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The KEENAN Vertical Auger Story - When Mix Speed Met Mix Quality

KEENAN and Storti management teams

6 years have passed since KEENAN surprised the sector by spanning into the vertical auger ‘tub’ diet feeding market. UK & Ireland General Manager, James Brough, who has been with KEENAN for upwards of 16 years, tells the story.

Author: James Brough, UK & Ireland General Manager

One of the most significant and surprising moves made in KEENAN’s recent history, was the launch of the KEENAN Vertical Auger diet feeder in 2017.

When KEENAN was acquired by Alltech in 2016, the late founder and President Dr. Pearse Lyons gave the KEENAN sales team an open wish list. The team decided to expand the range of feeders on offer, by bringing a vertical auger feeder into the range.

This was seen by many as a bold move, given the fact that KEENAN had stood firmly by it’s belief that the MechFiber paddle mixer was the only machine that could deliver optimum mix quality, for so many years. It was a move that attracted a lot of attention in the market, with both positive and negative commentary. But it was a move that served a purpose – to adapt to the changing farming landscape and evolving farmer needs.

Farmers needs that included: additional capacity, faster aggressive chopping and more feed-out options. However, the need and expectation for machine durability, service and ration performance remained unchanged.

Entering the “tub feeder” market, KEENAN had to stay true to its colours – reliably delivering the best mix possible to animals.

“The goal was to align optimal mixing with speed and capacity”


With the green light from Alltech, the team were quick to move their talks with Italian market-leading peers, STORTI, into action, to launch their premium range of KEENAN Vertical Augers. 

6 years in…

It’s hard to believe that 6 years have passed since this launch. The number of KEENAN Vertical Auger machines working in the U.K. market is now in the hundreds, with farmers coming back for seconds.

It is a success built on a blatant disregard for anything short of best in class; a principle that places KEENAN as the nations’ number one feeding system by market share.

The KEENAN team has optimised the vertical auger range with key developments and proprietary tweaks to cross conveyors, hydraulics, drivelines and auger design. The KEENAN Vertical Auger can now offer both speed and capacity, but also fundamentally, consistent mix quality.

Whilst KEENAN still stand by the patented and proven mix quality that comes from the MechFiber system, they can now boast a complete portfolio with any machine for any farming system – whether it’s the MechFiber paddle mixer, the Vertical Auger tub mixer or the Self-Propelled system.

So, what is the difference between the KEENAN Vertical Auger and other tubs on the market?

1.       Auger design with fibre protection in mind

2.       Tank design to ensure mix consistency

3.       Heavy duty spec and ease of maintenance

4.       InTouch for controlled accuracy

1. Auger Design With Fibre Protection In Mind

The chopping mechanism of most vertical auger diet feeders in the market can make it very easy to over-process the feed due to too much pressure. KEENAN Vertical Augers are designed to protect that all-important fibre structure.

The wide-base, the flight angle, and the smooth unstepped form of the KEENEN Vertical Augers, make for a better upward flow and cascading effect of the feed materials. Whilst narrower augers will make the machine easier to drive, they come with a detrimental impact on overall mix quality.

Secondly, as the auger flighting is wider on the KEENAN vertical augers, we can achieve a larger displacement of feed materials and avoid deadspots in the tank.

The 20mm-thick steel augers (with an option to add 4mm extra thickness) are operated with a 2-speed gearbox to lower horsepower and enable better control over mixing aggression.

2. Tank Design To Ensure Mixing Consistency

The mixing mechanism of most vertical auger diet feeders in the market can make it very easy to feed-out a mix that is inconsistently processed from start to finish. KEENAN Vertical Augers are designed to ensure every mouthful is as prescribed every time.

All KEENAN tanks are designed in direct correlation to the augers - KEENAN don’t do greedy boards. It’s a cheap way to gain capacity, but it comes at a cost to mix quality and profit margin from feed.

The 8mm-thick steel walls (with an option to add 4mm of extra thickness) are rounded all the way around to maximise mix flow and resulting mix quality. There are no rippled edges that cause feed material stagnation and increased wear on the steel.  

In some other machines in the market, you can literally see feed materials lodged in deadspots and bridging on the tank walls. That’s never the case with a KEENAN.

3. Heavy Duty Specification And Ease of Maintenance

KEENAN is known by many for never missing a feed. When it comes to spec, KEENAN NEVER compromises. KEENAN is very much focused on the bigger and longer term picture; with farmers interests at the fore.  As such, decisions around machine standard specifications go over and above.

Heavy duty specifications span across:

·       Driveline ratings (gearboxes and shafts),

·       Under-carriage ratings (axles* and chassis), and

·       Componentry quality (conveyors and hydraulic blocks).

*A single axle is standard on the smaller range, with tandem axles available as an option. The large range comes with a tandem rocking beam as standard, but a sprung-bogie wide-spaced steering tandem axle can be added to handle roadwork and rough terrains.

This means that KEENAN’s Vertical Augers wear better, last longer, incur less issues, and mix better.

And when it comes to ongoing support and maintenance, it’s business as usual for KEENAN.

Farmers are encouraged to assess their vertical auger machine regularly. Mix quality can gradually deteriorate as the augers wear. In today’s farming climate, every litre and every penny counts.

KEENAN have 17 approved service points throughout the UK specially trained to keep the machines up to specification. KEENAN Guard extended warranty plans are available on new and used trailed vertical auger mixers and self-propelled machines, and are designed to give farmers added peace of mind after base warranty has expired.

4. Controlled Accuracy from InTouch

With any diet feeder machine, controlling and tracking loading accuracy is key. As vertical augers offer a more aggressive chopping action, the window of opportunity between getting the mix right and wrong, is very fine.

To stick within this small window, KEENAN Vertical Augers have rotation counters fitted to the augers and an Autostop mechanism to cut the machine at the right number of counts.

“We have customers with large silage pits, and as they come the end of the pits, the travel time between the pit and the diet feeder increases. In this situation, without the rotation counters and Autostop, over-processing can be almost impossible to avoid”

All the KEENAN Vertical Augers come with the InTouch service as standard to minimise errors and enable farmers to keep a close eye on input to output performance.

5. Right size machine for the right size farm system

KEENAN offers a wide range of feeding capacities, from 18m3 to 44m3. KEENAN has recently introduced a mid-tier range to compliment the current small and large ranges. The mid-tiered range consists of 22m3 and 25m3 twin-auger machines, and 30m3 and 34m3 triple auger machines.

To account for tight turning circles, low building heights or awkward yard layouts, each range has its unique specification. Some machines are taller, some are lower. Some machines are shorter, some are longer. They are built to spec.

The ration can be discharged via the rear door, side door or front door, and can fill all types of troughs and feed passages.

What hasn’t changed since launching the new range, is KEENAN’s reputation for service and results. The KEENAN Vertical Auger is about the whole package.

KEENAN now has a range of systems seeing results and enjoying second-to-none service – whether they have moved from a MechFiber to a vertical auger, or a non-KEENAN to a KEENAN. We’ve even had tub farmers enquiring after a vertical auger but ending up with a MechFiber!

No two farms are the same, and the optimal choice of machine revolves around many factors. KEENAN has a highly trained team of farming specialists that can offer an unbiased viewpoint on which system to move forward with.

For more information Contact Us today!