Archive Article: 2001/11/16

16 November 2001

Using ring feeders and plastic sheeting can reduce labour costs on sheep units by allowing large bales of hay to be fed instead of small bales.

Hay is normally fed to ewes in fields using covered hayracks, says Cambs-based producer Graham Robinson. But they only take small bales, requiring daily topping up with fresh hay.

Instead, large bales of hay can be fed using a ring feeder and a plastic sheet. The sheet is pulled over the top of the feeder and tied down to keep rain off the bale. Hay will remain fresh and dry for several days, long enough to be fully eaten with little waste, he adds.

This reduces the number of visits required to keep hay available outdoors. Big bales are quicker to move and more easily handled than small bales, so cutting labour requirement. Small bales can be a nightmare to handle.

Cutting the time required to feed ewes can make a large difference to the workload, particularly with more than 1400 ewes to manage on several units, says Mr Robinson.

Have you a tip that could save time or money to share with fellow dairy, sheep, beef or pig producers?

If so, write a brief description and send it to Livestock Tips at farmers weekly, Quadrant House, Sutton, Surrey, SM2 5AS, and you could receive £50, if it is printed in this column.

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