A diet that includes ingredients ranging from potatoes and parsnips to oven chips sounds like one that would suit most stomachs. But it’s the beef cattle at C Read and Sons’ Suffolk farm that get to enjoy such a selection, as part of a TMR blended by a Shelbourne Reynolds Powermix Pro diet feeder. And the resulting beef meets the demanding specifications of a supermarket known for its discerning customers.
The dairy unit used to train students as part of one of the UK’s most respected veterinary schools has undergone a transformation over the past five years, with changes covering everything from new management to new infrastructure. At the same time, TMR feeding has become the responsibility of a Shelbourne Reynolds twin auger machine, taking the place of a paddle-type feeder.
Producing milk for cheesemaking demands consistency of constituents – and that in turn means consistency of ration is equally important. It’s for this reason that Suffolk dairy farmers and cheese producers Jason and Katharine Salisbury decided to switch to total mixed ration feeding, and to entrust a Shelbourne Reynolds Powermix to produce the TMR for their 40-head Guernsey herd.
There are two Shelbourne Reynolds Powermix machines on JF Temple and Son’s north Norfolk dairy unit, but only one is used for feeding the farm’s 98-head dairy herd and its followers. The other is permanently engaged in mixing materials for an anaerobic digester powering a gas engine which, in addition to supplying surplus power to the grid, generates electricity for the host farm, including the cheese-making venture it supports. With those AD materials sourced wholly from the farm’s cropping, dairy and cheese enterprises, the system provides an excellent example of self-sufficient farming.
A dairy farm’s diet feeder must count as being the farm’s most used machine. No luxury of being parked for a few months under the barn alongside such seasonal implements as mowers or balers – the diet feeder is required to work every day of the year. And the demands on diet feeders can only become greater as dairy herds become progressively larger and adopt a permanent housing policy. The feeding regime employed by Hinton St Mary Estate for its 400-cow dairy herd – plus 225 followers – is typical perhaps of modern dairy farm looking to maximise production and profitability. A Velcourt farm managed by Mark Harvey, the farmed area runs to about 1750 acres. Of this, 1000 acres is used for arable crop production and the remainder for grass and forage maize.
The ability of the Shelbourne Powermix Pro to produce a good accurate, quality mix was not in question, for one Cumbria dairy farmer – it was the feed out elevator that was the real attraction. For Gordon Mitchell it was the feed out elevator on the Shelbourne Reynolds Powermix Pro 16m Diet Feeder that clinched the deal, he insists. "I had no doubt that the mixer could cope with work we wanted it to do but it was essential it could deliver the feed into our trough feeding system," he says. "And that required an elevator." Based at Ranghton Head, Dalston, Carlisle, Mr Mitchell and his brother farm about 1200 acres which is spread between two farms. The main enterprise on both farms is milk production with one herd numbering 200 cows and the other 280 cows.
Low Sizergh farm, near Kendal, just south of the Lake District National Park, is a busy place – not just because there are 150 cows which need to be milked three times a day, but also because there is a farm shop and tea room which draws in over 150,000 visitors a year.
In charge of the farm, is Richard Park who exudes an energy and enthusiasm for his dairy herd that overcomes all suggestion that three times a day milking can be pretty demanding.
A high fibre content is now considered to be important part of a diet if feed efficiency is to be maximised. As such, it is essential that a diet feeder can process straw so that it becomes an integral part of the ration
The beef enterprise on Aldbourne Chase Farms managed by David Armstrong involves the running of 150 pedigree South Devons and 90 Angus x Holstein suckler cows.
The purchase of a Shelbourne Reynolds Powermix Popular diet feeder has created new opportunities for one Lancs-based dairy farm.
Peter and Robert Fare – a father and son team who run a 110-cow dairy herd near Kirkham, Lancashire – clearly believe that to get the best performance from their cows requires care, compassion and attention to detail. And it is a formula that appears to be working well.
Having a mixer wagon capable of producing properly formulated rations which enable livestock to fully utilise the nutritional value of feed is clearly essential – particularly when the cost of feed is now so high.
A member of a family partnership, Robin Welton runs a herd of 270 cows at Furtho Manor Farm, which is near Old Stratford, Milton Keynes. The farm itself runs to 300 acres of which just over a third is used for the production of forage maize with remainder down to grass.
When four dairy farmers wanted to cut their feeding costs they decided to purchase a mixer wagon and a tractor and share the running costs between them. Should you ever come face to face with a farming co-operative called the 3C & ME don't hesitate to inquire how it acquired such a name. You will be told, hopefully, that it is formed by taking the first letter of four Wiltshire villages - Calstone, Cherhill, Compton Bassett and Mile Elm. And before you can ask why, some one will tell you that in each of these four villages there is a member of the co-operative who has a dairy farm and has a part share in the running of a mixer wagon. 3C & ME was formed four years ago by a group of dairy farmers who were anxious to reduce their feed costs - not by what they fed their cows but with what they used to feed them with.
As dairy herds get bigger their reliance on mixer wagons to provide accurately mixed rations becomes ever greater. Further more they need to be able to do it day after day. We take a look at two of Velcourt's Dorset-based dairy farms which opted to use large twin auger machines. Maximising milk yields - but not at the expense of extra cost - is the aim of many of the UK's dairy farms. It is a message not lost on two of Velcourt's dairy units based in Dorset - one at Melbury and the other an hour's drive away in Abbotsbury.
The Glympton herd of pedigree Aberdeen Angus cattle is well known in the world of cattle breeding. But such respect does not come without a great deal of skilled selective breeding, top class management and attention to matters of the diet The word immaculate is not a word to be used loosely or indeed where words with greater accuracy can be employed - such as neat and tidy. But for the stock section of Glympton Farms, with its acres of concrete, modern cattle housing and cosseted inhabitants, immaculate on this occasion would appear to be an entirely appropriate word.
Let's face it, adding ingredients to a mixer wagon to a required weight is not easy. Mistakes can happen and, as a result, milk yields can fall. For a large dairy unit near Reading it was a problem that needed solving. While it is everyone's intention to add the correct amount of each ingredient to a mixer wagon when creating a diet, the reality is that mistakes happen and, for dairy rations at least, milk yield can be adversely affected.
High input costs makes Powermix Pro even more valuable
As a family-run business with limited resources and staff, David Burroughs is always looking to fine tune his 1,000-acre dairy and arable enterprise at Aldeby, near Beccles, Suffolk. Run in partnership with his son Jamie and sister Margaret, the farm has spent the past few years considering how best to manage rising input costs.
Powermix ticks all the boxes for famous cheese producer
Cheesemaking in Somerset has always been a familiar tradition, especially in the famous Cheddar region. However, today there are very few producers with less than ten left in the area. When producing one of the UK’s favorite farmhouse cheddars, Wyke Farms rely on the latest technology and machinery, which includes two Shelbourne Powermix Pro Express feeders to keep their dairy herd fed.
True local beef kept well fed by Powermix Pro Express 11
You cannot head to North Norfolk without seeing a sign for Holkham Hall, and this famous eighteenth-century house is still home to Coke family, also better known as the Earls of Leicester. Today, as part of the Holkham Estate, Lord Leicester owns some 25,000 acres surrounding the impressive house.
Large Welsh dairy onto third Shelbourne feeder
For Camarthenshire dairy farmer Howell Richards, based at Cwrt Malle, opting for a Shelbourne feeder wagon is now a routine rather than a choice it seems. Now on his third machine, a 25 cubic metre Powermix Express, Mr Richards has run another identical-sized Shelbourne feeder, and previous to that a 22 cubic metre version. This is based on a policy of changing every two years, as feeders on the 1,800-head unit work every day of the year without fail.
A switch from feeding with a forage box in favour of the first diet feeder to be bought by a Derbyshire dairy farm has helped reduce rumen problems and boost butterfat levels among its high-performing British Friesians, despite an unchanged ration.
Difficulties getting sufficient straw into dry cows to maximise rumen fill have been overcome on a Yorkshire dairy unit by switching from a Keenan diet feeder to a Shelbourne Reynolds twin-auger model.
The Powermix Twin 22 purchased by the Hall family, with twin augers and a 22 cu m capacity, today single-handedly feeds 700 milking Holsteins, dry cows, followers and black and white bulls.