The Mann for quality forage

With a year-round average of 29 litres/cow/day from his 300 cows, John Mann of Crooklands Farm, Blencogo, Cumbria, takes the production of quality forage seriously, and has been using ClampFilm and Safesil to minimise wastage and losses ever since they became available in the UK. When he read the Press reports about the Silapactor from Kelvin Cave Ltd. he realised that the company had found yet another ‘piece of the jigsaw’ to help him make top quality silage consistently. John knew that increasing the compaction density of his grass and maize silage would result in even lower DM losses from his clamps, and better utilisation of clamp space.

John struck a deal with Michael Carpenter, Kelvin Cave’s North of England sales manager, at the 2011 Dairy Event, and the first UK Silapactor was delivered to his farm in time to consolidate the 3rdcut grass and the maize silage.

John gets his local contractor, Horsley Contractors, to provide a self-propelled forager and trailers, but likes to mow, ted and fill the clamp with his own equipment. He takes personal responsibility for clamp filling, using a JD 180hp tractor with front- mounted buck rake, and it was to this unit that the Silapactor was added.

“Operating the buck rake and the 4 tonne, 3 metre wide Silapactor keeps my hands busy at the controls,” says John, “but the ability of the implement to consolidate the silage tight to the clamp walls, eliminating air pockets and increasing silage density, provides a solid, stable base to work on. Because it compacts so well across the full width, I’m saving fuel as well.”

The analysis of both the 3rd cut and the 2011 maize showed that John had made a wise investment, and this trend has continued into the 2012 grass silage, with better silage quality and no waste, despite the difficult conditions.

Neighbouring farmers have seen the improvements that the Silapactor has made on John’s farm. “You can see the quality at the clamp face,” comments John, “we’ve had no clamp ‘shrinkage’ and everyone notices how cleanly the shear-grab cuts this well-compacted silage. As a result they’ve been keen to hire it to use on their own silage, which means the implement is getting plenty of use. I am certain that a tight clamp equals quality forage, which means happy, productive cows.”

The Silapactor is yet another of John’s success stories using products from Kelvin Cave Ltd. His father started using crimped grain treated with Crimpstore 15 years ago and firmly believes there is nothing to beat it. Now, with his silage treated with Safesil, compacted with the Silapactor and sealed with ClampFilm his results speak for themselves.  John’s dairy nutritionist Mark Robinson of Armstrong Watson says that John’s cows are consistently at the top of his 400 customers’ performance league table.

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