Why does versatility count?

Published 14th September 2016
Why Free Range Feeding

When it comes to purchasing new livestock feeding equipment, one very important consideration to take into account is versatility. But how much emphasis should you put on versatility? We look at the factors that influence versatility and how they impact your farming operation. 

There are many variations in types of bales, and although some bale processors or bale feeders perform well for certain types or shape of bale it’s critical to understand that a change in baler or even baler settings can make a big impact on feeding out unless you have a Chainless X5000 which feeds every type of bale. 

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Drought/Short supply

The most common factor that impacts your feeding program is a shortage in supply, where farmers are held to ransom over the cost and availability of feed supply. Most importantly when feed supply comes under pressure the most common solution is to buy in bales, although depending on the shortage, the farm has little to no control over when type or shape of bales are available.

For example, let’s say a farm that traditionally fed fine chopped bales runs into a shortage and the only bales that are available are high-density belt baled bales. The farm has a cradle type chain feeder which is ideal for their normal bales, however they’re really going to struggle to feed out the brought in bales, even though they’re both round bales and don’t actually appear much different from the outside.

Transport

When buying in bales one major consideration for optimising feed costs is transport. Obviously the distance is a major factor in optimising transport costs, however the less obvious consideration is round bales versus square bales. Square bales may be harder to locate however they pack more weight onto a truck load, providing substantial savings in the cost of brought in feed, and can often make or break the cost of brought in feed. 

Having the versatility of a bale processor such as the Chainless X5000 that can feed out both round and square bales provides huge flexibility in this situation, and some well rewarded cost savings. 

Making your own bales:

Making your own bales is the easiest way to take complete control over feeding program, because any changes to the baler, or settings are under your control, and allows the farmer to pick a feeding program, be it round bales, square bales, silage or hay and get the right equipment for the job. However to future proof your farm, it is wise to allow for a bit of flexibility, because as we all know seasons change and we can get caught out. 

Cost per Kg/DM

Costs of dry-matter can vary substantially between baling systems, and types of fodder, one of the biggest influencers is to pack as much weight into each bale to reduce the cost of handling. With balers packing more and more weight into each bale, this is a no brainer to crank up the pressure to get more in each bale, although this presents a few problems when feeding out. Typical cradle type chain feeders struggle to feed out these tighter bales, and that’s why we’ve invested in testing our feeders on more than 110 different types of bales in many countries around the world to ensure than no matter which bale you have, rest assured your Chainless X5000 bale feeder will feed it out.

Diversity of feed types

Vetch, Lucerne, Alfalfa, Oats – there are many nutritional advantages from these high quality forages that your cattle love to feed on, but one thing to be sure of is that these high-quality forages tend to pack together very tightly when they’re baled, and most tend to be baled into squares making feeding them out a challenge for most feeding systems. The most difficult challenge is to balance teasing apart of the hay so that it’s palatable for livestock without over chopping and destroying the goodness of the fine leaves, and with an even enough windrow so cattle cannot over consume the high-quality forages. The Chainless X5000 is the only feeder on the market that provides this balance. 

 

Taking all this into consideration, sounds complex, right?

 

Well, the ultimate solution is actually quite simple… although it did take more than 15 years to reach this break-through in bale feeding versatility and ease-of-use. 

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It’s our all new Chainless X5000 bale feeder, and is now available in the all-new 3 point hitch model the Chainless X2500 shown above.