Lucas G paddle mixer test
Jaiden Drought headed south to test the Lucas Mixer wagon, and discovered they build them tough down there
- Low loading height
- Good visibility of side discharge
- Stable due to low centre of gravity
- Gentle mixing action
- Can be loaded from both sides
The Lucas G Qualimix 150 plus paddle mixer is owned by Jerry Schuurmans, who milks 400 cows at Wreys bush in Southland.
Jerry has had his 15m3 Lucas G mixer (supplied by Invercargill’s Murray Implements) for just over two seasons. He’s impressed with the low loading height as well as the visibility of the side discharge and the stability of the machine for feeding in the paddock.
Lucas G was created back in 1940 by Gustave Lucas in his craft iron workshop. In 2001 Lucas G redesigned its paddle mixer wagon concept where the chopping space is separate from the mixing space, giving operators the ability to add more delicate materials while harder more fibrous feeds are being chopped and incorporated. This design – dubbed the Qualimix mixer wagon – won the 2001 SIMA gold medal.
Lucas G creates the tumble drier effect in three parts. The first is the cutting auger on the top of the machine where the food is loaded. It runs at 81rpm for optimum chopping action. The second function is the large, rotating mixer which has three paddles and runs at only five rpm for a gentle mix without bashing the feed around. The third part is the feeding (lower) auger which runs at 37rpm to provide a constant feed discharge.
Low loading height
Similar to the alloy bins on bulk trucks, they achieve their capacity by being stout with a wide base and square sides rather than a narrow base and a wide top. This not only makes the machine able to be loaded with smaller tractors that don’t have long reach loaders, but are perfect in Jerry’s case as he sources his feed from the paddock.
This is very helpful for Jerry feeding in the paddock. The machine is more than six tonnes with a full load and with the single-axle design the accumulator takes the shocks out of the tractor. This means less wear and tear on both machines.
The ability to adjust the drawbar is good for navigating humps and hollows during the winter months when things get a bit spongy, but this also acts as a hydraulic stand for easy hitching.
This is mounted on the front of the machine at the base of the mixing chamber, and it’s particularly useful if you are adding water or molasses to you mix. It’s at an achievable height without having to clamber to the top of the machine.
You could also add minerals such as lime flour or causmag via the chute although throwing it in the bucket and dumping in the mixer would be a faster solution for adding upwards of 25kg.
Located on the front of the machine is a blue diagram on the paddle shaft indicating what position the three paddles are in. Ideally the paddles should sit in a Y position so that when the machine is started it only has one paddle immersed in feed which makes it easier to drive. In Jerry’s scenario he has a separate tractor for loading, allowing the machine to remain mixing constantly.
This design was a little out of the ordinary but worked very effectively. The mixer only requires two remotes (plus hydraulic drawbar if required) to operate the machine. One is for the side feed. The second allows you to open the machine’s side to give you slightly lower loading access and the ability to place the feed straight onto the cutting auger.
If you are loading loose material such as maize silage and PKE where no chopping is required, loading from the other side will be just as effective. The Lucas G will chop half bales, but not whole.
A standard Lucas G will chop round bales that have been partly broken before entering the chopping auger.
One problem Jerry has found with feeding bales into the mixer is if the silage hasn’t been chopped when baling, it will wrap around the feeding auger and jam, causing it to break shear bolts. Admittedly the bales have to be long rank grass and that is what the shearbolt is designed to do, so no other damage occurred.
Large rear door
The drive mechanism is located at the rear of the machine, and a large door allows easy access to these components.
The spec sheet shows the Lucas G requires 90hp to drive the machine which seems about normal for this size machine, although Jerry had a 140hp tractor on the front which never had any trouble, so it was difficult to test the real power requirements.
The upside of having the running gear at the back is you can work on it unobstructed without the drawbar, scales and hoses in the way. It also leaves room for the nutrient chute and paddle guide to be is easy view for the operator. The other nifty feature is the main drive chain is permanently bathed in oil which means constant lubrication and reduces the R&M costs significantly.
Worth a mention
- Mudguards keep the machine tidy
- Scales swivel to allow them to be visible during loading and swivelled back to keep an eye on the weight during unloading.
- Solid build quality and excellent finish
This is a very well thought-out and designed machine, giving the operator the ability to load from one side if they want the material to be chopped, or the other side if the material just needs to be gently incorporated.
Having two tractors is ideal as once the machine is fully loaded it can be left running on the way to the paddock and the blend is ready once you get there. But if you like having capital tied up in just one tractor Lucas G offers an Autonomous version with its own engine so you can achieve the perfect blend with just one tractor.
Low loading height combined with solid build and low maintenance should result in low running costs of the machine.
See a range of mixers for sale.
Power requirements 90hp
Mixing volume 15cm
Loading height 2.69m
Discharge side Left