So I'm not a permie - I'm a "sustainable agriculture" person (sustanie?
). So I guess I don't have the desire for all-things-manual. We have a tractor, a Troybilt horse tiller, a small chipper and a beast of a chipper (one of those pull behind your truck things). I know a thing or two about using them and what I wish I could do with other equipment. Honestly, hadn't considered a hammer mill before. Good exercise for me to look into it!
I know I want to make animal feed, fuel pellet's, soil amendments, and animal bedding with it
Animal feed: we currently get feed from a local mill. Honestly, I wish it were whole feed. I've been thinking about mixing our chicken feed just to get away from all the little tiny crumbles. Our goats get whole (well, rolled) grains. I guess I'm just not big on milling feed. What benefits are you looking for here?
Fuel pellets: Super cool. So you first use the hammer mill and then some sort of pelleting machine? Do you have the raw materials to make this worthwhile? If so, this sounds like an excellent reason for this equipment - if you use this type of heat often. Here, I could hardly justify equipment to heat my house as it is likely to be 90 all winter.
Soil Amendments: These are so expensive to purchase these days. I recall buying a bag of dolomitic limestone for our acidic soil. Stupid bag of dust cost way more than I wanted...plus the fact that Central Texas IS limestone. If you could really crush bone, rock, etc into amendments with this thing, it would be very useful - again if you have the raw materials available. I wish I could tell you if it really would work.
Animal bedding: Not quite sure what you mean here. We use straw/junky hay for the goats. The big pieces means it doesn't get everywhere like pine shavings do. We are trying a new thing for the chickens (read about it here!) and using wood mulch as the bedding. We used to use hay for them as well.
It sounds like a fun piece of equipment. I wish I had some experience to relay to you. The only hammer mill I've used was an expensive coffee grinder!
Well, the big chipper is part hammer mill, but not what you are talking about (I don't think...)
General equipment buying suggestion: Find a used one, well taken care of and talk extensively with the owner. Most people in the farming world will be honest with you about its capabilities. This lets you shop different types if there are more than one make available. Also, buy non-chinese when possible for older stuff. Newer stuff from China is not as bad but old stuff can really be the pits.