Farmers adopting zero grazing in a bid to cut feed costs, reduce waste and improve DM intakes have two options to cut, collect and feed out the grass. But whilst a zero grazing machine may be specifically designed to do this one job, a mower and forage wagon combination will give farmers greater flexibility and ultimately be a more cost-effective option, says OPICO’s James Woolway.
“Investing in a forage wagon for zero grazing ensures a flexible system in case market conditions and farm practices change,” says Mr Woolway. “A forage wagon can also be used either to support contract silage-making work or alternatively to allow farmers to be in complete control of their silage-making.
“However there are several practical factors to consider when choosing machinery.
“It is important to limit the physical damage done to grass when zero grazing, to protect its nutritional quality. So farmers should select a plain non-conditioner mower to reduce grass damage. The knives in the forage wagon’s chopping unit can then be removed, and the rotor is simply used to feed the grass gently into the wagon,” explains Mr Woolway.
“Strautmann forage wagons include a Continuous Flow System which spreads the cut grass evenly across the whole width of the wagon, so there is less compression and less damage done compared to machines where it is heaped down the middle.
“Size can also matter! If the feed troughs are under cover, then wagon height may be an issue. Whilst contractors prefer the larger models, there are also smaller sizes to choose from. For example, the smallest Strautmann forage wagon is the Zelon – with a maximum height of 3.68m, compared to the contractors’ favourite, the Giga-Vitesse which is 4.00m tall.
“And when it comes to feeding out, the same cross conveyor system that is used in Strautmann mixer wagons can be fitted, giving the flexibility to discharge cut grass to the left or right of the machine.”
For more information on the Strautmann range of forage wagons, including the Zelon, farmers can contact their nearest Strautmann dealer, call OPICO on 01778 421111 or visit www.strautmann.co.uk.