From cutting bales to defacing silage pits, Hustler ShearPlus handles it all!

Published 1st June 2023
New Zealand

Peter and James Smithson, father and son dairy farmers from Taranaki, New Zealand, have found relief in their farming routine with the introduction of the Hustler ShearPlus LX160 shear grabs. Watch this video to see how the grab has significantly improved their operation!


Peter Smithson’s farm is based in the Taranaki, a region in the west of New Zealand‘s North Island. It is named after its main geographical feature, the volcano of Mount Taranaki, also known as Mount Egmont. Its rolling green pastures provide an ideal environment for dairy cows to thrive, contributing to the region’s reputation for producing high-quality milk and dairy products. 

Did you know? In New Zealand, the majority of dairy herds (70.7%) are located in the North Island, with the greatest concentration (28.3%) situated in the Waikato region. Taranaki, with 14% of dairy herds, is the next largest region followed by Southland with 9.1%. In 2021/22, Taranaki had the highest average milk solids production per hectare in the North Island (1,096 kg).

With 650 cows and 850 acres to manage, the Smithsons appreciate the efficiency this equipment brings to their daily tasks.

When it comes to feeding out silage, Peter and his oldest son James faced a common challenge – how to efficiently and effectively handle and load the silage in their feedout wagon. With the need to cut the face of the pit and load up the silage wagon, they realized their existing equipment fell short. “We had to figure out how we were going to feed the silage out this year and we currently had a bucket and forks but not really anything to cut,” Peter explained.

However, a visit at 2022 Fieldays agricultural show at Mystery Creek changed the course of their silage handling process. It was there that James discovered the Hustler shear grab, recognising its potential as a valuable addition to their farm. Following his son’s advice, Peter decided to purchase a set of Hustler ShearPlus LX160 shear grabs.


“They’re a quite simple tool to use”


“We use them for cutting the face of the pit and loading up the silage wagon,” James said.

The Hustler ShearPlus shear grabs proved to be a simple yet powerful solution for Peter and James. “They’re a quite simple tool to use. You just stab the forks into the pit and use the hydraulics to cut the face,” James explained. The efficiency of the process, combined with the grab’s design, ensures the silage remains sealed, maintaining its freshness for an extended period. “So yeah, the shear grab comes down and keeps it sealed, so the silage lasts – doesn’t go off, if you like,” Peter emphasised. 

When opening the silage pit, it is always important to start by removing silage from the face of the pit/silo in a systematic and controlled manner. The key is to ensure that the exposed face is kept smooth and straight to minimize air exposure. Proper feedout management helps maintain the quality of the remaining silage and reduces spoilage during storage.

Peter decided to progressively switch from silage bales to loose silage because feeding out a large number of bales was too laborious and time-consuming task in his opinion. “Feeding out lots of bales is time-consuming, a bit of – sort of an unenjoyable job,” James said.


“What used to take us probably two or three hours we can do in about 40 minutes”


Increasing the ratio of loose silage in the cows’ diet has been a successful change for the farm. With the Hustler ShearPlus, they experienced a remarkable transformation. “What used to take us probably two or three hours we can do in about 40 minutes,” Peter said. The time saved is invaluable, allowing them to focus on other essential tasks on the farm.

But Peter and James are also using their Hustler ShearPlus to load silage bales in their wagon.

One of the standout features of the Hustler ShearPlus shear grabs is their versatility. Hustler ShearPlus is a 3-in-1 tool. It’s designed as a bale slicer, shear grab and scoop bucket all in one machine, meaning that fewer attachment changes are required when loading a variety of products, saving time. 


“When we’re doing bales, we’re able to lock the plastic and the string in the grabs, and then take the string and plastic away, which is great”


The bale slicer/cutter ability of the ShearPlus allows it to handle both the plastic and string that wrap the bales at once. “When we’re doing bales, we’re able to lock the plastic and the string in the grabs, and then take the string and plastic away, which is great. So you don’t have to hop out of the machine,” Peter explained. This feature streamlines the process further, minimising downtime and ensuring a seamless workflow.

Peter expresses his satisfaction with the Hustler ShearPlus, emphasizing its durability and user-friendly nature. “I really enjoy the Hustler gear. It’s easy to use, and it lasts, and it’s made life a lot easier,” he said. This sentiment is echoed by James, who emphasises that the combination of good gear and an efficient system has made the task more enjoyable and less arduous! “I don’t know if can get much simpler to be fair,” Peter said.


“I really enjoy the Hustler gear. It’s easy to use, and it lasts, and it’s made life a lot easier”


The experience of Peter and James Smithson with Hustler ShearPlus LX160 shear grabs highlights the transformative power of innovative agricultural equipment. With these shear grabs, they have significantly improved the efficiency of their silage handling process, reduced the time spent on feeding out bales, and experienced greater convenience and ease of use. “Taking less time is definitely more enjoyable to do with good gear and the good system we have now,” James concluded.

The ability to cut the face of the pit, seal the silage for extended freshness, and handle the plastic and string of a bale effortlessly has elevated their farming operations to new heights. The Hustler gear has proven itself as an indispensable tool for dairy farmers like Peter and James, empowering them to optimize their workflow and achieve higher levels of productivity.


Do you want to know more about Hustler farm equipment range? Contact us today, you’ll be glad you did!


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