Feeding Systems LLC: Livestock Producers Save Time and Money

Published on Mon, 06/22/2015 - 11:31am

In this ever-growing competitive world, time is money. Finding ways to most effectively utilize time can lead to a more profitable bottom line. For cattle producers, this is especially true with the labor-intensive work required to ensure a healthy herd.The feeding process is the most labor-intensive, time-consuming job at a feedlot. Mixing and preparing the feed, loading the feed and delivering the feed to the cattle, all take valuable time. Enter Feeding Systems LLC. Started by the Niewohner Brothers in 1998, Feeding Systems LLC (www.feedingsystems.biz.) has helped producers improve operations and save time with the Ag Trailer, Batch Box and the Grain Cart. These products are designed, engineered and tested by the same people who use them on a daily basis, the Niewohner brothers.

Delbert and Marilee Niewohner started their farm and cattle operation near Albion, Nebraska. Along with their four sons, they have expanded this operation to include farming around 15,000 acres, growing mostly corn. They own and operate three feedlots, feeding around 75,000 head of cattle, as well as a farrow to finish confinement with about 18,000 swine. About three years ago, they started a cow calf operation, which has grown to approximately 650 cows. The four brothers include 58 year old Jerry, who overseas the operation as a whole; 56 year old Steve, who manages the Sidump’r and Feeding Systems entities; Mark, 53, takes care of the feedlot operation; and Matt, 48, takes care of the farming. Sister, Linda and many of the Niewohner grandchildren and spouses are also employed by the company. Each one contributes unique talents to the overall operation.

In looking at the products developed by Feeding Systems LLC, the business is all about producers helping producers make the most of their time. Dana Ienn, Sales and Marketing Manager for Feeding Systems LLC says, “Every product we build goes through a testing period prior to it going into the production stage. Any changes we make to any product is tested in various applications. This assures that the product will withstand adverse conditions.”

The Niewohners purchased their first Sidump’r brand side dump trailer in 2002, and they now run four trailers. Believers in the Sidump’r system, the Niewohners took the opportunity to purchase Sidump’r in 2010. Ienn says, “This allows them to have a manufacturing plant to also build their batch boxes, which were previously built at their Elgin, Nebraska feedlot.” In August of 2013, the Niewohners moved the Sidump’r plant from Plainview to Columbus, Nebraska. With 40 acres and a 350,000 square foot facility, there is plenty of room to accommodate multiple product lines as well as any future expansion.”

The Ag Trailer is designed and engineered for stock piling manure and back hauling dirt or sand to backfill pens. The trailer is designed to have fewer moving parts than a spreader. The Ag Trailer is patterned after the Sidump’r trailer. It operates on one set of hydraulics and does not require a tractor with PTO. The trailer has a single center cylinder and can dump the tub to either side. It has no chains, beaters, gear boxes, sprockets or chain-driven steel pushers.

Ienn says, “Our 24' trailer tub is curved, not flat, unlike most spreaders that have flat bottoms with steel push dividers to push the material to the rear. As a result, the spreader’s floor has a tendency to fail or wear out or be pierced by the material being loaded. Spreaders are not made to take the same abuse that our tubs can.” In addition, the Ag Trailer can unload on the go.

The Batch Box was created to streamline the feedlot feeding processes. The Batch Box is a hydraulically raised and lowered side-dump box powered by an electric motor, and controlled via remote control. Serving as a temporary location to place batches of feed, the Batch Box reduces the amount of time spent running a loader between feed ingredients and a waiting feed truck.

Instead of the feed truck waiting on the loader, the ingredients for a batch of feed can be placed inside the batch box while the feed truck is off distributing its current load. By the time the feed truck returns to refill, the loader will have had time to fill the Batch Box with all the feed ingredients.

Dumping the accumulated feed batch into the feed truck can be done in 30 seconds, as opposed to waiting for the loader to fetch each individual ingredient. Currently, the Batch Box is offered in two sizes: the BB900 and BB1100HD. According to Ienn, “Essentially, the Batch Box is designed to eliminate a feed truck, saving time and money. With less idle time on the payloader, cattle get their feed faster and more consistently.” Steve Niewohner, inventor of the Batch Box, saw a need at the feedlot to streamline and speed up the feeding process. He can attest to the efficiency and speed of the Batch Box. The entire feeding process can now be completed in seven hours, a full two hours faster than the time spent prior to the installation of double Batch Boxes. Instead of three feed trucks struggling to keep up, only two feed trucks are required to do the job.

Timmerman and Sons, a family owned business that ranch and feed cattle in Nebraska, South Dakota, Colorado, Texas and Kansas, utilize the Batch Box in all of its feedlots. Andrew Timmerman discusses the importance of the Batch Box. “Our feedlots will not operate without the use of a Batch Box. The Batch Box has completely streamlined our feeding system by speeding up feeding, saving time and increasing production. It can eliminate an entire feed truck and person.”
Jack Lawless, feed yard manager for Gotsch Cattle Company, concurs with Timmerman. “We have greatly improved our feeding time and efficiency by utilizing the two Batch Box system with one payloader. They really help us cover the yards in a timely manner. Any service issues have been handled quickly by Steve and his crew. I don’t know what we would do without them now!”

Equaling the efficiency of the Batch Box for the feed lot, the Grain Cart was developed to aid efficiency in the field. It flows through the corn field collecting the harvested crop, then deposits the load into the semi in one action. At the same time, the dump design protects the integrity of the grain. When the grain doesn’t go through an auger, it’s less apt to be damaged. Ienn notes, “We utilized the concept of the Batch Box and put it on a frame with wheels or tracks. The great advantage of our Grain Cart is that there are no gear boxes, augers, or flighting that can wear out. Plus it can also be used for silage or haylage.”

Another advantage is there is no need for a PTO tractor to operate the Grain Cart. All are equipped with scales to measure each load and can handle from 900 to 1,100 bushels, depending on the model. Feeding Systems currently offer two models, with plans for a larger model in the works. Niewohner Farms is able to realize the efficiency of employing just one Grain Cart. It will keep up with a 12 row combine harvesting just over 6,500 acres of a combination of high moisture and 18 percent corn. Their model of Grain Cart has a capacity of close to 1,100 bushels.

According to Matt Niewohner, who has used a Grain Cart for the past five years, there are many advantages. “The Grain Cart has a unique way of dumping the grain into the semi by utilizing four cylinders, two lift and two tilt, without damaging any kernels. Any time you run corn through an auger with flighting, it has the opportunity to damage it.”

Niewohner discusses the efficiency of the Grain Cart. “I had a tough time with two regular grain carts keeping up in high moisture corn because it took too long to unload. The batch box style Grain Cart unloads in a fraction of the time. It is also less maintenance because it has no gear boxes, augers, flighting or pivot points where the auger has to fold up. There are four rollers with bushings that have to be greased, and that’s it for maintenance. Running the Grain Cart on tracks is smoother and has less compaction, especially for no-till. And you don’t have to worry about flats. The track system we used last year in sandy soil and rolling hills worked great. I won’t have another grain cart that utilizes augers ever again. Feeding Systems’ Grain Cart is the only way to go.”

Yes, time means money, and with the options provided by Feeding Systems LLC, cattle producers can save time and money — and increase the bottom line!