When a mineral salesman called on Ray E. Munson back in 1930, Ray got interested in using minerals to create balanced diets for poultry and livestock. In 1935, Munson Feed company—which would later become Munson Lakes Nutrition—was born in Howard Lake, Minnesota.
“We started out making feed with a hand barrel mixer, and we gradually grew from there,” said Dusten Wilking, Maintenance and Fleet Manager for Munson Lakes Nutrition.
In its first year, the company sold 314 bags of feed manufactured in their barrel mixer. Today, with the help of a computerized mill and a team of nutritionists, Munson Lakes helps dairies and other livestock producers throughout Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin formulate feed systems.
When it comes to transporting feed, Munson Lakes has two big challenges: maintaining pellet quality and unloading heavy minerals.
“We have some customers that take really heavy feed,” Dusten said. “You put that into a typical auger trailer, and it won’t unload it. It’s too heavy, and it plugs up that auger floor.”
Munson Lakes’ solution? Ledwell Drag Chain Feedbodies.
“Ledwell is the best when it comes to pellet quality,” Dusten said. “If anybody out there is ever having problems with fines in pellets or unloading a heavy mineral, they need a Ledwell.”
Munson Lakes purchases new bulk haul bodies as well as used Ledwell trailers, which Ledwell completely refurbishes before reselling. Munson Lakes bought their first Ledwell in 1987. The oldest Ledwell equipment they have on the lot right now is a ’94, and the oldest they use daily is a 2004.
“You can’t buy another piece of equipment and maintain it for as little cost as a Ledwell,” Dusten said. “They don’t break down. The cost to repair them when they do is minimal. They always answer the phone when I need parts.”
Dusten said they’ve tried using trailers made by other manufacturers, but they can’t stand up to the toughest jobs.
“We have to make sure the Ledwells go to the hard farms,” he said. “We have to pick and choose which trucks go to which farm, because we know that at certain farms, only a Ledwell will be able to unload. We are working on getting our fleet to be all Ledwells.”
Drag chains also make Munson Lakes’ trailer maintenance easier.
“A lot of people are stuck in their ways and think the drag chain is more complicated,” Dusten said. “I’ve replaced more floors on an auger than I have on a drag chain. And I’ve never touched a drag chain on our trailers. We have a box back here that’s a ’94—I don’t think we’ve ever had to replace the drag chain on it.”
Munson Lakes’ company values are to manufacture a great product at a fair price, to give great customer service, and to base every decision on fairness and decency.
“Ledwell excels at that as well,” he said. “It’s good to work with a company that has the same values and end goals.”
They’re able to keep Ledwell trailers in service longer thanks to Ledwell’s parts and service team.
“This year has been very frustrating with COVID,” Dusten said. “Trying to get ahold of companies is very frustrating. It’s like they don’t want my business. But anytime I call Ledwell, I can get the help I need. The product is there. The parts are there. The service is there. It’s the trifecta of a great company. If someone asked me whether they should buy a Ledwell truck, I’d tell them, ‘You don’t have one yet?'”