Preserving nutrition saves this rancher $400,000 each year!

Published 4th January 2017

Last week we interviewed a South Dakota Rancher who’s feeding 20,000 bales each year to his 5,000 cattle on 5 ranches, to see what he had to say about leaf retention?

Feeding his cattle with a flail type bale processor presented some very real and costly challenges, especially when he’s paying $80/ton for his square Alfalfa bales each weight around 1 ton per bale. The two most important issues were:

  • Wasted Nutrition – Due to loss of nutritional leaf in windy conditions (green-dust)
  • Perishing Cattle – Due to bloating, from cattle feeding only on the leaf (when the leaf isn’t blown away in the wind)

The root-cause of both these issues?

The flail type bale processor smashing the highly nutritional leaf of the stems of the forage!

1. Because the nutritional leaf is smashed and separated from the stalk, it becomes vulnerable to being blown away as ‘Green-dust’ and the high value of the nutrition is lost entirely. This loss is as much as 15-20% of the entire nutritional value of the Alfalfa bale!

2. Because the nutritional leaf is separated from the stalk/stems, cattle sort the leaf from the stems, and consume leaf and leave the stems, causing further waste of 5-10% of the nutritional goodness of the bale. Not only does it cause this waste but what this rancher had experienced was his cattle would bloat easily because of an imbalance of nutrition and no roughage in the diet to help digest the nutrition. The bloat was killing his cattle!

Until now there hasn’t been a solution for this problem!

Hustler’s unique bale feeding system, is gentle on the forage and is the only system that can process square Alfalfa bales (and any other bale round or square) with:

  • NO Smashing the leaf
  • NO Separating of the leaf from the stem
  • NO Loss of nutrition

This rancher estimates from the new Hustler Chainless X5000, compared to his tradition flail type bale processor is saving 25% of his forage through better nutrition utilization, and eliminate the bloat problem entirely.

Notice in these photos the leaf remains intact and attached to the stem. 


The secret?

Hustler has spent almost 20 years developing its patented, hydraulically powered bale processing system with 2 rotors, one rotating 3 times the speed of the other, which gently teases the bale apart rather than shredding it, leaving it in a tidy windrow for equal access for each cow in the herd. 6 Generations of the design later, the latest X series was Ranch developed in America, is available in both 3 point hitch models, the trailing X5000 and…

It has been proven with more forage types world-wide than any bale processing system. 



The calculations are pretty simple

20,000 bales @ 1 ton each x $80 per ton = $1,600,000 Cost of feed.

Feed savings from the Hustler feeder of 25% x $1,600,000 = $400,000


In feed savings alone he can save $400,000

per year, with a system that is lower

maintenance, and easier to use than before.



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