Stock Journal Feature

19 June 2023

Stock Journal Feature

Feed trailer assists in even lamb growth

BY KIARA STACEY, June 17 2023 - 2:02pm  - Stock Journal 

"HAVING stock grow out more evenly was one of the many was one of the many benefits a newly implemented feeding process has achieved for a South East farmer. Brendon Ross, Keith, was also looking at ways to improve the safety of his sheep and cattle feeding process after an on-farm truck accident. 

He runs 3800 first-cross and merino ewes, and 70 cattle, across about 1400 hectares and has halved the time it takes to feed his stock and reduce feed waste by investing in a Haymate SR5400. He said his stock were no longer fighting for food and even growth rates meant he was getting higher returns.

"I am not getting the crowing of feeding, so they are utilising a lot more of the hay." Mr Ross said. 

"a lot of times, if a big clump fell off, they would end up sleeping in it and soiling all over it. But no because i can feed it out so finely they all get over it - they don't have to trample each other."

Mr Ross said he had previously used a 10x5 meter flatbed trailer which could hold four bales. 

"I use to have to climb up, cut the strings and then feed off a biscuit at a time," he said "It was labour intensive and dangerous and i had done it that way for about three years. After i had the accident with the truck, i just thought the next thing that was going to run me over was the feed trailer."

He said the speed he could do his feeding program in, with the added safety aspect was a big bonus. 

"The old way i was feeding Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, which would nearly take me all day - now i can do it in half a day," he said. "It saves me a day and a half each week to feed out with this new system, and i don't have to worry about getting run over - the safety aspect is awesome." 

Me Ross said the Haymate was allowing him to slow down the process and take time checking the stock. "It was not a race in, feed and then get out of there," he said "Now i have got the time to actually go around my paddocks as in feeding and just make sure the ewes are alright and they are lambing right." "I am utilising my time on my stock management better and saving in the pasture management too." 

He said last year, due to a poor season he didn't know if they were going to get hay baled or what the quality would be like, so he turned to feeding silage. 

"But then i wasn't sure how i was going to feed it out and was stuck," he said " I wanted something that could do rounds, silage, squares and small squares and i saw these (trailers) in Keith. "That was when i started investigating and had alook at others and i came back to going local. I thought it was probably the best one on the market that was versatile. I love the remote on it because it 's a matter of putting on four bales and then cutting the strings off, and the going out into the paddock and i can feed as much or as little as i like. The only time i have to get out of the ute is to open the gate." 

Mr Ross said he had never produced silage before, but now that he has, he would never go back. " it was made up of clover with ryegrass in it, or oats and a bit of vetch, or lucerne and ryegrass." he said "Next year i will probably give hay to the cows and maybe the odd bale of silage when they calve." 

IMPROVING lambing percentages is likely the next goal for Keith farmer Brendon Ross. He said he is considering trying regulin - a reproductive enhancer - next year to increase his lambing percentages. "I am sitting on about 130 percent out of the Merinos, but that is because of the year too," he said. " Last year i think it was about 119pc for the merinos. I class Merino rams up and put the best Merinos over my Merino Ewes. The ones i don't like for a broader  body type, i'll put a border Leicester over and produce a first-class ewe." Mr Ross said he runs a natural joining, with Merinos shorn in February and September. "The crossbreds i only do in September," he said "I like lambing the ewes down with no wool on them."  " 


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