Hustler bale processor cut livestock feed cost by a third the sustainable way!

Published 23rd February 2023
United States

Ethan and Amy Hofschulte, cattle farmers from Minnesota, believe in the power of raising happy and comfortable cows to produce a better product. The Hofschultes are committed to sustainable farming and producing 100% grass-fed beef for their clients. With the help of their Hustler Chainless LX105 bale feeder, they are able to do just that. Watch the video below to find out more about the Hofschultes’ operation.


Ethan and Amy Hofschulte farm in Southeastern Minnesota, about one-half mile north of downtown Rochester. Minnesota is one of the country’s top agricultural states, but the number of farms is slowly declining and farmers are facing economical difficulties. In order to stand out and live up to their values, the Hofschultes decided several years ago to specialise in producing 100% grass-fed beef, following the increasing demand from the consumers. “That’s what our clientele is looking for,” Amy explained. But conversion to this method of farming is not without its challenges. 

Grass-fed cattle may not gain weight as quickly as grain-fed cattle. This can result in a long time to reach market weight, which can increase production costs and reduce profitability. It also often requires more land which can limit the scalability of grass-fed operations and make it challenging for farmers to expand their production. Minnesota is also sometimes facing extreme weather conditions such as drought, flooding, or snow which can impact the availability and quality of pasture, resulting in additional costs for feed, veterinary care, or other cattle management practices.

Winter time is particularly challenging for the Hofschultes when it comes to feeding the herd who “pay a lot of attention to the cows and whether they’re happy or not,” Ethan told us. “Happy cows, comfortable cattle will produce a better product.”


“When you put out a bale ring, it ends up killing the grass around it, hurting the ground”


In the past, the Hofschultes were using hay/bale rings to feed their cattle. They were putting out about four bales in three days – this method was inefficient, created a lot of waste, and wasn’t ideal for the cattle who were “all around a bale ring fighting each other” to get to the feed. It was also destroying the soil. “When you put out a bale ring, it ends up killing the grass around it hurting the ground, in the mud, they’re terrible,” Ethan explained. 

The Hofschultes decided to find a more sustainable way to feed their cattle. They decided to invest in a Hustler mounted Chainless LX105 bale feeder to unroll the hay and the silage straight onto the ground. Now, there’s a common misconception that hay fed out directly on the ground, in winter and muddy conditions cause hay waste – but the Hofschultes actually reduced their livestock feed cost by a third with their Hustler! “With the Hustler, we can repeatedly do three bales in four days, which is a reduction of 33%,” Ethan detailed. 


“With the Hustler, we can repeatedly do three bales in four days, which is a reduction of 33%”


The Hustler Chainless bale feeders allow the operator to spread out the hay on a thin windrow over a very long distance. Instead of processing the hay – which would inevitably damage the hay, the Hustler Chainless bale feeder gently teases out the hay. 

Limiting waste is not the only benefit of ground feeding. For Ethan, the cattle “are less stressed” because there is no competition for the feed and each animal can easily access it. It’s also better for the well-being of the herd as a whole who is able to mimic natural grazing patterns. “In the summertime, when they graze the pastures are out there all day long grazing with their heads down eating the grass. When we unroll it like this, they all stand off to themselves, and they kind of graze the windrow that we make with the Hustler,” Ethan said. “And they’re out there for hours and hours. It gives them something to do,” Ethan continued. 

By using the Hustler Chainless bale feeder, the Hofschultes also saw a huge improvement in their land and soil. “Putting our windrows out, we’re feeding our livestock under the soil. So we’re getting that microbial activity that may have been lost from all of the use of chemical fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, and creating a better environment for soil,” Ethan said. “I wanted a farm that’s sustainable” and the Hustler just helped them to achieve this goal.


“We have better control of our farm”


Alongside human, social, environmental, economic is one essential pillar of sustainability. Building a sustainable business is all about making it good for the future, for the people, and for the planet but also profitable. But this is also for the animals. “We’re setting up the land, not just for our farm and for our kids. We are providing a habitat for the local animals that I think people forget about,” Amy said. With the Hustler, “we have better control of our farm versus what somebody tells us to do with our farm,” Amy concluded. 

To summarize, the Hofschultes achieved drastic changes for their cattle and their land using the Hustler Chainless bale feeder:

  • Reduce hay waste and cost by 33%
  • Improve the soil health by lowering the chemical inputs and increasing the organic matter
  • Minimise soil compaction due to hoof traffic
  • Spread out the manure and urine
  • Provide better access to feed for their herd

Do you want to know more about Hofschulte Family Farms? Visit their Facebook page. The Hofschultes love taking good care of their animals and invite visitors to come and see for themselves. As Amy says, “We have nothing to hide and would love for people to see that these are well-loved animals that we’re providing for.” All we can say is that we received a very “warm” welcome despite the freezing temperatures and we can’t wait for our readers to find out more about the Hofschultes’ operation and share their farming story.


Just like the Hofschultes, here at Hustler, we stand for the quality of our products and we want our customers to have only the best.

Do you want to know more about Hustler’s Chainless bale feeder range? Contact us today, you’ll be glad you did!


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