Precision Profile: Improving Manure Lines with Technology
Name: Brandon Bullerman
Location: Adrian, Minnesota
Pain Point: As the manager of manure management, Brandon was looking to improve efficiencies with their manure drag line.
Son-D-Farms is a third-generation family farm. They raise 10,000 sows, farrow-to-finish, farm 5,000 acres of corn and operate a feed mill. Son-D-Farms injects, on average, 25 to 30 million gallons of manure a year.
The matter he was looking to solve:
Brandon was looking to maximize fuel economy and gallons of manure applied, while being able to control the dragline system with one less person. With labor shortage concerns and a short window to apply manure, every minute counts, so he also needed to maximize his time as efficiently as possible.
While Brandon was aware the software was available that could solve his challenges, he had concerns about the dependability of a software system. He also had concerns with using software around manure and in the cold Minnesota temperatures. Running the system long hours, for days at a time, there was a level of risk. If the software system went down, then they would be down, reducing their already short window to apply manure.
They are now in the second year of using Puck Enterprises web-based software LightSpeed Pro that controls the engine and pump valves remotely. There is a real-time dashboard for engine controls and a dashboard for the gates on the pump.
Brandon runs the system on an ipad, which allows him to work faster and on the go. The dashboard also helps him identify issues like hose leaks and mechanical and line pressure issues. These features minimize manure spills and prevent overpressurizing the line, reducing the potential for human error.
He also likes the customization, since it allows the operator to choose their focus, maximizing given the situation. Since the software can operate multiple units from anywhere in the world, it leaves plenty of room for expansion. When issues arise, LightSpeed Pro tech support is on standby 24 hours a day to troubleshoot, keeping down time minimal.
He expected to improve efficiency but didn’t expect it to improve as drastically as it did. He says he saves hours compared to the minutes he initially anticipated and realized exactly how much human error impacts downtime and hose issues. This product reduced downtime significantly.
Determining the return on investment:
Son-D-Farms was able to weigh the cost of the system against the cost of the manual labor of one person. They also weighed in the insurance the system provided. If they had one spill, being able to quickly identify the problem and shut it down immediately, pays for itself, creating additional safety and environmental benefits and the comfort of knowing exactly what is coming in and going out.
Don’t be afraid of technology. Sometimes, the older generation can be skeptical of it. In this case, the company provided exceptional technical help and simplified implementing the product for Son-D-Farms.