Australian beef farmer improved farm performance and paddock recovery with his Hustler Chainless TX205 bale feeder
Aaron Whiffen runs a 50-head beef herd in the State of Victoria, Australia, and feeds three bales a few times a week with a Hustler Chainless TX205 trailed bale feeder. “We haven’t had any problems with it,” he says. “There’s not much to grease and not much maintenance to do on it.” One thing he appreciates about it is how it can feed out on tough terrain, “We’ve got a bit of poor country,” he says “If there is any excess wastage, it’s benefitting the paddocks.” Watch the video below to learn more about Aaron’s operation!
Aaron and his family live near Narooma, a small town in the Australian state of New South Wales on the far south coast. The region has an oceanic climate with mild temperatures throughout the year which makes the area attractive for farmers and small landowners.
The farm consists in a small beef herd of about 50 breeders, mainly Speckle Park and Angus cows. Unfortunately, Aaron’s land is quite poor and he has to supplement his herd quite a bit in winter.
In the past, Aaron was using traditional hay ring-type feeders. Hay rings are popular amongst small-scall operations, backed by the usual perception that hay rings save time because you only have to fill them every few days. And of course, it is the most affordable option with low capital outlay for farmers. However, Aaaron noticed the hay rings were damaging his paddocks a fair bit, so he decided to find another solution.
Today, Aaron is feeding “three bales to different parts of the herd usually two to three days a week mainly in the wintertime” with a Hustler Chainless TX205.
“The Hustler Chainless TX205 does improve our performance”
“We use our chainless feedout wagon for feeding our stock, and the best thing about it is we can go to any poor – like we’ve got a bit of poor country. So you can put the feed out, so if there is any excess wastage, it’s benefiting the paddocks. It does improve our performance,” Aaron explained. “It lets the calves get to the feed without just having the mothers surround – like with a ring feeder. It lets all the animals be able to get their full amount of feed,” Aaron continued.
It is often thought that hay rings hold the hay in place and prevent spoilage/wastage. However, hay rings encourage the creation and worsening of muddy conditions. As a result, cattle tend to drop hay from the hay ring to wallow in it because it becomes a big swath on which the cows would rather lie down than in the mud! But dispersing hay in long, particularly thin windrows onto the pasture, even in muddy conditions will discourage cattle from lying in it.
“Recovery time on the paddocks is a lot faster than with a ring feeder”
Old permanent pastures can be up to 25% less responsive and absorptive of nutrients in the soil, such as nitrogen, than newly renovated pastures. Regular reseeding would increase pasture productivity, but it’s a huge time and money investment. Ideally, 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. Feeding out hay bales in long, thin, even windrows avoids excessive soil compaction and prevents long-term soil barrenness and all the erosion problems that follow. The whole pasture can be reseeded for (virtually) free and with no additional time spent while at the same time reducing compaction by keeping the animals spread out.
“The Hustler Chainless TX205 does improve our performance. Recovery time on the paddocks is a lot faster than with a ring feeder,” Aaron noticed.
“With a Hustler Chainless TX205 you save a lot of bales”
With Hustler Chainless bale feeders, Aaron can also choose the exact amount of hay he feeds out, and where it is distributed. If a bale is started but he doesn’t need to feed it out entirely, he just leaves it on the bale feeder table until he is ready to feed again. The hay waste is minimal because the hay won’t have enough time to be trampled or soaked because it’s distributed in a long, narrow windrow, already fluffed up, which allows the cows to consume it faster and easier. The cows do not need to grind into a compressed bale, as they would with a hay ring and it won’t be immediately soaked in water.
“With a Hustler Chainless TX205 you save a lot of bales, but it’s also the capability of just being able to put out what we want depending on if it’s going to rain or not. You can just put enough out just for them to eat, and then put the machine away in the shed, with the feed still on it, and it not getting spoiled. So it does save in that way too,” Aaron detailed.
“There’s not much to grease and not much maintenance to do on it”
“We haven’t had any problems with it the best thing about is being chainless there’s not much to grease and not much maintenance to do on it. So, it’s very good,” Aaron said. “I definitely would recommend Hustler. I have recommended Hustler to my mates and my family members which have also invested in a Hustler feed out wagon after seeing how it works on our farm. So they very much recommend them as well. So we stand by that machine very, very much,” Aaron concluded.
If you enjoyed reading Aaron’s story, you may also like to take a look at some of these great resources:
- The Art of Sustainable Hay Feeding in a Tough Economy
- Benefits of feeding long-stem hay, especially when weaning calves
- Does it really make sense to ground-feed onto mud?
- Increasing Soil Fertility and Forage Production through Pasture Management
- How to deal with hay shortage in drought conditions
- Improve your pasture for free with your bale feeding routine
- 8 Benefits to rotational grazing
Do you want to know more about Hustler bale feeder range? Contact us today, you’ll be glad you did!