Hello friends! Let me guide you through a closer look at the arable machinery giants - the Combine & Forage Harvesters.
2021 we are growing 370 acres of combinable crops – wheat, barley and oats. Fed when the cows visit the milking robots, cereal crops provide a balanced suppliment for their forage-based diet. Having our own combine we can harvest crops at thier peak. Our New Holland combine is capable of harvesting 10 acres per hour, which equates to 35-40 tonnes of crop. She has over 400 BHP, a cutting width of 10 meters.
To ensure quailty of the grains we use as cattle feed, it is essential they are combined when they have reached a moisture content of less than 16%. A higher moisture content would lead to potential mould growth and spoilage.
This season we are looking forward to using our new combine, the CR7.90. She is a rotary combine normally used by bigger farms for its bigger outputs. Bought secondhand from an arable estate, she has autosteer, self-leveling seives for crossing our lovely Shropshire hills, and an inbuilt straw chopper.
After the combining is completed the next job is baling straw with the New Holland Big Baler. Capable of baling 10 acres per hour of straw behind the New Holland Blue Power tractor.
New Holland CR7.90
Claas Jaguar 930 Forage Harvester
Grass and maize silage are harvested by a dedicated machine called a forage harvester. This 430BHP mahcine has interchangeable cutting headers for grass or maize. It takes in the crop at the front and a cutting chop the grass or maize into fine bite-sized peices which are blown down the long spout into the trailer travelling alongside. The Claas Jaguar 930 has a harvesting width of 4.5 meters for maize. When it comes to grass silage, we mow 30ft at a time. It dries for 24 hours, and then it is raked (swathing) into 2.5m swath, which is picked up by the grass header.
The full trailer load comes back to the farm and tips into the silage clamp. We roll the grass/maize to squeeze out as much air as possible. The silage pit is sealed. Within a month, the sugars are released and causes the silage to ferment, preserving the feed for winter.
If silage is too wet when its harvested, liquid that comes out as it ferments is very tasty for the cows, however too much of it can make them drunk!