Higher intake (more output) and less waste, so the precious forage goes further!
This 127 acres urban farm has been pieced together over many years as farms have been amalgamated mainly through the construction of major roads adjacent to the land. Land is at a premium and resources have to be managed prudently to ensure a profitable business.
The herd consists of around 75 milking cows, calving all year round, and 75 followers. It is a commercial herd with a long pedigree and with a herd average of 6,000 litres. All the animals are loose housed on straw (replenished daily and cleaned out on a monthly basis for hygiene reasons) which is purchased from nearby farms and stored under cover, animal health is good with low cell counts (150,000 – 160,000 average) and Bactoscan readings always below 20 to produce the high butterfat (5.7%) and protein (4%) quality milk demanded by today’s market.
Wayside Farm has recently purchased its 4th Tomahawk over a 15-18 year period. The new T8500SC with greedy boards recently replaced a four-year old T9090 (the third machine of this model). The Tomahawk has always been used for bedding all the cattle, loose housing removes the difficult burden of handling slurry. The decision to move towards a T8500SC was taken because of the ability of the machine to spread straw much further than the T9090 and get into the corners often found in traditional UK farm buildings.
Feeding is also a key activity for the Tomahawk at Wayside Farm. It can start during the summer as the milking cows often need to receive a supplement when grass growth slows down or burns up with the heat!! Silage is harvested on the farm and baled for convenience and storage. Maize is the key crop to profitable milk production on the farm, grown on the farm, harvested by a contractor and clamped for winter forage. Young stock are also fed straw with the Tomahawk.
Mr Wray is a strong advocate of feeding with a Tomahawk. This practice ensures the machine is fully utilised, reliability is key. But the prime reason for feeding with the Tomahawk is its impact on feed conversion and its flexibility to reduce waste. Mr Wray maintains that grass silage is fed as required both along the front of a barrier and a ring feeder. Only what is required from a bale is used and a single bale can be used in multiple groups due to ease of transportation. There is no waste with secondary fermentation with silage deteriorating when not eaten. None is left behind!
A number of cows are fed through feed trailers or ring feeders and there is no silage wasted by large clumps being drawn through the barrier as the cows take their portion. Tomahawk is very effective at breaking down the bale and “fluffing it up” to produce a more palatable forage and much easier for the animal to digest, as a result intakes are up. This applies to grass forage feed to animals on a daily basis (often with protein pellets manually applied to each load) and maize silage which is delivered separately to the grass silage. Mr Wray comments that his Jersey cows are adept at picking out the “good stuff” and maize is always preferred to grass!
When weather permits, and grass is in abundance a quantity of hay is also produced for winter feed and Mr Wray feeds this through his Tomahawk for the same reasons as above. Higher intake (more output) and less waste, so the precious forage goes further!
Like many businesses, Wayside Farms’ success is dependent on proactive management in producing a quality product for resale using home grown forage on limited acreage. Mr Wray and his family have made a success of this business and Tomahawk has played its part.