By Ron Lyseng, The Western Producer
Branson says the Puck boat is an environmentally friendly method of handling liquid slurry.
One 245 horsepower Puck Agitation Boat does the work of four tractors and four agitators, says a custom slurry applicator.
It also does a better job cleaning out the lagoon.
Ian Branson, who owns Branson’s TBHS in Brandon, said he used four tractors powering four agitators for the first 10 years that he was in the business.
“Two years ago, we replaced all that machinery with this one agitation boat,” he said.
Branson said the boat cost a little more than $100,000, which was a fraction of the money that was previously tied up in iron. The switch was a major boost to the company’s profit picture, he added.
“That one boat does all the work now,” he said.
“This was a huge saving in machinery investment and fuel. We run the boat all around the lagoon with the nozzles pointing down to the bottom, so it stirs things up far better than agitators on shore. It raises everything on the floor of the lagoon and holds it in suspension during pump-out.”
The resulting product has better consistency and more uniformity, he said.
“And the customer ends up with a cleaner lagoon, so all the space is available for the next batch.”
Branson said he was always fighting with solids at the end of a pump out when he used the old shore agitator system.
He knew the solution was to switch to a boat system, but he wanted to check all the boats on the market before buying.
His conclusion was that the others had too many hydraulic components.
Branson’s TBHS handles the full range of liquid slurry services: agitation, pumping, transport and slurry application. It even puts its boat into above-ground lagoons.
“There aren’t many above ground lagoons, but we can service them, too,” he said.
“The boat weighs 10,000 pounds, so we rent a crane to lift it into the lagoon. It’s very simple, really.”