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All Around The Farm Idea of the Month: September 2009

Dave Troester's farm near O'Neill, Nebraska, once had a drive-over pit built for straight trucks. When it came time for a new drying system, Troester added a grain pit that accommodates triple-axle semitrailers.

"The ramp is actually longer than one you'd normally see at an elevator's scale," says Troester. The pit holds over 2,000 bushels. A proximity switch at the bottom starts up a 16-inch auger, and the grain leg will move 5,000 bushels per hour.

With scale readouts on both corners, a driver can write down the weights, take samples, and be gone in less than two minutes.

Troester says it was built primarily from dismantled pivot irrigation systems. He did have to buy the eight weigh bars in the scale, 5/8x2-inch metal slats for the grates, and rebar for the deck. "I have two guys who are really good at working with steel. Kenny works with steel like some people work with wood."

Though it sits above the water table, the pit is uncovered, so water does get in. "That's not really a problem, though, because we just lower in a sump pump," he says. "It's waterproofed on the outside and painted on the inside."

  • Operation: Nearly 5,000 acres of irrigated corn and soybeans in northeast Nebraska.
  • Family: Wife Sharyn and son Aaron farm full time with Dave.
  • MVPs: Two 25-year employees, Dave Kremer and Kenny Cemper. "They are invaluable to the success of our family farm," says Dave.
  • Favorite new equipment: John Deere tractor with RTK guidance -- for both planting and spraying.
  • Hobbies: Hunting and fishing with Aaron. Dave was a 2008 Master Conservationist, Production Agriculture in Nebraska.
  • Dogs: Two black labs, Annie and Jet. "They are both girls. Jet's just fast," says Dave.

Dave Troester's farm near O'Neill, Nebraska, once had a drive-over pit built for straight trucks. When it came time for a new drying system, Troester added a grain pit that accommodates triple-axle semitrailers.

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