Are straw choppers really worth it?

Location
West Wales
Hoping to have some time to sit down and do my budget later and just wondering. It’s semi on the list but as im bedding down now I can’t see that the cost justifies the time saving.
Currently we just do it by hand for the calves and the bullers we boot out twice a week and shake it around a bit with a handler.

we would require another tractor to power it and the purchase of the machine itself. I’m thinking the money would be better spent building a bigger shed to reduce stocking rate/ fit some cubicles.

posted in the dairy section in order to get a dairy persons view. Baring in mind i absolutely hate greasing machines because the barstewards guns never work.
 

Jdunn55

Member
Why not buy a second hand machine? You can try it without spending a fortune and seeing how you get on with it? We bought a 2002 teagle 8080 for £1900 5 years ago with the intention of buying a new one if we liked it. Haven't bothered upgrading as it does the job and have since been offered on several occasions more than what we paid for it! Dont forget the straw saving either it all adds up especially in a year like last when straw was £150/tonne in places! I'm not a fan of our specific straw chopper ae it needs to be longer to take square bales but having said that I would never not have one.
 

sjt01

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
North Norfolk
We used to have a Teagle 8080 but it was a nightmare changing blades (the new model is better). We now have a Valmetal walk behind for the cubicles, and a Warthog for the loose yards. The Warthog is brilliantly simple, but needs reasonable headroom to tip the bale into the rotors. Far better than pushing the straw about with a muck grab.
 

Sparkymark

Member
I’ve had my teagle 10 years.
I wouldn’t be without it. 100’s of bales have passed through it.
I pull mine around with an old MF390 which rarely gets taken off. You don’t want a valuable tractor tied up.
I’m with you on the grease guns, it never gets greased as often as it should.
Supposedly we use less straw as bales are shredded out better.
I remember it being an awful job throwing kegs of straw about with the heifers running around kicking out at you.
It’s another job made easy.
 

cousinjack

Member
We class it at one of the best machines we've ever bought..
The time saving is immense, along with the saving in straw use and the ability to spread less than perfect bales quickly..

120 head sucker herd here..
Teagle chopper on wheels, which is more manuverable, and can operate behind a smaller tractor than the mounted ones .. 80hp is ample.

Downsides we have found are :
Slight increase in eye issues due to blowing straw over top of cattle,

Don't spend time in and around the herd so much, so can miss health problems occasionally

It's another machine to start on cold days, find a shed for, maintain etc..


Once you've had one, I doubt you'd get rid !
 

Bullring

Member
Location
Cornwall
I wouldn’t say it saves straw as such over the course of a winter, what it does do is enable you to put straw where you want it, if cattle only need half a bale then that’s what you put in whereas you would have to use the whole bale if you took the netwrap off and spread it by hand. I find little and often is better as you end up with a better bed. I bed up a shed with 60 cattle in every day with 1 bale whereas if I had to do it by hand I would probably use 3 bales every 2 days so there is some saving in straw. I use mine for straw and bales silage and putting through 5 bales a day.
 

Chae1

Member
Location
Aberdeenshire
Hoping to have some time to sit down and do my budget later and just wondering. It’s semi on the list but as im bedding down now I can’t see that the cost justifies the time saving.
Currently we just do it by hand for the calves and the bullers we boot out twice a week and shake it around a bit with a handler.

we would require another tractor to power it and the purchase of the machine itself. I’m thinking the money would be better spent building a bigger shed to reduce stocking rate/ fit some cubicles.

posted in the dairy section in order to get a dairy persons view. Baring in mind i absolutely hate greasing machines because the barstewards guns never work.
I wouldn't bother. Don't think it will save you time or straw.

We put 11 hesstons a day through ours over winter. It just saves somebody doing a sh!t and dangerous job. I wouldn't want to put a man to rolling out 25 round bales a day and wouldn't want to do it myself. Unfortunately our sheds aren't setup to make taking handler in shed and shaking out bales a option.

Our bedder tractor does 13 hours per week, more than mixer wagon.
 
We've changed this year.

What I've noticed.

They don't save any straw, we are using exact the same amount of straw, and both neighbour and my wife has commented that the cattle don't seem as clean, I put that down to cattle making their way down through a layer of fluff rather than a mat of straw.

I've found no real time saving because the generally need bedded every day instead of bedding every second day with bales. They are quick to pit a bale through, but there is still faffing about.
And if you have to hitch it on and off each day you'll need to be putting a few bales through it to make it worth while.
It won't be with it for 1 or 2.

They make a mess inside sheds and out.

Good points are that they can bed smaller pens and subdivided sheds with ease.

If you have sh1t straw they will deal with it and you can reduce the risk of farmers lung.

I went to a 300 cow herd where all cattle were to finished, and the guy said he bought a bedder and then sold it because he didn't have time to fu#k about with it.
An other 250 cow unit near me has a bedder but uses it to feed silage, they said the same, too time consuming and too much mess driving between sheds on windy days.

Both units we're set up in an intelligent manner that made it easy to bed with bales.
 

Scholsey

Member
Location
Herefordshire
Got to remember some of these modern balers on 300hp tractors are getting 50%+ more straw in the bale so that 3 quadrants a day you used to use 10 years ago and still carry on doing to today could be the same as 2 quads a day with a new baler.

we use a 4x3 a day @ roughly 400kg would be using a lot more than 2 round bales a if doing it By hand and wouldn’t fancy trying to buy round bales in on a lorry, we have far better rotted muck to spread than rolled out bales as well imho.
 

Alan88

Member
Location
Northern Ireland
What about bedding calves? I read you shouldn't be using one for calves but always fancied one for our weaned calves. Can you blow it over slats or will it make a mess? Our calf house is half straw bedded then slats further other half for eating
 

vantage

Member
Location
Pembs
we would require another tractor to power it and the purchase of the machine itself. I’m thinking the money would be better spent building a bigger shed to reduce stocking rate/ fit some cubicles.
Shed all day long.
For guys spreading a lot of straw they’re indispensable, for a bale now and again I’d say it’s an expensive luxury.
 

Extreme Optimist

Member
Livestock Farmer
Wouldn't be without mine. I have a second hand Jeulin (£3K) on the back of a 42 year old MF 2620. 180 cows and calves can be bedded in 7 sheds can be bedded in about 40 mins with 4x3 bales and it will blow it about 45'. I have seen a huge reduction in straw use (prob about 30%). The cattle are clean and happy. I agree it does make a little more mess outside, but it does mean, at least for me anyway, that it is much more of a one man system.
Much easier to muck out as you are not dragging half the shed with you. Much easier to spread and less hard on both the handler and the muck spreader. You get much better muck and can spread more/acre as it breaks down so much better and you don't get lumps.
It is without doubt, one of my better buys and if it broke down for any length of time, I would be straight out to buy another one!!
 

dairyrow

Member
No. I wouldn't bother another tractor, doesn't save straw and it'll just sit there over turnout doing nothing all summer. Think ours is waste of money wish we bought a bigger one to feed silage out as well rather than the keenan this year too. That's maybe were it would be useful to us.
 

eulb

Member
Location
Lancs
I sold mine and bought a spread a bale,far far better machine,main things are the fact it doesn’t block up and it doesn’t need another tractor,plus the added that the straw comes out whole not minced up within an inch of its life and disappears fast.

It doesn’t matter if your tractor is 5 years old or 25 years old it’s another tractor to maintain/keep running.
 

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