Keenan has developed a 28cu m feeder wagon to cater for the continuing trend towards larger dairy and beef units.
The Irish manufacturer says demand for high capacity machines is driven by the Australian, Dutch and North American markets, where herd size commonly exceeds 200 head of cattle.
The K280 has apparently been designed to be able to feed this number of animals in one go.
Rather than moving to the vertical or horizontal augers commonly employed in bigger machines, the company has stuck with its trademark paddle/barrel set-up.
Although the concept remains the same, much has changed.
To keep body width within 3m, the feed-out auger – which runs along the left-hand side of the mixer – has been lowered.
Consequently, maximum feed-out height is 850mm (33in).
The pto driveline has been beefed up.
To achieve a reduction effect chain and sprocket drives are used to transfer power to an intermediary idler shaft.
This runs the feed-out auger and massive 2.1m diameter paddle drive sprocket.
It is a relatively complex set-up that will require a good deal of regular maintenance, helped by the wagon’s automatic lubrication system.
In the interest of manoeuvrability the K280’s chassis is kept fairly short for such a large machine.
But there is a trade-off.
To get a 28cu m capacity from a 5m long x 3m wide body, Keenan’s engineers have had to reach new heights.
In fact, the wagon stands nearly 3.5m tall. Clearly, it is not going to suit those units where cramped buildings are an issue.
The actual mixing set-up is largely unchanged, with six paddles drawing material over a bank of 30 stationary knives.
Running at 6-8rpm, a standard silage/straw diet is claimed to take 10-15 minutes to mix as the wagon is loaded.
Weighing in at a hefty 12.5t when empty, the K280’s 28cu m body can hold about 10t of fodder.
Although the pto power requirement is said to be between 80hp and 90hp, a tractor of at least 120hp is required to handle the machine’s 22.5t laden weight.
Considering the maximum legal gross weight for tractor and trailer is just over 24t, trips on the road are going to have to be made empty.
For transport the feeder is fitted with leaf-sprung tandem axles and height adjustable sprung drawbar.
Available with Keenan’s optional even-feed Bale Handler set-up, prices for the K280 start from a substantial £39,950.