Harper Industries: Enter the Beefcake

Published on Wed, 08/30/2017 - 11:13am

Harper Industries: Enter the Beefcake

Article provided by Harper Industries

Beefy. Strong. Grade A. Muscular. No, these words aren’t describing the winning characteristics of the Grand Champion Steer, but rather the newest cake feeder to hit the market – the BeefCake by DewEze.

DewEze, the hay handling manufacturer ranchers have relied on for years, expanded its Ag line with the release of the cake feeder last fall. It was the first new product launch since introducing the pivot model in 2013, offering farmers the best of both bale bed worlds.
Drew Gerber, Product Manager, said the company started exploring the cake feeder market a few years ago after listening to customers’ frustrations with current products.
“The key for us was to design a cake box that would solve their feeding problems within the industry,” Gerber recalled. “We had to address bridging issues, and it had to be capable of feeding a variety of supplements – from range cubes to bulkier feeds.”

The BeefCake
Enter the BeefCake – a twin, six-inch auger style feeder that reduces RPMs to prevent wasteful cube damage. The chain-driven feature rotates nearly half the speed of competitive auger style cake feeders, Gerber said, thus handling cubes and mixed feed equally well.
The two-auger system also opened the doors for feeding versatility. The BeefCake isn’t only tailored to feed conventional supplements such as cubes and grain, but also more non-traditional feeds like cotton seed hulls, and even candy. Gerber said the auger door can be adjusted to dispense feed in a pile or down a line.
“Operators have the flexibility to feed what they want, and how they want to,” Gerber added. “We wanted to give them that freedom because no two operations are alike.”
Another popular feature, the actuator kit, is a discharge chute lowering option that allows the driver to stay in the comfort of the cab when feeding.
Ross Bender, DewEze Ag Engineer, said including a convenient hand control to display revolution count was a simple addition.   
“We already utilized that technology for our flatbeds, so it was pretty straight-forward,” Bender said. “It also cuts down on installation time, because there is no need to mount anything to the dash.”
Finding a fix for abused metal chutes was also a priority for the design team. The chutes, often kept open during feeding season, are subject to hungry, heavy herds and miles of fencing. The solution? A flexible rubber chute that eliminated wear and tear for long-lasting durability.
“I’ll attend farm shows and hear, ‘that is a great idea!’ from people visiting our booth,” Gerber explained. “It was a minor adjustment that is now a key selling point for our customers.”   
Tony McNew, a rancher in Success, Missouri, agreed. He said he’s pleased with how the flexible chute system has held up against his 450 head.
“I definitely prefer the chute on the DewEze compared to some of the other cake feeders I have owned,” McNew expressed.

Strength in Diversity
Competing in a crowded market posed its own set of challenges. The BeefCake entered the market against manufacturers with an established stronghold, as well as small town weld shops catering to local customers. The key was to bring something new to the table, Gerber said, and fill the customers’ needs.
“We also didn’t want to just add another cake feeder to the market to help alleviate supply and demand issues,” said Gerber said. “Obviously our goal was to build a better feeder. But, also our diverse operation allows us to manufacture strong, reliable products quickly.”
Harper Industries, Inc., DewEze’ parent company, specializes in manufacturing bale beds, hydraulics, landscaping and slope mowing equipment in its Harper, Kansas facility. The Ag roots run deep, dating back to the Hay MoBale’s days in the 1960s. Deciding whether to add a new line in production was clear.
“The BeefCake feeder directly complements our existing Ag product line, offering additional opportunities for our team here at Harper Industries,” said Luke Thornton, Vice President of Operations. “We are very excited about implementing features that will allow ranchers to do a job uniquely easier than they are used to.”  

Decades of Durability
Justin Fizer, Athens, Texas rancher echoes DewEze’ testament to durability. He said he didn’t hesitate purchasing the first BeefCake 1000 lb. feeder last fall.
“This is my second [DewEze] bed, and we’ve had no problems with them,” he said. “I knew DewEze would make an excellent feeder, too. I saw the dual augers and I definitely wanted to try it.”
Fizer added he would recommend the BeefCake to anyone in the market for a feeder.
That’s good news for the DewEze team looking into the future. Consumer demand is never stagnant. That’s evident as the manufacturer has grown from helping ranchers move hay better nearly 50 years ago -- to where it is today.
“Many of our team members grew up on ranches and currently have ranches of their own,” Thornton said. “This allows us a huge benefit when our own workers can use their passion for rural America and their understanding of the jobs ranchers are doing when we design and manufacture the best feeder of this type available in the market today.”

About Harper Industries
Harper Industries, Inc. is a diverse, values-based manufacturing company building quality products in the fields of agriculture, hydraulics, landscaping and sports turf management under the DewEze and Harper brand names. Call 800-835-1042 for more information on their full line of equipment or visit www.deweze.com.