This 4,000 Cow Dairy Farm Switched to Bales to Reduce Costly Feed Waste
Tired of the sheer amount of waste when feeding chopped pit silage in the pasture. This well known Waikato based dairy farm, feeding 4,000 cows, converted from loose silage to balage to boost their profitability…
How much silage are you wasting?
Often it can be difficult to quantify exactly, but feeding finely chopped maize and grass silage for this dairy farm was taking its toll. So much so they decide to change their feeding program to bales. A few seasons later and they’re glad they did.
What is the main cause of feed waste?
They found that not only during harvest, transport and when loading out of the stack, that there was a lot of wastage. The biggest portion of waste was during feed out in the pasture, where the shorter chop product would be wasted into the ground.
The biggest cause of waste, was due to the shorter
chop length falling into the ground.
Once they changed to lucerne balage, because of the longer cut length and the way the silage holds together, the whole lot would be cleaned up. Leaving virtually nothing left to fall into the ground and be trodden on once the dairy herd had finished eating.
What are some of the other benefits?
- Baling a crop is more manageable which allows them to cut more frequently, and bale when they need
- Bales are compressed equally and tighter than a silage stack, providing better quality silage
- Capital equipment outlay and maintenance is substantially reduced.
- Balage is always sealed to prevent spoilage, and secondary fermentation.
- There’s no need for costly storage bunkers.
- Stacks can be positioned around the farm to reduce travelling at feed out time.
The Logistics of Feeding Balage vs Silage
When Totara Lodge Farming converted to all balage bales, they’re we’re using a silage wagon, two 3 point linkage bale feeders and two tractors to do the job and it would take 2 staff the entire 8 hour day to feed up to 100 bales on the 3 dairy platforms in the peak of the feeding season.
Looking for a better way to feed out, they got in touch with Hustler and stitched up a Mega Comby X, which can now take up to 12 bales per load and only requires one operator to get the job done in a fraction of the time taking just 8 loads instead of 100, to feed out the same amount
To save time loading Totara Lodge have a 12 ton Cat excavator with set Mega Softhands instead of a bucket, which cuts loading time and stacking during harvest to the absolute minimum.
Watch the Mega Comby X in action