Jeremy Mayer and his wife, Kelsi, can be found on the Mayer Homestead Farm in Monroe, Wis., milking their 50-cow registered Brown Swiss and Holstein herd. The duo also runs 240 crop acres.
In April 2013 Mayer decided it was time to upgrade the 20-year-old mixer he was using.
“We wore the other one out. A couple times over!"
The old mixer he used was a KUHN Knight Reel Auggie 3030, and a really good mixer at that, he notes.
It was time for a new one though and the staff at Eastside Farm Equipment in Monroe helped Mayer make a purchase that would work best for him, the KUHN Knight VT 144 Vertical Maxx Mixer.
“He asked what I'm feeding and what expectations I have for a mixer, and thought I should consider a vertical model."
When he walked into the dealership, Mayer says he was already set to buy another Reel mixer.
“We've always had good luck with it and it worked really well for us, but we decided to go with the vertical now."
The model he bought instead of the Reel cost less and has been a welcome addition to complete his daily feedings on the farm. This twin-auger mixer is one of four new mid-sized models in the KUHN Knight line.
The VT 144 is big enough that Mayer only needs to mix once per day, a big time saver for this busy fourth-generation farmer. The new mixer has a maximum load of 10,800 pounds.
He likes the size, but also the fact that the VT 144 doesn't require a large tractor. This helps save fuel, Mayer says.
He notes that many have said vertical mixers can be more "finicky" in comparison to reel mixers in the fact that they can over process long materials and not mix fine ingredients thoroughly, but he hasn't noticed it with his VT 144. With the vertical mixer you really have to educate yourself on the mixing process as you don’t need to process the materials nearly as long as with the reel.
“With the reel mixer we had our nutritionist run a Penn State Shaker Box once a month to make sure we were getting materials processed and mixed correctly – now with the vertical mixer we only have to run it every other month and it’s never been more consistent."
To feed the farm's heifers, this young farmer must drive across a field road. He says that the weight balances really well with the new vertical mixer.
“It doesn't jerk the tractor, one of the more pleasant surprises I've noticed."
The VT 144 is constructed of much heavier materials than other mixers he looked at, says Mayer. It pulls about the same, but does a better job mixing a bigger batch and for the size of Mayer's farm.
“I'm very pleased with the quality of mix on the small batches too."
He has also been quite satisfied with his choice of the side door coupled with a three-foot extension conveyor.
The maintenance on this vertical mixer is simple.
“The grease zerks and gearboxes are really easy to see."
With his previous Reel mixer, Mayer says everything had to be manually checked. With no chains on the VT 144 and a very simple design, he says it is much easier to maintain.
For the value, it was a really good decision and purchase, Mayer notes.
“I don't know why we didn't buy one (VT 144) sooner."
He wishes the mixer would have been in use on the farm last year, during the drought. He was forced, like many farmers, to feed alternative products including corn stalks.
“That's probably where it really would have shined, but hopefully we don't have another drought."
Shortly after buying the VT 144, Mayer invested in a SR 112 SpeedRake from KUHN. He says he doesn't have a bad thing to say about the rake.
“It's the heaviest built rake on the market by far and for the money, it does a good job."
The Mayers raise 120 acres of hay each year and he says the paint wasn't even worn off the teeth after this first season with the SR 112. In addition, he also owns a KUHN FC 353 GC mower conditioner.
“The quality of cut is far superior compared to any other disc mower – it makes the field look like a carpet."
The old mixer had definitely served its purpose, Mayer says of the Auggie Reel. The new VT 144, however, has helped him feed his animals more efficiently and freed up time for other tasks on the farm. The Mayer Homestead's newest generation has moved to the vertical side of mixing and is proud to say KUHN is its preferred product line.