SIGNIFICANT recent rainfall around northern NSW has local farmers optimistic for the upcoming silage planting season.
Stuart and Julie Armstrong reported falls of more than 250 millimetres at their family dairy operation on 1214 hectares near Old Bonalbo last week. The Armstrongs are now getting ready to plant corn silage and sorghum crops to feed their 500-head milking herd.
“We’ve had an extremely dry season here,” said Mr Armstrong, a fourth-generation dairy producer.
“Tabulam is just down the road from us, and recorded its driest quarter in 100 years. We’ve been lucky enough to end up with 10 inches of rainfall (200mm) in a matter of a week, which means we’ll be able to get our summer feed crops in as soon as it dries out a bit.”
To aid their dairy feedlot total mixed ration (TMR) through the long dry, the Armstrong family recently purchased a Patz 950 vertical mixing wagon.
Mr Armstrong said the new mixer makes light work of their daily herd ration of barley, canola meal, lucerne hay, macadamia hulls and corn silage. Silage is grown on-farm by the Armstrong family, who graze their Friesian Jersey dairy herd during the day and ration feed in the evenings and during milking.
Mr Armstrong said the new mixing wagon had significantly reduced ration time from loading to feed out down for the daily evening ration.
“We’re really happy with the Patz 950 mixer, from start to feed out takes around 45 minutes for around 9500 kilograms,” he said.
Patz Australia product manager Jim Ryan, from DOM Distribution, said limited rainfall and the warmer than average weather had contributed to a significant rise in the number of Patz feed mixers sold to both dairy and beef operations.
“A lot of small to medium size cattle farmers that rely on being able to graze their stock haven’t had the rain this year and have moved towards smaller-scale TMR feeding as an alternative.
“A smaller size mixer is an affordable means of ensuring you can continue to maintain your herd through long, dry months where pasture feeding cannot be sustained through long periods of drought.”