Keeping it Reel: Beef Farmer Likes New Helix Design on Kuhn Knight Mixer
Nick Knepper knows the Kuhn Knight name translates to quality mixers. He raises 500 beef cattle on his farm in Hopkinton, Iowa, and grows 500 acres of corn and soybeans. He bought his second Kuhn Knight mixer in the fall of 2013, the RA 136 Helix Reel Auggie.
"I liked the job that it did and I wanted to upgrade," says Knepper of his previous Kuhn Knight 3025 Reel mixer.
He also wanted a larger model for his growing operation. The 3025 Reel was a 250-cubic-foot model and had done its job well – the reason he wanted the same style Kuhn Knight mixer with the newest design features.
Knepper had done his homework by attending trade shows and learning about the new design through the product literature. He was sure that the updated Helix Reel design of the RA 136 Auggie was right for him.
"After what I had seen at the shows and heard from other people who had owned one, I knew it was the model I wanted to get," he says.
Knepper purchased his new mixer from JP Sherman in Farley, Iowa. This 360-cubic-foot mixer features an open-center design with the new Helix Reel, which eliminates obstructions and provides outstanding feed movement. This gives Knepper a faster, more consistent mix across the entire load.
"When I start cattle on higher roughage rations, it does a better job of mixing," he says. "The first feed out of the mixer when I start unloading is the same as the last feed out and that is something I like."
The RA 136 is otherwise equipped the same as his previous Kuhn Knight mixer, but according to Knepper any mixing inconsistency is long gone due to the new Helix Reel.
He bought the RA 136 in September 2013 and says his efficiency has increased quite a bit by mixing faster and fewer batches. While it's still too early to tell if he's noticed a change in the feed conversion numbers on the cattle started exclusively on the new Kuhn mixer, Knepper says he's confident it has.
"That's also a moving target since each group of cattle is different," he adds.
The RA 136 also boasts other improvements over previous Reel models, including a single-handled latch with access to the oil bath. The redesigned seal keeps the oil in and dirt and debris out. This keeps the mixer clean and lengthens the life of drive components.
The company also worked diligently to improve the discharge door and pivot, extending the service life on this area of the RA 136 mixer. Two ball pivots provide smooth operation.
Knepper is a Kuhn advocate and also owns a Kuhn Knight 2054 ProPush manure spreader, which he says he really finds superior.
"It spreads uniformly and handles different types of manure equally well," he explains, adding that he is a fan of the vertical beaters and the simplicity of the hydraulic push.
When it comes to Kuhn equipment, Knepper says that dealer support is of utmost importance and makes a big difference in the way he operates.
"JP Sherman not only does a great job selling but also servicing equipment," he says. "You can have the best products but it takes good dealers to sell good products."
For this reason too, this Iowa beef farmer says he went with Kuhn again for such a big purchase. He appreciates the innovation in keeping products updated and meeting the needs of today's farmers.