Farming smartly means that a wise farmer constantly needs to look at the maths behind his business. This goes beyond revenue received and expenses incurred. He should calculate the profitability of every farm activity to ensure a contribution towards a productive, profitable farm that grows from strength to strength.
The maths behind what a Rumax hammer mill has to offer was exactly what convinced a wise dairy farmer in the Western Cape to invest in one. By looking at the benefits the Rumax round bale hammer mill had over the past year and a half since its installation, it has proved to be indispensable.
Dairy cows need feed cut to a specific length for optimum production, and the hammer mill delivers precisely that! “I can now feed more cows at a time than before,” this farmer explains, and he has the maths to prove it!
To feed all the cows on this above average-sized dairy farm, the feed that went through the hammer mill over the course of one year amounted to approximately 2 400 tonnes. The feed consisted of:
• ± 300 round bales of barley, approximately 90 tonnes;
• ± 4 000 round bales lucerne, approximately 1 200 tonnes;
• 4 000 big pack bales of oats, approximately 160 tonnes;
• 500 round bales of oats, approximately 125 tonnes;
• 800 tonnes of straw bales.
“From the hammer mill, the feed is moved to different sections where we stockpile it in separate rooms. We use trailers and tractors to move the feed from storage to where we feed the cows,” the farmer explained. “Moving over to the hammer mill halved our diesel usage. The tractors also work fewer hours per day, making their service intervals longer and extending their lifespan.”
The farm is equipped with solar power that is used to run the mill, but there is an emergency generator at hand. “When it comes to power usage, the hammer mill uses approximately 4 000 kW/month. At full capacity, it uses 20 to 25 kW/hour. We use a variable speed drive (VSD) to lower the energy usage and to protect the motor,”he added.
Because of the hammer mill’s efficiency, labour costs were also reduced. Where longer hours (and thus a bigger wage) were the order of the day, feeding the hungry animals is now an easier, quicker task.
As with any hard-working machine, general maintenance on the hammer mill is vital. On this dairy farm, it is procedure to inspect the hammers and blades weekly, ensuring that they are in good working condition. This also ensures that the machine mills effectively, faster and uses less energy. “The machine’s productivity is good,” the farmer explains, “especially when it is properly looked after.”
Instead of waiting for the machine to break down, general maintenance means that the downtime is shorter and less severe.
“It is important to feed matter that is free from foreign materials such as rocks or sticks if you want to prolong the life of the blades and prevent the mill from breaking down,” the farmer notes. Because this may happen by accident sometimes, the dairy farm in the Western Cape makes sure it keeps enough stock available to feed the cows for two days.
“The moisture in the lucerne and oats also makes it harder to cut, wearing down the blades and deteriorating the hammer. That’s why the moisture in the bales should be kept as low as possible before being placed into the hammer mill,”the dairy farmer said.
As an added benefit, the Rumax factory is close to the dairy farm which was an additional reason to choose a Rumax hammer mill.
When talking about the service he receives from Rumax, the farmer elaborates that they receive assistance when they need it, and the machine is continuously improved. “We had an issue with too much dust on the hammer mill. Jaco enlarged the chamber of the mill and that reduced the dust. He makes small improvements like that,” he said.
If you want to find out how a Rumax hammer mill can help your farm to be more profitable, contact Jaco Pieters on +27(0)-82-335-3970 or +27(0)-23-342-6070. You may also send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website at www.rumax.co.za.