Wisconsin Dairy Farmer on Hanson Silo’s Easy Rake: Animal Health

Animal health is a critical aspect of farming and ranching and something that must be carefully monitored. Wisconsin dairy farmer Brian Anderson of Deer Creek Farms in Ashland, Wisconsin saw a huge improvement in milk production, related to improving animal health thanks to Hanson Silo’s Easy Rake.

“One of my dealers brought a demo out to Brian last summer. Brian noticed he gained more pounds of milk per cow within a week after replacing his rotary facer with the Easy Rake. What’s more outstanding, is he did it during the triple-digit heat of July when cows are normally under more stress and give less milk,” said Mike Hanson, Director of Business Development at Hanson Silo Company.

Farmers take precautions to get their hay crop cut and stored just right. Preserving particle length in silage is the key and a proven factor in raising bottom line profits. Use of Easy Rake results in better particle length, less shrinkage, reduces spoilage, seals out oxygen, breaks up large chunks, gives better quality feed, and saves feed. The rotary facer grinds it up into a less productive smaller particle length that is less digestible for cattle. Forages are the most important ingredient in a dairy cow’s ration. Effective fiber is the longer fiber particles required by the rumen to create the rumen mat essential for proper rumen fermentation and nutrient digestion to occur.

“The most common forage problem we see is forages that are chopped too finely at harvest. Chopping forages finely aids packing in the silo and the resulting fermentation may be excellent. However, it may not be good for the cow. Many of the nutritional stresses caused by a lack of effective fiber are rations that start with forage that was chopped at the proper TLC. However, due to a variety of human, mechanical, or cow problems associated with the mixing and/or feeding of a TMR, the effective fiber in the ration has been drastically reduced,” noted Jonathan Townsend, D.V.M. from the School of Veterinary Medicine at Purdue University.

Anderson agrees with Townsend, attributing his gain in milk production to better feed quality.

“I do believe it’s gentler on the feed. We’re not sizing the course particles down anymore — it keeps the length of the silage more like it is when we chop it. My milk production has gone way up since getting the rake a year and a half ago,” said Anderson. “Feed normally goes through cows too fast, so by keeping longer feed in your rations, I do think I’m getting a couple more pounds of milk out of each cow each day. I can’t complain, the Easy Rake at a cost of about $10,500 probably paid for itself in three to six months.”

If you do the math on a herd of 500, a couple of pounds increase per cow per day can add up to about $30,000 more income per year.

For more information about Easy Rake, visit our website, or contact us to learn how Easy Rake can benefit your farm or ranch. Also, be sure to follow this series for other great benefits Hanson Silo’s Easy Rake provides.