Every rancher should watch this video before investing in a bale processor!
What’s so new about putting hay out on the field with a Hustler Chainless TX205 bale processor? This is the question that James Doran, from Brookhill Angus Ranch, answered yesterday in a video published on LinkedIn.
Brookhill Angus has been home to registered Angus seed stock for more than 50 years. Located in Flemingsburg, Kentucky, Brookhill Angus has been in the care of the Doran family since before the Civil War.
James Doran and his wife Michelle manage a little more than 115 head of high-quality fullblood Angus cattle. In the video above, James details the reasons why using a Hustler Trailed Chainless TX205 bale processor is quite different to simply unrolling hay using a traditional bale unroller or manually in a thick 4’/5′ wide mat.
For James and Michelle, caring for their animals is also about caring for their land, the soil and the planet. Each needs the other. Investing in a Hustler Trailed Chainless TX205 double bale processor fits James’ ranch management strategy.
Equal access to feed for the herd
The Hustler Chainless bale processor allows the operator to unroll the bale in a long, thin windrow. The more the hay is fluffed, the longer the windrow can be. “I’m spreading the hay out over about a quarter to half a mile pattern” with this machine, James explained. “There is no way that the boss cow can take over and eat everything.”
This is an essential asset for Brookhill Angus because the good quality cows are not culled too often and can remain on the ranch “as long as they can stay in the game”, which is a direct result of James’ hard work on genetic selection and AI. To be able to keep the old cows as long as possible, James needs to be able to make sure they have equal access to the feed, so they can still build-up weight to raise their calves properly. Also, the calves themselves need to easily access the forage in order to strengthen their rumen (the “digestive muscle” of a cow) as early as possible – a crucial part which starts before weaning.
Making the hay more palatable for cattle
When the hay is simply dropped into a hay ring or manually unrolled on the ground, it can remain quite dense. The way the Chainless bale processor fluffs up the hay helps to make it more palatable and easier to be consumed by livestock, and that is particularly true for older cows with slightly damaged teeth or for young calves.
“The hay is almost like it has been freshly baled”
The herd is also encouraged to eat every single bit of the forage, while a thick bit of hay is easily rejected by the cattle, creating unwanted waste. With the Hustler Chainless bale processor, James is able to drop the hay back on the ground “in a very palatable form, almost like it was freshly baled,” James noticed.
Stretch the dollar and keep the herd healthy
“I’ve tried rings, and I have unrolled them as well, but nothing compares to the TX205.
When I go back the next day, everything has been consumed”
“As expensive as hay is to produce and or buy, this is a much better way to stretch the dollar and keep the herd healthy. I can’t stand seeing my cattle stand in belly-deep mud at a ring,” James said.
Indeed, beyond the issues created by soil compaction, muddy conditions influence beef cattle performance. Mud and deep manure problems can be caused by using hay rings, especially in winter. Mud negates the insulation value of the hair coat, contributes to poor udder hygiene conditions, increases the risks of foot problems, forces the cattle to spend more energy while walking in the feeding area and creates an environment where multiple pathogens can thrive.
An asset for pasture improvement
The Hustler Chainless bale processor is also a great tool for managing pastures. “I can lay down a pattern with this bale processor. I can put the hay right where I want it, which means that I can put the manure where I want it,” James declared. Later, “I come back over with a chain arrow and I work the manure around. In the spring, I’d go back and I’d seed the whole area,” James explained.
If you want to know more about this specific topic, check out our article “Improve your pasture for free with your bale feeding routine“.
Bale processors conserve fuel
Thanks to its low-speed rotors that allow the tractor to be operated at not much more than an idle, the Hustler Chainless bale processors are very economical on fuel. No PTO and a low-power requirement also allow more versatility of use as the bale processing system can be powered with small tractors and even a pick-up truck with a hydraulic supply.
“I ran the tractor at idle in B range 2nd gear, throttle all the way down on a flat field. The Hustler is effortless.”
“Brent Currie and the people at Hustler have put together something that every person who is serious about cattle should take a look at this,” James concluded in his video.