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Ohio Farm Relies on DuraTech Grinder
Varied farm operations include grinding bark into mulch, grinding cattle Feed
By Diane Calabrese
Date Posted: 10/1/2004
Hipp Mulch and Bark Farms is a division of Hipp Farms, which owns about 1,800 acres on which it raises cattle, soybeans and corn. “We rent another few hundred acres,” added John.
Hipp Farms has about 1,000 head of cattle. “We sell cattle every couple of weeks,” he said. Soybeans go to market. The corn is used on the farm to feed the cattle in winter.
When John decided to start a business to produce bark mulch, he chose a grinder from a company that got its start on the farms of
The Haybuster name reflected the role the company’s equipment took in easing the work of farmers. Haybuster machines, which could be powered by a farm tractor, were designed for grinding hay for livestock. Haybuster also developed other products, such as rock pickers and no-till drills.
John was so happy with the performance of his Haybuster equipment that he stayed with DuraTech when he later bought his first wood grinder. Since then he has owned several DuraTech grinders.
“We trade about every three or four years,” said John, explaining his series of DuraTech grinders. “It’s what we always used.” With his last few new purchases, he explained, he has sold his used DuraTech machines to a nearby waste recycler that collects junk pallets and other scrap wood and processes them into colored mulch. The machines have plenty of service left in them, he said.
Late last year, Hipp Mulch and Bark Farms bought its newest DuraTech machine, a DuraTech model 3010 tub grinder. The DuraTech model 3010 industrial tub grinder was introduced to the market in late 2002 at the Solid Waste Expo in
“The first thing I did with it,” said John, pointing to the new DuraTech 3010, “I ground 60,000 bushels of corn through it for cattle…to silo.” John’s employee built a special insert for the DuraTech 3010 so that he could “drop corn in right down on the hammers,” he explained.
It takes 15 to 20 minutes for the DuraTech 3010 to churn out a “semi-load, 90 yards” of split corn, said John, and “20 to 30 minutes for bark” in the same proportion. If the bark is wet, it will take a bit longer, he said.
Corn and bark are not the only things that have filled the DuraTech 3010. “We grind a little hay,” said John.
April, May and June are the busiest months for grinding bark waste. Four
The DuraTech 3010 tub grinder is loaded with a Komatsu 450. The conveyor off-feed goes directly into a waiting truck.
The DuraTech 3010 is fed mixed hardwood bark that is retrieved from mills as far away as Clay, W.V. some 250 miles south of Millersburg. However, most of the bark comes from small sawmills run by Amish proprietors within a short distance Millersburg.
Approximately 3,500 people live in Millersburg, the seat of
In 1945, John’s brother, who has since passed away, started a sawmill in Millersburg. When the mill began accumulating bark waste, John decided to start grinding it and selling it. That led him to purchase his first piece of equipment in the long line of DuraTech machines he has owned.
The sawmill no longer is in operation. John purchased the site and uses it as a feedlot, and it is where the mulch business is based.
Both John’s son,
During the peak season for making mulch, the DuraTech 3010 ran eight to 10 hours each day and performed well, said John. He estimates the DuraTech 3010 has accumulated 800 hours since it was put in service last fall.
After mulch grinding operations conclude for the year, the DuraTech 3010 machine, like others that came before it, will be washed out and converted to grinder cattle feed. The flexibility that the DuraTech 3010 tub grinder has to serve two roles is important to John’s business.
“We haven’t had much in the way of problems” with DuraTech, said John. “That’s why we keep buying” them. “We’ve just always been pretty satisfied with them.”
The DuraTech 3010 was purchased from Baker & Sons Equipment Co. in
John values the good working relationship with Baker & Sons Equipment Co. “We get along real good with Vaughn Christy,” said John. Vaughn is a sales representative for the equipment dealer.
The rapport begins with good understanding, said Vaughn. “Being able to sit down with customers and find out what fits their needs” is one of the pleasures of his job, he explained.
Vaughn frequently stops by the Hipp operation if he is the area, said John. And if the DuraTech 3010 at Hipp Mulch and Bark Farms needs a part, Vaughn sees that it is delivered, usually dropping it off himself, in less than a day.
“We have on-call technicians,” said Vaughn. So if anything develops with a piece of equipment that requires more than a simple part replacement, the experts stand ready to help.
“Service is a big thing to people that we sell to,” said Vaughn. He explained that taking a piece of equipment out of service is costly for small businesses, so dependability of equipment and good service must be tightly linked.
Baker & Sons Equipment Co. has been doing business for 40 years. It sells DuraTech grinders in
John likes to travel when he gets free time. “I’m 73 years old,” he said. “I should retire, but I enjoy what I do too much. I did drive to
Last year, John went on a farm tour of
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