Test: Canzquip grain handlers

By: Jaiden Drought, Photography by: Jaiden Drought


Canzquip grain handlers The swing-away auger in the transport position Canzquip grain handlers
Canzquip grain handlers The inspection holes on the swing-away auger make daily greasing and cleaning a breeze Canzquip grain handlers
Canzquip grain handlers The yellow hose in the foreground allows treatment to be sprayed on the crop as it is stored in the silo Canzquip grain handlers
Canzquip grain handlers The swing-away auger has a reverse drive PTO stub Canzquip grain handlers
Canzquip grain handlers The conventional auger loads the truck, while the swing-away auger refills the silo so the grass seed can be mixed and dried to the correct moisture content Canzquip grain handlers
Canzquip grain handlers The hydraulic bin sweep is not only very simple and effective, but it also saves a considerable amount of shovelling Canzquip grain handlers
Canzquip grain handlers The loading augers on the swing-away machine work in the opposite direction to each other to keep the 10” drive auger at full capacity for longer Canzquip grain handlers
Canzquip grain handlers The reverse scissor lift on the swing-away machine (foreground) supports two thirds of the machine during transport, keeping the machine straight and true Canzquip grain handlers
Canzquip grain handlers The product overflow funnels at the end of the auger reduce spillage if the silo is filled to the brim Canzquip grain handlers
Canzquip grain handlers The seed tender has a long telescopic shoot to fill large or small drills without having to move and reposition Canzquip grain handlers
Canzquip grain handlers The feed auger on the seed tender can be folded down easily for road transport Canzquip grain handlers

Canzquip was originally set up by Ben Tait and his wife Stephanie, who designed and manufactured the SuperSeeder drill and are now branching out into importing and distributing grain-handling equipment.

The Canzquip customer benefits from the cost savings achieved due to the equipment being produced in large quanitites in the US and Canada, so you get high quality equipment at low cost, even though it has been shipped half way around the world to New Zealand.

For this article I will concentrate on the augers, hydraulic bin sweep, and the seed tender — although Canzquip can also supply silos and grain chaser bins.

Grain augers

Any operation that uses a variety of machinery will only let you go at the pace of the slowest machine. This is exactly the same with grain — if you have a high capacity combine but the auger into the silo can only move half a tonne per minute, this will hamstring the whole operation, so upgrading the auger instead of the combine seems to be a very logical exercise. There were two in use during the test and were busy mixing grass seed in the silo as moisture levels have been hard to bring down with the recent cloudy weather. One was loading it into a raised truck deck, it filtered out the grain door into the other auger and back into the silo.

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Conventional auger

This particular model was the HD8 39 (heavy-duty, 8' 39") which conveniently fits in one length in a 40-foot container, and although being the cheaper of the two during the test, it still benefits from some of the nifty features. The HD8 39 had the PTO drive kit on it, which is fixed to a clever self-levelling engine mount. The auger could be self-contained, with its own engine driving the shaft or with a hydraulic pump. This auger was raised and lowered using the brake winch, which didn't seem labour intensive.

A real point of difference with this auger is the four-metres of reach forward from the main frame to the intake. This reach is utilised either to reach right into the centre of large flat bottom silos or underneath raised hopper cone silos.

It has a nifty low-cost gadget that would save you a lot of shovelling. This hydraulic gadget is connected to a pivot over the safety cage on the auger and is run from a separate set of hydraulic hoses from the tractor which can be started and stopped from a valve in the silo. This valve also works as a safety cut-out if anything (including your leg) gets jammed. I was very impressed with this machine. It's quite noisy inside the silo, but in fairness shovelling 60 tonnes of grain is something I wouldn't even consider doing.

Scissor lift auger

The scissor lift auger is considerably more versatile and efficient than the HD version tested, and coupled with the swing-away hopper this is an obvious choice for the big jobs. This particular model is the SLMD 10-59 (Scissor Lift Mechanical Drive 10-inch diameter auger and 59-foot in length). Like the smaller auger, it benefits from the care taken in the factory where the auger shaft and flighting are slid right into the tube off the production line. This ensures there are no bows or warps incurred before assembly and it's a credit to the manufacturer's standards that the auger actually runs quietly, even when it's empty. Because of the length, this auger is in two sections that slot together inside the the main tube. Meridian is cunning here with the use of a six-spline standard PTO shaft. This means any movement during operation can be catered for, as the spline allows movement on the shaft rather than placing stress on end bearings. The strength of the spline means the auger sections can never separate in operation.

There are two key features on this machine that are different to the conventional auger tested: the swinging loading hopper and the hydraulic scissor lift.

Swing load hopper

This is the main reason this particular model can gobble up to 165 tonnes per hour of product. Twin augers in the loading hopper run both clockwise and counter-clockwise, ensuring product is pulled to the middle of the hopper, keeping the transition full so that every revolution of the main tube is taking a full mouth full. This is mounted on four wheels and was originally designed for bottom dumping trailers, but with the ability to move on the right- or left-hand side of the main auger, this gives much-needed flexibility around the often-confined silo area.

Reverse scissor lift

I would guess the most common reason an auger is replaced is due to it having been bent in some way, placing increased load on the casing and bearings. This will often be caused during transport when the auger is not correctly supported along the length of the machine. This is where Meridian has developed the patented reverse scissor lift and, as the machine is lowered, the scissor part of the frame folds backwards — which means when completely lowered in transport or storage, the main tube sits in a cradle fully supported. The scissor lift is a real time saver when changing silos and very safe, being that the lift is all hydraulically operated from the cab of the tractor. With a good-size auger up high, you don't want to be relying on a wire rope!

Features worth mentioning are:

  • The junction between the feed auger and the main lift auger has easy access clean-out doors to make cleaning after use and daily greasing easy.
  • All gearboxes are made with forged steel gears and quality roller bearings, and are immersed in oil.
  • Three-point cable system is used to eliminate the main flighting 'drooping'.
  • If the auger does jam and breaks a shear bolt, an additional reverse spline on the gearbox allows the PTO to be gently rocked, and removing the inspection plates at the base of the machine will allow you to unblock it without a major headache.
  • The test machine had been fitted with a spray nozzle, which can be hooked to a sprayer for the treatment of the seed before it goes into the silo.

Auger verdict

Most people will say an auger is just an auger, and on the face of it they would be right. But that's like saying a tractor is just a tractor, which is just not true. Canzquip offers two very different ranges of augers — one is high capacity, for keeping up with large combines and high outputs with maximum versatility, and the other a basic machine suited to operations from large-scale farmers right down to the farmer who wants to fill his cowshed silo once a month and needs a reliable machine that will see his days out. Either way you look at it, both augers provide very cost-effective solutions to any material-handling problems on the farm and, as I mentioned earlier, we all like having the big flash combine, but if the auger can't put it in the silo fast enough, it's a problem that can't be overlooked.

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Seed tender

As drills are becoming bigger, higher, and generally more expensive, the seed tender eliminates the need for farmers to upgrade to larger drills simply for larger seed capacities. With the bulk seed tender you can load 500kg or one-tonne bags in the seed tender with the loader at the start of the day, chuck it on the back of the hilux and, using the remote control shoot, fill the drill as often as needed by only using your finger.

The test 110 seed tender has a 2.2-tonne capacity (depending on seed type) and is fitted with a 5.5hp petrol Honda motor, with electric start and also running a centrifical clutch (like on a quadbike). The motor is controlled by a hand-operated throttle on the end of the filling shoot, the bins can be filled to the brim, literally by lifting a finger, and without a drop being spilt this is hardly back-breaking work. These tenders are common in North America. The auger has a gentle plastic flighting designed for use on maize seed and is ideal for speedy filling of planter boxes.

Other nifty features include the shoot, which is lightweight and telescopic, meaning you can extend it across the width of the drill. There is also a hand-operated shut-off plate, the shoot can be folded to reduce the risk of damage during transport, there's a large lid on top if you need to get in for any reason, and a cleaning door at the bottom.

Verdict

Naturally the seed tender will not suit everyone, but for farmers upgrading their drills and moving away from bag filling, they'll be looking at an airseeding option to dump in a tonne bag, then they're up for big money. So why not keep your old drill, or upgrade to another seed box drill, buy a seed tender, and be able to do your drilling for a fraction of the cost — with the ability to buy your seed in bulk bags to get the price advantage over smaller more expensive bagging. The only downside is having another person bringing the tender to the drill, or going back to the same filling spot. But in reality, if you were using bags you would have to do the same thing. Saving on capital outlay and buying seed in bulk, rather than lugging bags into the drill? It's a win-win.

For more information on the machines visit meridianfmg.com.

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