Working a third-generation family partnership on 400 acres at Little Hook Farm, near Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, the Evans family manage a herd of 300 Friesian Holsteins plus followers. Their dairy is based on a twice-a-day milking programme using an indoor production system where milking cows and dry cows are housed throughout their lactation. Young stock are grazed on pastures. Feeding is carried out using a brand new 20cu.m Shelbourne Reynolds Powermix Plus, twin-auger diet feeder system producing a balanced blend that includes homegrown maize, straw and grass silage. The feeding regime twice daily - morning and night. Herd average is 10,000 litres.
Little Hook just upgraded their diet feeder, having had their old one for the past eight years. Commented Dan Evans, “Diet feeders are one of the most important machines in our dairy business, because if for any reason we get a breakdown, then that affects the entire milk yield and we cannot ever let that happen. We’ve had the Shelbourne Reynolds before and it’s mostly been reliable, but the newest version is slightly larger, even stronger than the machine it replaces and it comes with Hardox side wall and wear guides in the bed and Tungsten blades for even greater durability. I think the Powermix is a much stronger machine than anything else on the market and it suits our operation perfectly.”
Little Hook Farm bought their Shelbourne Powermix from Tallis Amos Group (TAG) in Narberth, one of the regional Shelbourne Reynolds dealers whose support staff are trained on servicing the machine and, they carry extensive spare parts because they have sold a lot of these machines in the area. The design consists of two vertical augers with serrated knives which chop and blend the ingredients for a totally homogenous mix and easily handles straw bales, roots and a variety of feedstuffs. Either side feeding is standard as is adjustable discharge height. An integrated weigh-cell system enables accurate blending of feed components and accurate, controlled feeding to different yield groups. Tub capacity is around 10 tonnes depending on dry matter content and it comes on a single axle chassis with hydraulic braking.
“I could have bought the machine from a more local dealer,” added Dan, “but when something is a very important and pivotal part of the dairy, I need to be sure of the best back-up, we just can’t risk it. TAG have excellent back-up service, always have. An example being that last Boxing Day, the gearbox went on the old feeder and TAG came out very promptly, replaced the gearbox components and we were up back running that very afternoon, so we didn’t really lose much feeding time. Now, that’s what I call service!”
One of the things I really like with this new feeder is the electronic, wireless control of the machine from the tractor seat. It makes it so much easier to operate behind our John Deere 6130R tractor. It’s a great setup that is highly manoeuvrable around our buildings and we are very happy with the results in produces every time.”