How Does this Split-Calving Operation Increase Feed Efficiency with a Hustler Bale Unroller?
When Ben Maile switched from his old bale feeder to a Hustler Chainless TE205, he noticed a dramatic change in feed efficiency and cut his feed waste by 20%.
We visit a 205ha sustainably irrigated, dairy operation in South Raina, Northern Tasmania. The 500 cow herd is a split-calving operation with most of the calving done in spring and autumn, which means most of the feeding is done in winter. In fact it’s an impressive 1000 – 1500 bales a season.
“We do most of our feeding out through summer and winter, with a little bit in spring and autumn. Being a split-calving operation, we’re milking through the middle of winter when grass growth rates are a lot lower,” he says. “We feed out a lot of silage out then: up to eight bales a day. Depending on how dry the summer is, we feed a few [bales] through summer as well.”
While a split-calving operation has some great benefits like efficient and sustainable pasture utilization, a consistency of production and cash-flow and a spread out workload, it also comes with the big challenge of successfully managing feed and mineral requirements for all cows at different stages of lactation.
Cows have different nutrition requirements at different stages of lactation, which means that all spring- and autumn calved cows need to be fed efficiently at different times of the year according to their needs, to ensure maximum performance.
“Since we’ve had the Hustler, we’re probably saving about 20% on wastage, compared to the other bale feeder. The way it feeds the bale out and teases it apart nicely, the cows waste a lot less. Ideally we’d be feeding fewer bales this season.”
This is where the Hustler TE205 has been a game changer for Ben Maine. While his old bale feeder used to feed the silage in the path of the wheels and just trample it into the mud, especially in winter, the Hustler gently teases apart the hay and feeds it out in a tidy windrow, preserving as much of the nutrition, as possible and making it more palatable.
Ben is glad his dealer suggested a Hustler bale feeder. The Hustler TE205 is able to handle round and square bales, which means more choice when having to buy in feed. Also, the fact that the feeder handles 2x bales at once and saves time going to and from paddocks, has changed the way he operates his feeding system.
“The TE205 handles squares and rounds, which gives us a lot of options when buying in feed.”
Maintenance is not an issue with the easy-to-access grease points and few moving parts. There is not a lot to go wrong. All in all, the Hustler TE205 meant for Ben an increase in efficiency, economics and time savings and a decrease in feed waste.