Vibrator shakes 20 minutes off fill time

Seeding has gone well for Bob Rusk this spring. Last month, he bought a Flexxifinger Vibra-Screen, thinking it would keep his granular fertilizer flowing better so that he would have faster fills.

Rusk said last week that the Vibra-Screen works even better than expected.

“It’s cut our fill time by more than 20 minutes. We fill three times a day, so the vibrator gives us almost an hour-and-a-half extra seeding time every day. We seed 10,000 acres. We’ll finish two days ahead of schedule because we bought this thing,” said the Lafleche, Sask., farmer, adding that he puts granular on nearly all acres each year.

“That’s an hour-and-a-half we’re seeding instead of sitting. We fill about six tonnes each load. We buy good quality fertilizer, but no matter where you get it, you’re always going to get those little chunks. This vibrator shakes them down to granules.

“When we’re hauling, we put in that powdered additive that’s supposed to make fertilizer flow better. It’s something like Absorball. We never haul when it’s rainy or snowing, but we add it anyway. And we still get the small chunks.”

Rusk said he doesn’t get any giant chunks falling off the Vibra-Screen, but a few smaller ones pass over the edge that the vibrating screens couldn’t shake down. He saves them in a bucket and later crushes them into a fine powder to spread on the lawn. He figures a 130-tonne bin will yield up two or three wheelbarrows of leftover chunks for his lawn.

“Every hour counts when you have this many acres to seed,” he said.

“It normally takes us 25 days to finish, so even if we just save an hour per day, that works out to about two seeding days. If the weather turns bad, a lot can happen in those last two days. For $3,000 it’s a pretty good investment.”

Saskatchewan producer Bob Rusk puts in an extra hour-and-a-half seeding every day by running all his granular fertilizer through a Vibra-Screen. On his 10,000 acre farm, the vibrator will allow him to finish seeding two days earlier this year. | Dave Dietrich photo

Vibra-Screen is the brain child of Dave Dietrich, owner of Flexxifinger in Assinniboia, Sask. He said he first displayed the prototype at this past winter’s Crop Production Show in Saskatoon. At that point he had only built one of the vibrating screen units. They went into production in late March.

“The vibrator deck breaks up the softer lumps and the rock-hard lumps are expelled into a five-gallon bucket,” Dietrich said, adding that the overall dimension is about three feet by four feet and 10 inches deep.

“While you focus on the discharge end of the auger or conveyor, the Vibra-Screen will keep the intake end flowing freely,” he said.

“It removes hard fertilizer lumps and foreign materials that clog the fertilizer runs on your seeder. That causes misses and down time in the field.”

The screen on the main deck is one-inch expanded metal, welded to the frame. Right now there are two optional screens: a three-quarter inch screen that sits above the main deck and a half inch by 13-gauge, 3/32-inch steel. Both have their own frame that bolts to the main system. Other screen sizes will probably be added.

Dietrich installs a variable speed 115-volt electric vibrator motor, which he said keeps the product flowing through the screens quite quickly. The screen area is 35 inches by 29 inches to accept large bin openings or auger spouts. The low profile design of the unit means it fits under most bins.

Vibra-Screen sells for $2,995. At that price, the buyer has a choice between either a hopper for augers or a stand for conveyors.

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