Comparing Apples to Expensive Apples

In 2009, Conestoga started using 12-gauge Cor-ten steel for the side construction of models C-25, C-50 and C-80, and 10-gauge cor-ten on its larger models. Cor-ten is a corrosion-resistant, copper-bearing steel, also used by the manufacturers of larger spreaders. Our research has shown that this special steel has increased the life of our spreader sides by at least 10 years, bringing their total life, under normal use, to 22, 24, and even 30 years. With this steel, there is a good  life balance between the spreader’s box and its working components, so we provide a 10-year warranty on our frames and boxes to prove the point.

Years ago, we began making the apron, both slats and chain of all models out of stainless steel to increase apron life up to three times what it was with A36 steel. Stainless steel aprons cost more, but they’re worth it in the apron because it is the heart of the spreader mechanism and its longer life gives owners three times more downtime-free working hours.

How long should a manure spreader’s box last? The box of a manure spreader should last at least as long as its working components – bearings, chains, sprockets, etc. When these components start to go bad, a decision must be made whether the spreader is worth repairing or if it is time to purchase a new unit. Is it practical to build a spreader box that will outlast by three times the life of the working components?

With our cor-ten steel sides and two-part epoxy paint, Conestoga tries to achieve a practical balance between the life of the sides and working component wear. Stainless steel boxes may appear to improve total spreader life, but their extra cost is very high and of questionable value if they extend life beyond that of the unit’s working components. Here is a comparison between our Conestoga C-25 and Brand “X” Model 27:

CONESTOGA C-25Jack$2,750
BRAND “X” MODEL 27$2,795
CONESTOGA C-25+Rhino Lining, Dolly-Wheel Jack, Endgate, SS Apron$3,365
BRAND “X” MODEL 27 DELUXERhino Lining, Dolly-Wheel Jack, Endgate$3,390
BRAND “X” MODEL 27 STAINLESSDolly-Wheel Jack, Endgate, SS Apron, SS Box$3,990*

* 17.7% premium over Brand “X” Model 27 DeLuxe; 18.6% premium over Conestoga C-25+


•  Is the extra stainless box premium really a practical investment?

•  Is the stainless steel of the Brand “X” box 12 gauge?

•  Conestoga uses bolted beater paddles. Are Brand “X” welded paddles as easy to replace?

•  Conestoga shields are strong and damage-resistant; do Brand “X” stainless shields also appear to be?