Speed and safety are often competing ideas, particularly during planting season. But the concepts are complementary at J.R. Briney & Sons Inc., where their truck-mounted Convey-All bulk handling system reduces wear and tear on seed and people.

>From their headquarters at Sheldons Grove, IL, the six Briney brothers (Mike, Marty, Marc, Matt, Milt and Mel) and four non-family employees grow more than 3,500 acres of corn and soybeans and produce hogs and pheasants. (Yes, pheasants, but that's another story.)

For better efficiency, most jobs - even filling planters - are designed for one person. That's where the Convey-All, which they built and now manufacture, comes in. With the truck staged in the field, one person can safely fill a 23-row planter in 15 minutes, says Marc Briney. The day a reporter visited the Brineys, employee Mark McCombs loaded 55 units of seed into the 23 planter boxes in nine minutes - and didn't break a sweat.

The Brineys, veterans of six seasons of using bulk corn and soybeans, first used bristle augers to move large volumes of seed. But they found that bristles broke off kernel tips on corn and the augers were hard to clean when switching between corn and soybeans. So, about three years ago, they installed rubber-belted conveyors.

The Brineys incorporate safety into seed handling, beginning with how they unload bulk bags. They don't rely solely on a forklift to hold a 40- or 50-unit bag while it unloads into the conveyor hopper. Instead, the growers built a four-legged stand that can support the bag if the forklift hydraulics fail. The tractor that drives the conveyor is positioned away from the conveyor hopper to reduce the odds of human contact with the pto. However, an electric motor will soon replace the tractor and pto, Briney says.

A rubber-belted conveyor fills the Convey-All's two bulk bins, which hold a total of 240 bushels and allows hauling different hybrids and varieties to the planter. In the field, a 6.5-hp Honda engine in the rear of the rig powers the 6" belt conveyor that feeds seed through a 4" telescoping tube and into the planter boxes. Another safety feature is the engine's electric starter that eliminates banged elbows, skinned fingers or muscle strain acquired while pulling the starter rope.

The Convey-All isn't just for planting. It also serves double duty in early spring and fall as a fertilizer nurse truck. And it's become an additional enterprise for the Brineys, who have built and sold rigs to neighbors. Depending upon features, they've sold for about $4,500 each.

For more information, contact Marc Briney at: 309-329-2920.