Short chopped grass
The agricultural business is continuously looking for improvements in a competitive environment. Low milk prices motivates looking for improvements. Are there opportunities of both reducing cost and at the same time improving productivity?
High quality forage is important
For dairy and beef industry, forage is the critical resource. Forages are representing the main cost of dairy and beef production. The quality of forages also strongly influences animal performance as well as vet cost. What could be a secret to some farmers, could be the influence of forage structure and the effect on cost as well as on productivity.
Cows are very much reacting to quality and structure of the forage.
Garbage in is garbage out.
Benefits of baling short chopped grass with an Orkel compactor in short:
- 25-30% higher density compared to bunker/tower silo
- Less plastic wrap usage, due to higher density (compared to baling with a traditional grass baler)
- Easier logistics
- Easier market access
- Higher animal performance
Higher forage intake with short chopped grass
Research institutes world-wide have been looking at the effect of short shopped forage compared to longer stemmed forage. The Norwegian research institute Bioforsk, connected to the Norwegian AG university, presents figures showing the effect of feeding chopped forage of 1in (2,5 cm) compared to 2,5in (7,5 cm).
Shorter chopped grass will make your cows eat more and digest better, resulting in higher milk yield and higher fat content
For the two situations, the cow’s forage intake was accordingly 25 lb (11,3 kg) dry matter compared to 22,7 lb (10,2kg) dry matter. This difference of forage intake of 10 %, resulted in an increase of milk yield as well as in higher fat content.
Increased density by 25%
Another advantage of shorter chopped material is the increased density by conservation. Tests comparing baling of forage of 2-6in chop length compared to finer chopped material of 1in, using a forage harvester or wagon, and compacted in the Orkel compactor, shows an increased density of appr 25 - 30 %.
A bale from a traditional baler with a bale volume of 1,8 yd3 (1,37 cubic metres) had a bale weight of 1550 lb (703 kg). Baled by the Orkel compactor, the same forage had a bale weight of 1800 lb (816 kg) and a volume of 1,63 yd3 (1,25 cubic metres). This is a difference of density of 25 % +, which again means 25 % less logistics as well as less cost of plastic wrap. In the case wrapping of 1000 tons of traditional bale silo will cost 6000 USD, the same 1000 tons of shorter chopped forage will cost appr USD 4500.
Baling your forage with the Orkel compactor will result in higher density, better conservation, lower plastic wrap costs and easier logistics compared with a traditional baler
At the same time, the cheaper logistics represents a higher feed value, higher animal performance, and most likely, an increased animal health, which means lower vet costs. Compared to bunker silos, advantages of compacting by Orkel compactors will be the same. The explanation of these numbers is the higher density excluding oxygen, which again improves forage conservation and fermentation. Gold in – is gold out.
Wishing you a good harvest!