Keenan, the market leader of feeding solutions in Ireland, have been in touch with a checklist of precautions farmers should take to achieve optimal machine performance during the winter feeding season.
The Borris-based feed specialists report that one of the most common issues experienced at this time of the year is overloading leading to unnecessary strain being put on both the machine and the tractor.
Another key factor influencing machine performance is the condition of its blades and paddle rubbers.
Overloading and neglect of these components will have big consequences on the quality of mix being produced by the machine.
This will result in an inconsistency in the forage chop length, which will adversely affect the animal's response to the ration.
All of this will have a negative impact on both herd health and animal performance.
James Dowling, service and operations manager at Keenan explained; "More and more, we are hearing back from farmers who have upgraded to a larger Keenan in order to feed more cows per load. Benefits of a bigger machine also include greater tumbling space allowing for a fluffier and more even mix.
"Every year we see issues such as worn-out shafts and broken chains that occur as a direct result of overloading," said Mr Dowling.
Another important aspect to consider is the condition of the machines blades and paddle rubbers.
Dulled or broken blades, and worn paddles rubbers reduce the chopping capability and increase the time required to produce a suitable mix.
The Keenan is designed to provide an even and consistent chop length. But it can only do this when all blades and paddle rubbers are optimal."
Mr Dowling suggests the following check list for all farmers to consider during the winter feeding months:
• Keep the chains oiled and bearings greased;
• Make sure that the top knives/body blades/paddle rubbers are all in peak working order;
• Make sure that your weigh-box is working properly;
• For bale handler models make sure that the rubber buffers are all in place on the machine and in good working order;
• Check the bale handler tines for collar and bolt wear, and make sure that the tine bushes are in good condition;
• For tandem axle models make sure that the tandem sprung axle pivots are greased on a regular basis;
• Finally, don't overload the machine as this will not give you the optimum mix required.