August 8, 2019
In today’s competitive farming market where every penny counts you need to know that you can get the most from your farm whether that be for dairy, livestock or crops. Thanks to their continued purchasing of KEENAN diet feeders over the past 30 years, the Wilson brothers at Skirwith Hall Farm near Penrith have ensured that their farm’s productivity is maximised and they know they can rely on their machines to support their busy operations. With the help of KEENAN and Jonathan Bell, Agricultural Sales Specialist at Lloyd Ltd Penrith, they recently purchased a new machine and are already seeing the results.
“We’ve always gone with KEENAN for their reliability”, said Chris Wilson. “It’s essential to have the peace of mind that the cows will get fed every day and we know that the KEENAN machines will do that day in day out. On the rare occasion that there is an issue, we know we can call on KEENAN direct to come and fix it, so the most downtime we’ve had is only a few hours and it’s back up and running again.” With 400 pedigree Holsteins averaging 10,000 litres twice a day and 5 staff covering 800 acres, the Wilsons’ farm has to work like clockwork and they need reliable and efficient machinery to help them do just that.
The machine that the Wilsons recently purchased from Lloyd Ltd, the KEENAN dealer for the region, is a MechFiber380 model. This model is designed for farms that want to feed large numbers of animals in a short period of time. With a payload of 9,000kgs, the machine is capable of feeding up to 150 dairy cows or 350+ fattening cattle for 24 hours with a single load. The number of body blades, set up and location has been reviewed and optimised in this latest model. All blades are located within the main body of the machine, nominally between the 5 and 7 o’clock positions, to ensure that material is chopped efficiently without increasing the power requirement, which stands at 115hp. The KEENAN MechFiber range starts at the 70hp 270 model for medium-scale operators feeding 40 – 60 cows per load and extends up to the 120hp 400 model which can feed 140 – 200 cows per load with its 10-tonne capacity. There is also a self-propelled model, the MechFiber345SP, available with 170hp to feed 65 – 100 cows.
As with all KEENAN Mixer wagons, the MechFiber 380 retains the paddle mixing system ensuring a consistent ration is produced each and every time. However, the latest innovation – the KEENAN Controller - takes the approach to feed to a whole new level. Although KEENAN do offer a nutrition support service this is not essential to get the most from the machines and the Wilsons use an independent nutritionist to help them manage their feed requirements. Thanks to the KEENAN Controller, the nutritionist is able to send instructions on the feed mix remotely to the Controller, including how long to mix it for, ensuring that the approach is the same every time. The InTouch Daily TMR Manager software then enables the farmer and nutritionist to see what has been used and to keep track of costs, as well as providing detailed graphs and reports on ingredients used, feed costs, herd productivity and feeding accuracy. This powerful yet easy-to-use tool ensures that Chris and Len Wilson know exactly how much their cows are eating and how effective the mix is working for them.
In a recent report from the Carbon Trust KEENAN’s MechFiber machine is the only one to be certified as a more sustainable diet feeder, proven to reduce methane emissions on-farm. The Carbon Trust verified that reduced methane output linked to enhanced rumen performance (per litre milk and daily liveweight gain in beef animals) can come as a result of improved feed conversion efficiency (FCE) in livestock. Having investigated the output from the KEENAN diet feeder and reviewing data from the KEENAN Controller, the Carbon Trust established that the KEENAN machine can increase rumen efficiency by delivering feed that is more easily digestible for cattle, meaning less energy is required and produced by each animal. As governments, the farming industry and their customers become more focused on lowering emissions and reducing the on-farm carbon footprint, this unique feature of using the KEENAN machine in conjunction with the KEENAN Controller will have additional benefits to the Wilsons’ farm going forward.
Over the 30 years that the Wilsons have been loyal to KEENAN they have always moved with the times, upgrading their machines each time and taking advantage of the latest developments in the product. With the benefit of the 24/7 support from KEENAN and their local dealer Lloyd Ltd in Penrith, as well as the innovative KEENAN Controller, it is clear that KEENAN has been and will continue to be an integral part of their operations.