Kirk Beekley wanted the advantages of bulk soybean seed, but not the cost of new paint. So, he built his own bulk seed tender that's right-sized for his 350-acre, Crete, NE, farm.

“I wanted something I could mount on my supply trailer so I didn't have to haul a separate trailer to the field,” he says. “I wanted to have one trailer that carried seed, chemicals, a water tank and an electric generator.”

Beekley used angle iron and 12-gauge steel to form two 2,500-lb.-capacity hoppers with slide gates that feed into a 4-in. unloading auger. The bulk bins sit on a frame built with 2×4-in. tubing.

“It holds enough seed for 80 acres, which is about how much I can plant in a day. With two hoppers I can carry two varieties. As I move from field to field, I have the seed I need,” says Beekley, who also custom plants 100 acres for a neighbor and works full-time off the farm.

“I've probably got about $750 invested,” he says. “I had the auger with a ¾-hp motor and switched it to a smaller pulley so it would run slower. It runs about 400 rpm and I don't have to worry about damage to the beans.”

It takes Beekley about five minutes to fill the seed hopper on his Case IH 955 planter. “There's an inline switch in the line to the motor so I can turn the auger on and off from either the trailer or the planter,” he says. “The generator that powers the motor also comes in handy for power tools if we need to make repairs in the field.

“Bulk seed is cheaper, and has the advantages of speed and convenience,” he says. “I don't have to take care of all those seed bags. I buy some to finish fields, and just dump them into the bulk bin.

“In the off-season, I use the bulk bins to store range cubes for my cattle,” Beekley says. “It's also cheaper to buy range cubes in bulk rather than bags.”