Eric Battani, Scottsboro, Ala.: “I’ve been using the Farm Tech Canada Mini Silage Bagger for about a year, and I love it (www.farmtechcanada.com; ph 204-823-3641). I operate Daisy Blossom Farm, a small farm with 22 dairy goats. I sell their milk locally.
“Big dairies can put up silage in big bags or silos but that’s not feasible for farms like mine. The Bagger lets me ferment and store grass and other crops the same way large farms do.
“When harvesting grass, I use a regular Deere riding lawnmower with a power flow bagger. I cut the grass and let it wilt for a few hours before dumping it into the Bagger. The 7-bushel hopper is enough to fill a 40 to 60-lb. bag. I spray it with about a gallon of water with two to three cups of molasses to help the bacteria grow.
“I use a mix of clover and fescue for the grass. Last year, I broadcast field corn on about two acres in late summer after tilling the ground. I let it get about waist high before cutting it and running it through a wood chipper and then the bagger. I did the same with sunflowers, cutting them when the heads were about 3 to 4-in. across.
“I feed it to calves and rabbits I raise for meat, and the goats love it. I’m getting more milk over the winter. Normally, I see a drop in production because they don’t like drinking cold water. With the silage, they are getting more moisture.
“The nannies have gotten fatter through the winter where they used to lose weight or at best maintain it. After feeding silage, I can hardly tell they’ve dropped their babies.
“I store the bags on a pallet for winter feeding. I’ve even been able to reuse silage bags.
“I used to spend $700 to $800 each winter on hay, and I expect it will be three times that this next winter. It is getting harder to find hay around me, as fields get sold off for subdivisions and farmers have trouble finding help. This way I can harvest enough feed for the winter on small plots on my own time, and it’s more nutritious than dry hay. At $3,900, the Mini Silage Bagger will pay for itself pretty quickly.”