The power of the new Tomahawk 1010 is impressive
Gary Gray, Farm Manager, says ‘farming in this location can be a challenge, working in some of the most environmentally sensitive marshland in the Broads to finish cattle at the optimum grades required by our buyer’.
The system adopted by Beckhithe to meet the requirements of both the local environment and the cattle includes housing the Angus cattle, known for easy calving and well suited to the low fertility marshland, in a series of 51 open yards bedded with straw. These yards are full from September to April each year with considerable effort taken to ensure costings are managed. This is not surprising when some of the numbers are considered. Over 80 tons of food are fed daily from a clamp that holds more than 8000 tons of maize and grass silage. More than 10,000 full size Hesston bales of barley, wheat and rape straw are needed to bed down the 51 yards during the winter months. This is essential to meet the high standard of husbandry that Beckhithe set themselves, which is recognised in their membership of the Farm Assured Beef and Lamb Scheme.
To maintain a clean and comfortable bed, which is a priority in the outdoor yards, they are bedded every day, a job that takes around 3.5 hours with the bedder being continuously fed with bales. Beckhithe work with partner Teagle Machinery for bedding equipment, now running their 4th Tomahawk, having recently upgraded from the Tomahawk 9090 series to the flagship Tomahawk 1010. Before running Tomahawks Gary says, ‘we were running straw spreaders, but moving across to a dedicated bedder we found that we made substantial cost savings, with a reduction of around 30% in straw usage. Straw is like gold dust in the area because we are competing with power stations.’ And regarding labour savings? ‘We simply could not do without the Tomahawk.’
Operator Gary Noakes points out, “the power of the fan on the new Tomahawk 1010 is impressive, with the swivel chute enabling us to place straw where it is needed. The Build Quality is strong and I am pleased with the Hardox lining of the fan, which I think that will prolong the life of the machine considerably. I am also impressed with the way Teagle work with us, their parts service is second to none’.