BY Rodney Magowan
ADD value to your cus-tomer’s silage and they keep coming back as satisfied customers year on year.
The thinking behind the success of Fermanagh contractors William Lee and team based at Carneyhill, Ballinaleck. A business where standing still is never an option as machinery up grades and the adoption of new technology are a firm feature of this family enterprise.
For example, investing in an Ultra Low Volume silage additive applicator to ensure every big bale is cost effectively improved by using Ecosyl Ecocool from Volac.
With up to 30 per cent of silage in some areas now made in big bales, applying an Ecosyl additive makes sound business sense for farmer and contractor alike.
The better those bales feed out, the better the farmer feels about how well their silage has been been made by the contractor.
William and son Adam, 19, lead a full and part time team of six in providing a comprehensive range of services to farmers, full and part time.
Fitting the Ecosyl Ecocool Ultra Low Volume applicator to their McHale F5500 big baler last year proved popular with progressive customers.
Contractors since 1987, the Lee family are based on a tidy 200-acre dairy farm, so well understand the pressure customers face when it comes to ensuring stock over winter on the best possible silage.
William, Adam and team pretty much do “everything” when it comes to agricultural contracting, including the complete package of silage making using either their John Deere Self Propelled or McHale F5500 big baler.
Slurry spreading with the latest SlurryKat double axle tankers is another growth area.
The Lee Agri Contracts fleet of tractors has, for three generations, been dominated by Massey Ferguson with the latest, a MF7726S, acquired from William Bell Tractors earlier this year.
As Adam noted, especially in Fermanagh when a good gap appears in the weather, time is of the essence.
With up to date, well maintained machinery plus well trained team they can ensile 300 acres in a long day and night of 36 hours.
Equally skilled at reseeding, digger work, hedge cutting and lime spreading plus hiring out drivers, tractors and telehandlers, Lee Agri Contracts is a year round busy operation. But why the nationwide swing to ULV, Ultra Low Volume silage additives? Sam Rooney, sales manager at Ecosyl sole NI distributors John Thompson & Son Ltd, has a practical answer.
“Both farmer and contractor alike save time and money by using ULV additives. Instead of diluting a standard two litre bottle of Ecosyl additive with 100 or 200 litres of water to apply at one or two litres per tonne of silage one needs only two litres of water.
“Simply mix the Ecosyl 100 or Ecocool additive bottle with two litres of water and apply at 20ml a tonne to 100 tonnes using the ULV applicator.
“That is a massive saving in time and effort hauling water to the big round baler or self propelled machine.
“An added, important wee bonus is that with Ultra Low Volume application broken weather does not mean additive lost once mixed.
“Instead, what is left in the applicator can be put back in the bottle and held in a fridge for up to 10 days before use resumes.”
For Richard Moore, ruminant specialist at Thompsons, the real bonus from using Ecosyl 100 or Ecocool additives comes the following winter.
“Be it Ecosyl 100 with a self propelled forage harvester or Ecocool better suited to big balers, the return from using ULV application is seen in livestock performance through good years and bad.
“We cannot control the weather, milk, beef or lamb prices, but we can save a silage that is a sound base for winter diets.
“For many of us in Northern Ireland winter feeding lasts up to six months so best possible silage is critical to milk yield and DLWG.
“An extra £1 plus per bale spent on Ecocool additive has been shown, time and again, to yield a remarkable return for farmers and at research centres.”
Ecocool, the Volac additive recommended for big bale silage, combines two unique bacterial strains in one inoculant, Lactobacillus plantarum strain MTD/1 for improved fermentation and Lactobacillus buchneri strain PJB/1 for improved aerobic stability, giving more better quality silage to feed.
Aside from faster, more efficient fermentation other key additive advantages include:
n More nitrogen preserved as true protein;
n Improved aerobic stability;
n Reduced heating and waste;
n Less risk of mycotoxins; and
n Lower DM losses.
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