It takes a lot of equipment to keep a farm running, even if the farm is nothing more than a small family farm. You need tractors, threshers, feeders and all kinds of tools to keep the fields and livestock taken care of. The absence of one of those tools can make it difficult to keep the farm running smoothly, so getting the most durability from your equipment is vital. One of the places where you are likely to run into durability issues is with your livestock feeders, because they are meant to be kept out in the open. Without the proper construction you will find yourself needing to replace the cattle feeder every couple of years to make sure that the livestock is not being poisoned from ingestion of rust. There are three things that you can do to make sure that the feeder will last as long as it can.
The first thing that you need to look for in feeder is a warranty. Companies that provide warranties are willing to stand behind their products and make replacements if the products are defective, which also means that they produce high quality products from the beginning. The manufacturer does not want to have to make replacements, so they design and create products that are meant to last when they come off the assembly line. The warranty will help you in the case that something breaks or there is a place where the equipment comes apart. Weaknesses in the materials and the construction only become magnified the longer they are allowed to exist, so you want to turn over any problems to the manufacturer right away.
The construction of the feeder is of utmost importance, and you want a feeder that is made from the best materials. The issue here is the gauge of the steel being used for the construction. Heavy duty steel is made with a low gauge, meaning the smaller the number, the thicker the steel is; however, heavy duty steel is also hard to move around. There will be times that you need to move the feeder from one place to another, and if your feeder is too heavy, you will not be able to move it easily. On the other hand, if the steel is too light, then the feeder will be susceptible to damage from the elements and from the livestock. The sweet spot for steel in livestock feeders is around twelve gauges steel. This will give you the best combination of thickness and weight to ensure that the unit will last a long time and still be mobile.
Coating is something that you might not realize has a significant impact on the durability of the equipment that you use. When the surfaces are simply painted, the layer of paint is relatively thin, and paint will flake over time because of the elements and the livestock. Once the paint is gone, the steel is exposed, and that greatly decreases the lifespan of the steel. The longer the steel is exposed to water, the more it will rust, and once the first rust spots show up it is only a matter of time before the whole unit is weakened. The solution to this is a powder coating that looks like paint, but gives more protection. Powder coating is baked onto the surface, so there is not a chance of flaking, and the treatment is several times thicker than paint. To get the most from your feeder, you will want one that is made with powder coating on the surfaces.
Equipment is expensive, and you should do everything that you can to make sure that you are getting the most from the equipment that you have purchased. By purchasing quality equipment from the beginning you will save yourself money in the long run and have tools that you need for a long time.
I am Hunter Gardner, an Iowa farmer and proud owner of several Farmco livestock feeders. I hear so many of my neighbors complain about having to replace their feeders on a regular basis, but I have had mine for nearly six years and I have yet to see a spot of rust. I wrote this article to talk about what I look for in a livestock feeder and how you can save money if you buy a feeder that will last a long time. I recommend the feeders at www.farmcomanufacturing.com because of their price and durability.