Texas beef ranchers “think how efficient Hustler made them” in their daily feeding and rebaling operation
Father and daughter farming team, Justin and Lauren Hansen from the 900-acre Diamondback Ranch in Texas have an Unrolla bale feeder and a Chainless Rebaler. Hustler Equipment’s machines have made it possible for them to run the ranch without any other employees, and that’s the way they like it. If they could down to 40 hour week, that “would be nice,” according to Justin. See how Hustler Equipment might help them fulfill this dream!
Diamondback Ranch is located not far away from Malakoff, a small city in Henderson County, Texas. The ranch is 900 acres, including about 400 acres that is used for hay production and the remainder is for cattle grazing. Father and daughter Justin and Lauren Hansen “run the whole entire thing themselves.”
The climate in this area is characterised by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to Lauren, “Texas [cimate] is funny… You could have a week straight of rain, you can get droughts here, you can get all sorts of weather because it gets so hot here in the summer,” she explained.
Good equipment that saves you labour and time…
Justin and Lauren have chosen not to have any employees – if they can. For them, this is all about being profitable in a tough industry, while still being able to enjoy life. But to be able to achieve this goal, they needed to find a way to reduce labour and time spent on daily tasks that they cannot avoid, such as feeding the cows, especially in the winter months.
“I’m always looking for new equipment that can shorten our days from 14 to 12-hour days to get to be to a five-day 40-hour week would be a nice number to get at some point,” Justin said. This is how Justin decided to invest in a Hustler bale unroller a few years ago. Justin and Lauren bought a Hustler SL360X bale feeder (now replaced with the Hustler Unrolla LX105) to feed out their cattle into the paddocks.
“When we ran into the Hustler equipment that made sense for us”
This chain feeder is an easy-to-use, extremely versatile and sturdy machine. Lauren uses the bale feeder mounted at the rear of their Kubota tractor and is able to unroll any 4′ and 5′ wide bales in a few minutes. Thanks to integrated tynes and a clever auto-connect/disconnect loading system, the unit takes only one man (or one woman) to operate. Time can also be saved on maintenance as all it takes is a regular greasing of the sealed block bearings.
…and considerably reduces hay waste!
Justin and Lauren opted for the gound-fed/windrow feeding method to feed their cattle because “beeing any waste was very difficult” according to the pair. If it can sound counter-productive, there’s a common misconception that hay fed out directly on the ground create waste, but ground-feeding (even in muddy conditions) can cause substantially less wastage than using hay rings or traditional bale processors. In fact, as long as the hay is fed in long, thin windrows, feeding onto the ground can reduce wastage from nearly 40% down to just 2-3%!
“I was fretting overseeing too much waste and you can’t see it anymore”
Ground-feeding in winter is also a way to regenerate and re-seed pastures. “When we were feeding out, if anything was with the snow and the wet and the mud that would have been just turned into mush they’ve been all over it so that when that all melted away you’d see it laying there as this year the grass has been growing in,” Justin explained. “I look over those fields, I was fretting overseeing too much waste and you can’t see it anymore.”
Feeding in a new part of the pasture every day in a long narrow windrow gives every animal equal access to feed and the hay bales drop their seeds into the ground in the process. Your whole pasture can be reseeded for (virtually) free and with no time (except the time you are already spending feeding out your livestock anyway). In addition, this method protects the ground, keeping the animals from congregating in only a few spots. Because grain/seeds are not destroyed, any that are not consumed by the cattle germinate, renewing pasture.
Gaining in efficiency
Thrilled with their Hustler bale unroller, Justin and Lauren decided to improve their rebaling operation and bought a Hustler rebaler machine a few months later.
The Hustler Chainless SX105 rebaler is a stationary unit that allows feeding big round bales directly into a baler to get medium-density small/conventional square bales.
“You’re able to dig in and really separate the hay. The Hustler rips it apart in a way that makes it goes in there in a fluffy way,” Lauren told.
“I think how efficient Hustler made us”
For Justin, realising “how efficient Hustler made them”, there will be no second thought when they will need to purchase additional farming equipment. “I mean, as far as getting more and more efficient, it just gets crazy,” he concluded. Justin and Lauren actually bought a different brand of sprayer when we did this video shoot with us. They have since ordered an Applic8r mounted boom sprayer that Hustler just launched in North America.