2000 - Volume #24, Issue #2, Page #25[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Feed Processor Mixes Hay With Straw On-The-Go
"I had plenty of summer pasture for 400 head of cows and calves, but in the winter I could only handle half that many," says Patterson.
He says he could buy plenty of good alfalfa but it would be too dense in nutrients for his beef cows. He could also buy wheat straw and oat hay but it wouldn't have enough nutrients. If he put out a few bales of both alfalfa and straw, he knew that some of the cows would eat most of the alfalfa and others would get only straw and he'd have problems.
What he wanted was a machine that would process hay and mix it together in the right proportion so cows would have trouble sorting out the higher quality feed from the lower quality.
And he wanted to be able to mix the two types of feed and put them right into the feed bunk so he wouldn't have to store the processed feed. Trouble was, he couldn't find a machine that would do the job at a price he could justify. And so, his E-Z Ration Processor was born. It took him three years to get it right, but Patterson finally put together exactly the machine he wanted.
It's a trailer that holds up to four 4 by 8-ft. bales, two of each kind of feed. There are conveyor belts under each side. The belts move the bales forward into flail cutters that pull hay and straw off the ends of the bales and drop it onto a third conveyor that mixes it up a little and drops it into a bunk or on the ground. The conveyors under the bales run independently of each other and the operator can vary the speed of each to adjust the ration.
Patterson did some ration cost tests that showed he could save about $0.19 per cow per day by mixing a lower quality hay into a higher quality one. For 400 cows, that's a savings of $76 a day. Over a three-to-four-month winter feeding period, that amounts to a reduced feed cost of between $7,000 and $10,000. He says another of his studies suggests a 25 percent reduction in feed use, brought on by the combination of feeding a more balanced ration and feeding in a bunk rather than on the ground.
Patterson has also developed a hopper attachment for the front of the processor that allows grain or pelleted feed to be mixed into the hay as it drops into the feed bunk.
The EZ Ration Processor needs a tractor with 80 hp or so. "It doesn't take that much power to run the processor, but you have to have something that won't be pushed around by the load on the machine," he says.
Patterson applied for and received a patent on it. He contracted with Mohrlang Manufacturing Inc., Brush, Colorado, to produce the machine and formed a corporation to market the machine himself. Selling price is just under $25,000.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, R.C. Patterson, RCMR, Inc., Box 140, Kim, Colorado 81049 (ph 800 242-9599; ph/fax 719 643-5275; Website: www.ezration.com).
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