Feeding vegetable waste to cattle proves to be a winner with the new Hustler Combi wagon
Tony Reynolds was initially looking at buying a mixer wagon but he ended up choosing a Hustler Combi wagon because it was a more versatile machine that allows him to distribute a larger variety of feed, including vegetable waste that is an important part of his dairy herd’s diet.
Tony Reynolds’ farm is located in Burnham, on the Canterbury Plains of New Zealand, in the Selwyn District. The area has a temperate climate, characterised by warm, dry summers and cool winters. The Southern Alps are responsible for the relatively low rainfall, and also lead to a foehn wind, the “Canterbury Nor’Wester”. This strong, hot and dry wind is most common in spring and summer, and on occasion reaches damage-causing strength.
The dairy farm consists of 92 hectares where 400 crossbred cows are milked every day. While a crossbred cow can be the progeny of any two cattle breeds, in New Zealand the term most commonly refers to the progeny of crossing Friesian-Holsteins with Jerseys to produce an animal midway in size between the two parents and with the advantages of both.
Unbeatable versatility – one single wagon for any feed
Before settling for the Hustler RX148 Combi wagon, Tony did his homework. “We spent two days at the Field Days looking at different feed wagons,” Tony told us. The farmer was indeed looking for a wagon able to handle a large variety of feed, including vegetable waste.
“We’ve ended up going with the Hustler RX148 instead because it’s a more versatile machine”
Feeding out vegetable waste to dairy cows is a practice more and more common around the world. Adopting this diet seems to be a reasonable choice according to recent studies.
For instance, a joint study published in 2019 by researchers at Kansas State State and other US universities, rations for dairy cattle in North America at that point contained 20% to 30% food processing by-products. “Studies have demonstrated that diets with relatively high proportions of by-products can maintain or even improve ruminant performance,” state the authors. “Dairy cows fed by-products in place of cereals and pulses had similar dry matter intake and milk yield compared with cows fed conventional diets.”
“We initially were intending to buy a mixer wagon to feed the vegetables that we feed from the local processing factory, we’ve ended up going with the Hustler RX148 instead because it’s a more versatile machine,” Tony explained. While the mixer wagons are pretty good at getting a ration evenly mixed, they are not able to process any type of feed, they often struggle with bales and sticky materials such as vegetable waste.
“With the versatility of the machine we could feed our bales through the winter, we can feed silage and we can feed our vegetables as well,” Tony said.
“It’s been a fantastic machine”
“I spent a lot of time looking at videos on their website and saw that there was other people feeding vegetables through them and it’s a really good fit for our business,” Tony continued “we bought the wagon before winter this year so we’ve used it for all our winter feed out and it’s been a fantastic machine.”
Reliable, hassle-free chainless floor
Instead of chains, the twin-speed rear pusher blade of the Hustler Combi RX range is powered by hydraulic cylinders and greaseless slides for low maintenance and longevity. The main floor of the wagons is made of puckboard, the same impact-resistant material used to make ice-skating arena, a slippery, durable and extremely tough component.
“We chose the Hustler because it didn’t have floor chains”
“We chose the Hustler because it didn’t have floor chains. Our existing wagon was really struggling to feed out the vegetable waste with the floor chains and the Hustler’s got to push the door at the back that brings all the feed forward and it feeds out beautifully,” Tony detailed.
The Combi RX range also incorporates a load dividing design that reduces the load on all drives. Because the floors travel less per load, they don’t wear out as much as other types of feed wagons.
Great visibility and ease of use
“It’s got nice checker plate at the front so we can see right into it and we can see what’s happening with the feed,” Tony described. When it comes to visibility, no other wagon beats an RX. See right through to the rear of the machine and into the cross floor with no obstructions blocking your view. “So from the tractor, when you’re feeding out, we can see into the wagon really well,” Tony agreed.
“From the tractor, when you’re feeding out, we can see into the wagon really well”
Feed control, unique to the Combi RX range, has two operation modes for silage and bales providing the operator with semi-automated control when feeding silage or full control over each floor for more versatility when feeding bales. This provides the operator the best of both silage wagon and combination feeder in one machine.
“And with the scales we can see exactly how much we’ve got left in the wagon,” Tony completed. The Combi RX range – like any Hustler’s feedout wagon – comes scale-ready, meaning that if you buy your wagon without scale, you can choose to upgrade at a later stage.
A wagon designed for New Zealand hilly terrains and muddy winters
Another difference between a typical mixer wagon and a Hustler Combi wagon is the adaptability to all types of terrain. While the mixer wagons are usually designed to feed out on concrete pads. The Combi wagons could do it, but their field of choice would be the famous New Zealand “great outdoors”.
The tough axle design (with massive 2,200 cm2 of pivot surface area and 100 mm diametre pivot pins) combined with the largest ground clearance on the market and high-dimension flotation tyres can beat any tough terrain. “The floatation tyres are really good, we’ve had a wet winter and there’s been a bit of mud around and we’ve never had trouble getting it stuck. It just pulls fine through the mud,” Tony said.
Wide flotation tyres are a great choice as they provide more flotation and stability in soggy conditions.
“It was important to us to buy a New Zealand-made machine, we really do want to support New Zealand manufacturing and the Hustler fits the bill perfectly”
Do you want to know more about Hustler’s Combi ranges? Contact us today, you’ll be glad you did!