Which forage harvester for longest chop length?

Winklepicker

Member
Livestock Farmer
I’m thinking of taking our forage harvesting back in-house again after some difficulty getting our contractor on time, I have the staff and most of the kit.
I’m looking at buying a used forager but want a long chop length as our milk buyer is a cheese manufacturer and I am paid on milk solids, and longer chop length promotes butterfats.
Don’t think a wagon will work because 50% of forage area is 4 miles away, and bales are a PITA.
Is there any difference between forager makes or are they pretty much of a muchness?
Forage area is around 600-700 acres/year, all grass
 

njneer

Member
If you go self propelled then any of the mainstream brands would do your job , all are capable of running either ,or including, slower feedrollers,speed or less blades. This does increase fuel,usage and strain on the machine but they are all proven machines I’m their own right and there are plenty good second hand “ Farmer HP” machines to be had as the contractors seem to have been brainwashed with the online drone footage brigade into believing that they need more and more HP but as the HP has increased the second hand market is less and less suited or cost effective for the Farmer spec requirements.
Do perhaps think a couple of wagons might do your job , perhaps you should halve your job for the year ahead and get half long chopped by your contractor and get someone in and do half with the wagon for a comparison give you an idea of cost effectiveness , practicality and the comparison to your milk yields and quality.
Nothing to,lose for the year you are paying contractor anyway and gives you some solid feedback and comparisons before committing £££ either way.
Margins have never been tighter and uncertainty has never been greater it’s a big financial commitment either way .
 
Last edited:

mf7480

Member
Mixed Farmer
Maybe so, will have another think on them

I have absolutely no experience with them myself mind! They’ve never really floated my boat, the inability to push on when the weather is against you has always put me off. At least with a self propelled you can take it steady 90% of the time but if you’re working with a tight weather window or the forecast changes it’s mind, you can push the stick forward, stick some more trailers on, another machine on the clamp and all of a sudden you have 500hp to throw a good few acres in the clamp a bit quick. We’ve had one a few years now. What I’ve learnt is you have to learn to fix them yourself. Dealers bills are heavy, but parts prices surprisingly ok. Knives for example are much cheaper/ t of silage than a JF.

a trailed is ok, spot rate is right up there when it’s going well. Trouble is there’s so few hours/ day it’s actually going well. Somethings normally broken.

If you like a longer chop, a John Deere with IVLOC, a 40 knife drum with a 1000rpm drum pulley rather than 1200 will see you right.
 
More ways of getting long fibre or actual fibre into them than just chop length. My friend has bred for butterfat for years and is a cheese supplier. Feeds no wholecrop and no maize, hasn't done so for years now. Good grass silage and haylage bales made when the quality is right. All thrown into mixer wagon.
 
Maybe so, will have another think on them
I use to own a class 860 cutting 1200 acres a year , now I run 3 wagons cutting 2800 acres and going up every year due to farmers wanting longer chop . Two big wagons , wilted grass and you will do 100 acres a day at your ease . Far lower running cost than a harvestor , less men and less diesel. For example early in the mornings if you don’t have all your men ready to go at a sp outfit , with the wagons one man can go ahead and draw a few load from the long draw . Big wagons bringing 2 acres a load don’t be long clearing fields . We worked beside a JD 7700 harvestor last year , we had 3 wagons they had 5 trailers working , they couldn’t believe how we outperformed them. We went into a 8 acre field of good second cut with the 3 wagons together , we left the field in 8 minutes with the 8 acres of grass . The lads across the road couldn’t believe it. Under no circumstances would I go back to a sp again.
 

Cowabunga

Member
Location
Ceredigion,Wales
I’m thinking of taking our forage harvesting back in-house again after some difficulty getting our contractor on time, I have the staff and most of the kit.
I’m looking at buying a used forager but want a long chop length as our milk buyer is a cheese manufacturer and I am paid on milk solids, and longer chop length promotes butterfats.
Don’t think a wagon will work because 50% of forage area is 4 miles away, and bales are a PITA.
Is there any difference between forager makes or are they pretty much of a muchness?
Forage area is around 600-700 acres/year, all grass
Two used wagons. Or new ones if you like.
 

Sharpy

Member
Livestock Farmer
If you go self propelled then any of the mainstream brands would do your job , all are capable of running either ,or including, slower feedrollers,speed or less blades. This does increase fuel,usage and strain on the machine but they are all proven machines I’m their own right and there are plenty good second hand “ Farmer HP” machines to be had as the contractors seem to have been brainwashed with the online drone footage brigade into believing that they need more and more HP but as the HP has increased the second hand market is less and less suited or cost effective for the Farmer spec requirements.
Do perhaps think a couple of wagons might do your job , perhaps you should halve your job for the year ahead and get half long chopped by your contractor and get someone in and do half with the wagon for a comparison give you an idea of cost effectiveness , practicality and the comparison to your milk yields and quality.
Nothing to,lose for the year you are paying contractor anyway and gives you some solid feedback and comparisons before committing £££ either way.
Margins have never been tighter and uncertainty has never been greater it’s a big financial commitment either way .
Surely faster feed roller speed?
 

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HSENI names new farm safety champions

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Written by William Kellett from Agriland

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The Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) alongside the Farm Safety Partnership (FSP), has named new farm safety champions and commended the outstanding work on farm safety that has been carried out in the farming community in the last 20 years.

Two of these champions are Malcom Downey, retired principal inspector for the Agri/Food team in HSENI and Harry Sinclair, current chair of the Farm Safety Partnership and former president of the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU).

Improving farm safety is the key aim of HSENI’s and the FSP’s work and...
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