One-man operation - simple
Clinton Devon Farm Partnerships is an organic dairy farm covering 1100 hectares, milking 500 dairy cows. The farm has a strong connection with nature and has voluntarily increased the areas of bird seed mixes and wildflower margins. The intention is to create 5 hectares for 100 hectares of farmland managed to create wildlife habitats. The farms are also implementing the following environmental management schemes – Country Stewardship mid-tier scheme, pilot test and trial elm scheme as part of the wider estate.
Greg Gray is the tractor driver and feed operator for the farm, he looks after the daily running of the enterprise and the welfare of the livestock. He explains that he only beds the youngstock on straw and uses a Teagle bale processor for this application.
Greg says “With the bale processor we can bed as little as we want and as often as we want, we don’t waste a whole bale on unnecessary areas, which saves on straw.” He goes on to say “By bedding little and often (every other day for us) it keeps the cows healthier and everything nice and clean.”
The farms main consideration when looking for a straw bedder was the dealer back-up. Greg says “James Pryce tractors are always there when we need them, any parts we need, they can sort us out promptly.” Greg explains why they chose the mounted Tomahawk 7100 model. “We chose this particular model, as it is a one-man operation– we put the bales on the floor back-up to them and get into these tight spots without having to worry about hitting anything or the machine.”
The 7100 has many benefits, Greg highlights some of them “We find the straw bedder easy to use, it’s simple but effective. If we want to put anyone on it with a relative skill of driving a tractor, we know we can confidently put them on it, and they will do the job in hand with no problems. There have been occasions when the machine has been blocked (not often), but it is a relatively easy job to un-block it and get going again. The Bluetooth controls are really good, you don’t have any cables going into the cab, it’s easy to use, connects straight away and off you go. In terms of maintenance Greg says “The Tomahawk is very easy to maintain, all the grease nipples are easy to get to and the shaft is as well. As with all farm machinery, wearing parts do need to be changed from time to time. We have had to replace a couple of things, but it was easy to do, and it was just general wear and tear. The machine is built in Britain, relatively close to where we are, so there is no problem getting hold of the parts we need.”
Devon Farm Partnerships are an organic farm, so they cannot use chemical fertilisers on the land. Instead, they spread the muck from the sheds, which have been incorporated with the straw, this adds extra nutrients back into the soil and nothing is wasted.
In summary Greg says “I would recommend this straw bedder to other farmers. I find the features are very good, it’s reliable and it does everything you need it to do – simple.”