North Dakota Farmer Chase Dewitz Puts Safety First

The heartlands of the world – whether American or Canadian, agricultural or industrial – have more in common than just fields and farms and feeds. They are businesses, so they also share issues of safety, efficiency and cost.

Chase Dewitz, CEO of CD Acres Feedlot in North Dakota, had always felt there should be a safer way to change the huge tires on his agricultural equipment. Using forklifts or bobcats to switch tires was risky, slow and expensive.

Along with thousands of other farmers, Alberta native Darcy Goossen felt the same way. And with his invention, The TireGrabber, Goossen solved an age-old problem for countless growers, ranchers and heavy equipment dealers and users.

CD Acres is a diversified grain and livestock operation on more than 24,000 acres of ground. Their products are primarily corn and soybeans, with a few small grains. They are also a cow-calf operation with about 1,400 head. Their background feedlot takes care of 2–3,000 head seasonally.

Before Dewitz purchased The TireGrabber, every tire change took several employees and used different tools to move wheels on and off harvesters and other equipment. “We would move one wheel at a time with a forklift or bobcat, always worrying about the possibility of an accident,” he says. For example, putting wheels on sprayers with auto-levelling suspension could move the whole machine and put operators at risk.

“Using so many moving parts could damage the equipment or harm the workers.” And if you’re changing tires on a $450,000 piece of equipment, balanced on tiny jack, this method could ding you big-time in both human and financial resources.

Getting off the fence and into the program

The TireGrabber’s capability of rotating, tilting, lining up tires for mounting and moving them safely around the lot turns the exercise into a one-person job. “If you’re running multiple units or changing dozens of tires in a repair shop or dealership, the efficiencies add up to EVEN bigger benefits,” says Dewitz.

In North Dakota, purchasers of new equipment can apply for an Ergonomic Initiative Grant from the North Dakota Workforce Safety & Insurance agency (WSI)  When they received Dewitz’s application to buy The TireGrabber, WSI sent a representative from the local hospital to conduct onsite inspections and studies.

“They compared the process we were using to do the work with how the new product would affect it,” says Dewitz. That meant inspecting the new machinery and testing it to see how it would improve the work from various perspectives, including efficiency and employee safety. “Once they consent to the purchase, they reimburse you for a good part of the outlay.”

Dewitz admits that his workers enjoy using The TireGrabber – so much so that they don’t want him to help. And from a management perspective, “I’m sure that anybody who’s on the fence about purchasing one would not know how they got by without it once they’d tried it.”

About The TireGrabber

The TireGrabber is an innovative, award-winning device designed by Darcy Goossen, a farmer from Alberta, Canada. Used widely by farmers and equipment dealers who change and repair large-scale tires, it offers a safe and effective option for doing it themselves on their own premises. And it helps them achieve greater operational efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

The 3-arm device attaches to a tractor, Bobcat, or skid-steer. It balances the tire, perfectly centred, for safer and easier handling. It also enables the operator to flat-stack tires, decreasing the amount of warehouse space needed for storage.

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