland and we also rent a section of grass besides that,” said Wubbenhorst.

John has been in the cattle industry his whole life. He grew up in eastern Nebraska and later worked at a ranch near Burwell. From there he worked for a rancher south of Kearney before managing three rented yards near Minden and finally built his own natural feed yard south of Norman.

When the DEQ came in and said they had to have ponds, there was no financial way to build a pond on someone else’s ground and still make money. So he built his Minden feed yard in 2004.

Wubbenhorst is no stranger to the Hanson engineered precast concrete bunkers. He believes he first read about Hanson Silo in a magazine. Wubbenhorst installed his initial Hanson bunkers in 2010 and 2014 to hold both high moisture corn (HMC) and silage. With the increased cost of getting dry distillers grain (DDGS) from an ethanol plant, he decided in 2016 to purchase a separate high moisture T-panel corn storage bunker. The footprint wasn’t big enough for his needed storage so he added on again in that same year with 480’ additional 12’ T-panels.

All totaled, his bunkers have a capacity of 1.2 million bushels of HMC and 25,000 tons of corn silage. This past year he put up a million bushel of wet corn; one bunker is for that and one bunker is for silage.

“I’ve used Hanson bunkers for a long time,” said Wubbenhorst who got his first one in 2010. “In the very beginning we just put a few up. I’ve told other people about the bunkers that they’ve sold to. They’ve been pretty good to me, they are honest and do a good job.”

Nebraska Bunker SIlo
KCC replaced their dirt walls with precast concrete to avoid spoiled feed.

In 2010 Hanson Silo shipped out 416’ of 12’ L-panels for Wubbenhorst’s first bunker. That was followed up in 2014 by an additional 248’ of 12’ L-panels. Two years later Hanson delivered an additional 660’ of the same size panels and just this year 480’ more were added.

Before going to the Hanson precast concrete bunkers Wubbenhorst said he had a bunker floor in the ground with dirt sides. He said there was some spoilage and dirt would get mixed in with the feed.

Flat Pile Spoiled Feed
KCC had a big problem with spoiled feed before the Hanson Bunker system and Easy Rake were used

Hanson precast concrete bunkers and bunker silos are some of the most efficient, cost-effective, large volume storage systems available and Wubbenhorst figures they will eventually pay for themselves. Constructed in a controlled environment, they’re higher quality and stronger than those of competitors. And since they are pre-built and modular, they allow for faster onsite building times and the freedom to change configurations.

It was in 2014 that Wubbenhorst set his eye on the Easy Rake.

“The Easy Rake is good and it stands up good and doesn’t break. It does a nice job. Our silage piles are pretty high, so we need something to get it down. We were using an excavator to take the top off. It’s kind of dangerous, you shouldn’t make your pile so high. It does a nice job in the winter too. We have two different silos (bunkers). We put up about 23,000 to 24,000 ton of corn silage and a million bushel of wet corn,” noted Wubbenhorst.

“Hanson Silo does a really good job — you kind of tell them when you want it and they will darn sure work with you and they will get it done. They’ve been real good people to work with,” added Wubbenhorst.

 

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Silage Bunker

Silage Bunker Nebraska
KCC’s silage bunker completed in 2014 by Hanson Silo increased their capacity as well as improved their feed quality.

Approximate size: 250’x 260′

2010: Purchased 416′ of 12’L panels

2014: Purchased 248′ of 12’L panels

and an Easy Rake

Nebraska High Moisture Corn Bunker
KCC’s new addition was a High Moisture Corn Bunker completed in 2016, but is expanding in 2017 for greater capacity

High Moisture Corn Bunker

Approximate size: 190’x 420′

2016: Purchased 660′ of 12’T panels

2017: Purchased 480′ of 12’T panels

 

Total Panel footages

664′ of 12′ L panels

1140′ of 12′ T panels

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Uses for T-Panels and L-Panels are endless

Hanson precast concrete panels are one of the most cost effective, large volume storage systems available. Hanson Silo has provided them for applications such as EPA and DOT approved salt and sand storage; animal carcass composting; recycling scrap metal and community recycling centers; to prevent toxic runoff from waste dumps; aggregate storage; coal containment systems; landscaping/nursery; animal food; granular fertilizer; manure storage and scrap metal storage.

Because pre-cast concrete products such as bunkers and bunker silos are produced in a controlled environment, they exhibit high quality and uniformity. Factors affecting quality typically found on a job site such as temperature, improper curing, poor craftsmanship and material quality are nearly eliminated in our plant environment.

Hanson has also provided the panels for specialty use as noise barriers and privacy fences with decorative facia such as exposed aggregate or cultured stone; retaining walls; building foundations; skateboard parks and as a safety divider wall at pistol and rifle ranges and as a retaining wall filled with ballistic sand.

Hanson’s clientele varies from the mid-sized farmers, feed mills, to the largest food and grain companies in the world to ethanol plants and industrial clients. While the majority of our business is in the upper Midwest and southern Canada, it is continuing to expand throughout the 48 states.

 

EZ Rake: This rake don’t break!

Hanson Silo Easy Rake sales have skyrocketed to locations all over the world. Sales leads for the patented Easy Rake are generated from their website at www.hansonsilo.com, advertising and word of mouth to as far away as Uruguay, Russia, China Mexico and Canada and they have a large network of U.S. dealers that have been set up over the past years, noted Hanson.

“It’s an easy sale because the Easy Rake is efficient, saves farmers money and requires no service after the sale. The neat part about it is it attaches to any loader; you hook up and go, and there are no hoses to hook up. Not only does it improve the feed quality and time spent feeding each day, but the safety aspect of being farther away from a pile that can avalanche down is huge,” said Hanson.

The Easy Rake saves considerable time, and time is money. It will reduce facing time by half compared to the skid steer method. It also preserves particle cut length.

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, degrade feed, are 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 59 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 is good and it stands up good and doesn’t break. It does a nice job. Our silage piles are pretty high, so we need something to get it down. We were using an excavator to take the top off. It’s kind of dangerous, you shouldn’t make your pile so high. It does a nice job in the winter too. We have two different silos (bunkers). We put up about 23,000 to 24,000 ton of corn silage and a million bushel of wet corn.”

 

— John Wubbenhorst

Minden, Nebraska rancher

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