Andrew has seen savings of 25% to 30% in straw and around 1 hour per day in labour
Delivering an extra 500 litres per cow.
Andrew has worked various housing systems for the herd and has found that he is able to optimise the yield per cow by improving cow comfort through over wintering the herd in straw yards rather than cubicles. Maintenance of these yards requires a ‘little and often’ bedding regime that sees cattle bedded twice a day, every day of the week. Andrew aims to ‘provide a bed that is as close to a field as possible’.
With this system Andrew finds that he does not have the same frequency of lameness he has experienced with cows housed on concrete, with the incidence of mastitis being managed at a low level through the frequent application of fresh straw. Andrew calculates that these benefits offer a return of around an additional 500 litres per cow.
Saving Labour - and 25% in Straw
To maintain this regime, which requires around 900 round bales of straw a year to be spread, a mechanical bedder is an essential part of daily life. Andrew has seen savings of around 25% to 30% in straw and around 1 hour per day in labour since moving away from manual bedding.
Difficult bales? - No problem.
Whilst the best straw is reserved for the milking cows, the last couple of seasons have seen some difficult bales which is where his Teagle Tomahawk 808 mounted Feeder Bedder enters the story. The 808 is Andrew’s third Feeder Bedder and was selected following demonstrations of the most popular machines on the market for its blow distance, the ability to deal with difficult bales and the simple layout of the electronic control box. Andrew selected a mounted machine due to its manoeuvrability which suits the layout of the farm well, with various buildings to work around.
The Tomahawk 808, which sits on a John Deere 6430, has also been used as a backup for the mixer wagon on the farm. With muck is cleaned out monthly, Andrew notes that it's ‘totally different’ to a bed prepared by hand. ‘Half of the work has already been done for you as the straw is well mixed in with the muck’.
Easy transition to the New Tomahawk 7100.
Would Andrew have another one? He has just upgraded to the New Tomahawk 7100. Having tried the new machine, Andrew’s son Will, who drives the bedder, noted the smoother flow from the chute, faster processing time and several updates that will improve servicing.