Published on Tue, 11/03/2015 - 11:55am
Best Value for the Dollar
By Steve Weisman
We like to think that every feeder we build is more than just a feeder. It’s a feed management system,” says Andrew Barron who,along with his father, Tom, own Barron Built (barronbuilt.com), a company located near the southwest Minnesota town of Ruthton. Located 27 miles south of Marshall, Minnesota, Barron Built offers a wide array of feeders, from pull-type self feeders to fenceline, to free-standing feeders, Barron Built offers a solution for every feeding situation.
Andrew continues, “In other words, at Barron Built, our goal is to develop a line of products that will do more than just hold feed. Our feeders are built to last and designed to reduce waste, while at the same time giving our customers a product that will hold its resale value whether they are passed on to the next generation or sold.”
According to Andrew, with these types of feeders to choose from, “we believe that we cover a wide range of feeder options.” Let’s take a look at the choices:
Cattle Quad Hay Feeder
The Cattle Quad works great for a TMR, ground hay and silage, small square bales and broken up large squares. The easy-open spring-assisted roof greatly eliminates spoilage and also acts as a backstop when filling, which reduces waste. “We think that the hay feeder gives producers a huge return on their investment. It has a specially designed hay basket that reduces waste to next to nothing.” At the same time, the hay bridges in the hay basket so it feeds down as the livestock consumes the feed.
The removable feed tray his made of high-density plastic and can easily be removed. “If it gets full of feed, the tray can be removed, and in the winter if it gets full of ice, you can just take it out, turn it over and, if needed, stomp on it and everything comes right out.” The tray is guaranteed to -40 degrees.
The Quad Hay Feeder is designed to be moved with high-speed spindles and bearings for long-lasting transport. The adjustable tongue also allows for a quick-and-easy hookup.
Fenceline and Buildingline Bunk Feeder
This feeder offers producers adaptability for different situations. It can either be used along a fenceline or mounted to a building. Both can have a powered roof that holds open in any position with no latches. “It is a hinged, automated hydraulic system that can all be run from the cab. If there is a power outage, you can use the power from the tractor or skid loader to engage the roof,” says Andrew. Other options include remote lighting and an adjustable bunk.
“This feeding option gives the option of moving the feeder. The roof reduces waste and protects the feed,” adds Andrew. If mounted on the outside of a building, it allows the producer to still utilize the entire building.
At the same time, Barron Built can design a roof system for fenceline or buildingline feeders that are already in use. “We actually have one customer that we installed a 228 foot feeder with two, automated 114 foot roofs.”
Barron Built Self Feeder
The self feeder has a full opening roof and comes in either portable or stationary models in three sizes: 4 feet, 8 feet and 12 feet. It can also come with option creep gates and depending on the size, can be used for all ages of cattle from calves to adult. Durable poly tanks are incorporated with UVI to protect from sun decay and rated to handle -40 degree temperatures. Translucent tanks help monitor the feed level and help keep the desired amount in the tanks.
A fine-adjust gate helps fine tune the amount of feed (grain) made accessible to the cattle. The self feeder also has a removable feed tray for easy clean-out and storage. “We design the feeder so that the axles are true rated for worry-free loaded hauling. Plus, we use high-speed spindles and bearings for faster speeds when moving empty,” says Andrew.
Barron Built History
According to Andrew, everything really starts with Tom, his dad. “He has been around agriculture all his life, and he is an inventor. I can remember when I was a kid, maybe around 11 years old or so, Dad wanted to develop products that would make raising cattle easier. Us boys were always by his side, and we soon began assisting in the design and manufacturing on some of those products. Pretty soon neighbors and friends saw what Dad had designed. They liked what they saw and asked if we would make one for them.”
Well, that process continued until 2011, when Andrew returned home and pitched the idea of making Barron Built a fulltime enterprise. “When I graduated from high school, I held several jobs, starting at WalMart as a department manager and then spent several years working for a large manufacturer of overhead hydraulic doors. I started in the shop as a welder and then became installation manager for five crews that covered the nation and abroad. However, I always wanted to come back.”
The opportunity came in 2011, and Andrew and his dad came together to expand Barron Built. Andrew jokes that his dad, now age 64, is semi-retired. “He only works five days a week now,” Andrew says with a laugh. They have, however, added two full-time employees and two part-time employees to build the products. “Dad remains the thinker and inventor in charge of research and development, and he heads up sales. I take care of purchasing, managing the shop, attending several trade shows yearly and also help out with customers and sales.”
Both Andrew and Tom spend time reflecting and analyzing the business. “We want to make sure that we are doing things right. We are constantly looking at what we are doing right and what we need to change. We are always looking to improve our products. Our goal is to continually raise the bar and offer our customers the best value for the dollar.”
Currently, Barron Built is a regional company, but they hope to continue expanding their territory and eventually become nationwide. “We want to be able to reach out to any producers that can benefit from our products.”
This past year, the University of Minnesota began a Feed and Labor Resource Utilization Analysis of Barron Built Hay feeders compared to other hay feeders in the industry. Although the study is not yet complete, Andrew says the preliminary data is extremely favorable for Barron Built. “The figures are showing that the waste is significantly less and time is being saved with our product. We are excited to see the final report on the study.”
The Bottom Line
This term is used so often in the business and agricultural world: the bottom line. Father and son both believe that to succeed “You have to have faith. We believe we are manufacturing products that meet the demands of our customers. It doesn’t pay to buy something just to get by, if it doesn’t pay you back for the investment you have made. At Barron Built, we believe we are doing just that!”