JF-Stoll VM 18 mixer wagon
The JF-Stoll VM 18 mixer wagon has weigh cells to ensure precise feed weights and a tub and auger design that allows complete emptying of the wagon
- Single axle makes the feeder very manoeuvrable
- Wireless weigh scales
- Large diameter, twin vertical mixers with serrated knives
- Thirty-two auger rotations per minute
- Easy maintenance and access to PTO shafts
Owen Shepherd – along with sons Mark and Chris – milks 200 autumn and 420 spring calving cows. Twelve months ago the Shepherds decided to purchase the JF-Stoll VM 18 mixer wagon from Dave Boyt Farm Machinery Centre in Kaikohe.
The biggest benefit they have noticed is how the same amount of supplementary feed has lasted so much longer due to knowing exactly how much is being fed.
After testing the JF-Stoll VM 18 wagon, you can see that they are designed for full feed pad application and not ideally suited to paddock feeding. Mark adds that when feeding in the paddock you have to keep your wits about you, as if you hit a wet spot the machine is likely to topple over.
Wireless in-cab monitor
The four chassis-mounted weigh cells work seamlessly with the wireless in-cab monitor to give precise feed weights. I was impressed with both the simplicity of the control panel and the approx 70m range it had from the wagon itself.
There are two modes in which the monitor can be set to for loading: Basic and Profeed.
With Basic you can type in one or more feed plans on the monitor, which allows a different way of loading for each person who loads the feeder. A buzzer lets the driver know when they are getting close to the target weight for that feed before it automatically shifts to the next ingredient to be loaded.
In Profeed mode you get an overview of what must be loaded according to a pre-determined feed plan and then the monitor compares what has actually been fed. The buzzer will go off when you are close to your desired weight, like in basic mode. However, unlike basic mode, you can load the feeds in whatever order you like with a running weight telly. This info can be transferred to your computer. This can be used to monitor herd performance and examine whether the staff are feeding the cows the correct diet needed for maximum profitability.
The tapered body of the VM 18 measures 2.9m high and 6.28m long, requiring 95hp to drive (which is at the lower end of the spectrum). The tub holds 18 cubic metres, which equates to around 7.2-tonne.
The tub itself is made from 15mm thick plate steel on the bottom and 6mm sides with additional strength added to high wear areas around the auger.
Our test machine had the conveyer located on the front right-hand side of the wagon, however, two doors on each side give four possible conveyer locations.
The vertical screw design mixes the feed in a movement called "Impulse Mixing". The concept, with the stepped augers, generates a vertical impulse movement in the mixture. This movement ensures that the auger has constant contact with the mixture, which is vital for the best mix and prevents what is called "bridging", where the feed banks between the two augers. The high auger speed and five serrated blades per auger ensure effective shredding of hard bulky materials.
The tub and auger design allows complete emptying of the wagon. Mark feels that because there are no edges, bolts or corners where the feed can accumulate, the augers are able to throw the feed to each other and out the discharge door in one movement. He trialled other brands; one had a gradual build-up of feed under the auger, and another left 200kg of feed in the chamber, which he had to empty by hand.
Having said that, the JF- Stoll left material under the discharge door and feed gathered on the edges of the conveyer belt that needed to be removed by hand to fully close the door. Another pitfall that Mark feels would improve feeding is the conveyer brace. The brace limits the throat of the conveyer, which can block with bulky material, such as hay and silage.
Low maintenance gearbox
The auger bearings are constantly in an oil bath, giving them a longer lifespan. A feature I liked about the gearbox is the two oil reservoirs (front and back), which are located on the outside of the wagon for easy daily checking.
One thing I thought could be improved was the height of the PTO gearbox, which left little room between the drawbar and the shaft. This could be prone to damage on some tractors working on uneven terrain.
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