Extra 60kg milk solids per cow and very low maintenance requirements
Richard Westlake has a 600 cow dairy herd and he supplies his milk year-round to the dairy at Maungaturoto.
He bought an Abbey VF1850, with two side elevators and now sees the Abbey Feeder as a “crucial part of his production system. I don’t know how we’d do without one now” said Richard.
“I went for the Abbey because I’d used a lot of their machines, when I was working as a contractor in the UK and still had friends over there who recommended them.
It is a great machine which evenly mixes whatever we put in and feeds consistently over the whole trough. We know the first cow on the feed pad gets exactly the same mix as the heifer down the other end. We noticed a big difference in our milking, with the small cows producing the same amount as the larger cows. Across the board, we got 60kg milk solids increase per-cow-per- year and this goes a long way to paying back our investment in the machine”.
The variable speed on the belts means they can feed out at different speeds on each side of the wagon for different stock, whether they are on the feed pad or calving pad. “Having two elevators also gives us a bit of security. If we happen to whack one of them off a fence post, we’ve always got the other one. Around 5 tonne of feed is mixed and fed from the wagon each day – generally a large round bale of hay, combined with 3 tonnes of maize silage, 1.2 tonne of palm kernel and 350 kg molasses, plus minerals”.
Richard usually tows the mixer wagon behind his 115 HP tractor, but says his 95 HP tractor also handles it with ease, even with a full load of maize.
“Since I got the feeder it has required little servicing, apart from a bit of oil and grease. Overall, it’s a strong, reliable and easy wagon to use, a good weighing system and very consistent mixing and feeding out. I would definitely recommend the Abbey mixer wagon to other farmers. It is a smart investment”, concludes Richard.
Richard Westlake (Mayflower Farms, Maungaturoto, Northland, New Zealand)