We had a meeting with Whole Foods a few days ago. Really awesome people. Our family sat in on one of their team meetings. They have given us the ability over the last several years to cut our feed cost giving our farm animals better quality and nutritious food. THANK YOU!!!
The animals on the farm have really changed over the years by feeding them this compost. Their health has boosted greatly. The difference in their coats, fur, etc is amazing. This kind of feeding makes a big difference for us in the heat of the summer and the dead of winter. In the hot summer drought time here the grass starts to die back, dry up, and the moisture fades away. With the compost / produce from Whole Foods we are able to keep them hydrated longer due to the moisture in the food while their nutrition levels stay up. In the event of a dead winter it is pretty much hay or nothing. Just as us humans dehydration is greater in the winter than in the summer because we do not think about how we still need to consume water because we are not sweating. Again the animals stay hydrated and get more than just hay and plain old grain.
This is not a one sided coin though. We also help them stay green by cutting their cost of disposing this and all the things involved to do such an event. Energy, time, disposal, etc all come into play. I would suppose now this savings can be passed on to the consumers and employees. We also got permission to say Whole Foods gave us this opportunity. We was not sure before as we didn’t want to step on any toes. Again Thank You Whole Foods.
Do I need a hay ring? YES!!! Everyone has done the research that shows you will lose as much as 55% of the round bale with out doing any type of containment on it. I watched and / or read about one that lost as little as 5% +/- with this fancy high dollar hay feeder. I’m not gonna reinvent the wheel here, but some math needs to be put out there I believe.
Just a plain hay ring cuts this drastically and if you put something on the inside bottom to catch the hay (like we show you in the video) I would guess you are losing less than 25% now. You could also buy one that already has a catch or containment solid ring around the bottom.
Here is a scenario that is similar to what we look at here on our little farm every year.
30 round bales X $50 ea. = $1,500
If you loose 50% that is 15 bales or $750 just wasted. Gone. Bye-Bye. Hay ring 25% or less. Now you are only losing 7.5 bales or $375.
In the scenario above we could say you are losing, but honestly you are GAINING 7.5 bales or saving $375. Now we can buy approximately 23 bales instead of 30 or have 7 extra bales hopefully by the end of hay season. Just by investing one time in a simple hay ring we have cut our yearly cost of hay by over $300. Having a basic hay ring will pay for itself in the first year in most cases and in ours it will pay for itself twice in the first year.
Now it gets better. What about your time, fuel, transportation, etc for feeding those 7.5 bales. Now you don’t have that cost either. You now have easily saved over $400 when considering the above scenario.
PTO or Power Take Off on your tractor makes it a wonderful machine. This gives you the option of running different implements to do various task. The most common is the rotary cutter. You will need to engage the pto some how. This usually requires pushing the clutch of the tractor down as far as it will go and then moving a lever to engage the pto shaft coming out the back of the tractor or just moving a lever, knob or switch. Now whatever you have on the PTO power take off will start doing what it is intended to do. When disengaging you do the steps in reverse.
Also there is the choice of the live pto and independent pto. I wouldn’t say one is better than the other. I think it is more personal preference and how you will use the tractor. One will stop receiving power when the clutch pedal is push down and the other will not. When using an independent you normally do not have to engage the clutch to use it where as a live you must fully press the clutch pedal as far as it will go to engage both the transmission and the pto clutches at the same time. The hydraulic independent clutches are real nice. Just flip a switch or turn a knob and your done.
Now there is the older models where the pto drives directly through the transmission and if the implement doesn’t stop neither does the tractor. In this case you would need an over run clutch so the rotary cutter doesn’t push the tractor off a cliff while you are on it.
Basic rule of thumb is 5 horsepower for every foot of implement. There is a difference between engine and pto horsepower. If you have a 6 foot rotary cutter you will need 30 pto horsepower. Hope this helps.
How much tractor do I need? That is a good question. There is a lot of things that can make this decision or break it. Lot of times more is better, but not always. If you have 5 to 100 acres something with 35 to 50 horse power is usually plenty. Of course this does depend on the use of the unit as well. I think as long as you can manage 5 – 6 foot implements you will be fine.
One thing to keep in mind is weight. One deciding factor in us buying a tractor was we wanted the ability to stack round bales if necessary or to be able to off load round bales from a trailer. So lifting height and capacity of the front end loader did play a factor in our decision. If not for that we could have picked a smaller unit for our farm. At the time of this article we have a 4 wheel drive 4025 Mahindra. Believe me it is plenty for a small farm. Now that we have customers a little more under the hood would be nice.
Always keep in mind when it comes to tractors more power doesn’t mean you can go faster when doing a job. It means that you can run bigger implements, attachments or not bog down as much running smaller ones. You may gain a little speed, but odds are your travel speed will remain the same.
Here you can see in the video below that with 41 engine horsepower and 31 pto (power take off) we can run a 6 foot rotary cutter through some serious stuff. So bigger is better, but not necessary if you have the time to go slower. The canopy on the tractor is approximately eight feet off the ground to give you an idea of what is being tackled on the jobs we do.
Just curious to see if anyone wears any safety gear when on their tractor. We shred/mow/cut a few fields a year for our customers. I have extreme allergies, but I still have to pay the bills. I was cutting at a buddies house one day and the tractor was yellow by time I was done. His place was full of ragweed. I was wearing the skull and safety glasses in first picture. Skull is for sun, but I was trying to look cool. As you can see in the second picture the ragweed won. The white of my eye was swelling around the colored part of my eye. It was really freaky. Kind of like if you had a ball of dough and put you finger in the middle or if you boil sausage and the casing blisters. Went to the doctor and got eye drops. As you can see in the third picture slightly upgraded my gear with a lot better results. Just wanted to share and let people know be aware when you are out there. I’ll put a couple links below to my new masks and glasses I wear now…….Darrell.