If you would like to submit a testimonial please e-mail us with your details, attaching a photo of you and your Teagle machine. All testimonials used receive a gift. Please submit testimonials to
To help selection filter using the following:
"Best Barn has the Best Equipment in Loudoun County, Virginia."
Nestled in the hills of Loudoun County, Virginia some 54 miles from the Nation’s capital reside Wendy and Don Denman. The farm is home to the “Best Barn” in Loudoun County according to Michael Gast their local veterinarian and it seems fitting that the owner also invested in the best machine to bed the barn a Teagle 8500.
Don and Wendy are farming 300 acres’ total which is divided into 40 to corn, 10 to millet and the remaining acreage to a variety of haylage and hay. The 60x105ft “Best Barn” is home to 150 Angus Hereford cross cattle which are fattened up to 500lbs and then sold at auction at nearby Winchester Auction Mart.
Producing 350 4x5 net wrapped round bales annually for this operation the Denman’s focus on using marginal hay for bedding and the remaining for feeding.
Don researched many bale processor manufacturers and opted for the Teagle 8500 due to the ease of the wide body when loading, capacity, along with the ability to simply control and direct the discharge head. Wendy viewed the purchased as a unit that focused on safety, labor and efficiency. What was taking the Denman’s most of the day to bed is now done in less than an hour she says.
The Denman's are impressed with the “feet on the ground” controlled rear tailgate switch without having the need to jump up in the cab to raise the tailgate or forward the bed chain. Wendy is impressed the fact of the PTO shaft stand - stating it helps them quickly attach the 8500 to either their John Deere or New Holland tractors and has the added benefit of keeping the PTO shaft off the ground.
The cattle immediately take to the bedding presentation and frolic happily whilst the pens are been replenished says Wendy. They have also trench lined hay in the pasture as a supplementary feed and or bedding making this a very flexible machine.
To the future a new vision, the herd will increase plus one they say, with the addition of a Jersey cow for their use, but after all is that not how it all starts?
Wendy & Don Denman, - Loudoun County, Virginia, USA
"Perfection in Straw Pelleting"
AGROPO s.r.o., Zvoncin run a farm of around 1300 hectares and have a dedicated line for manufacturing pellets from straw, of which there is an abundance in the area, which are sold for horse bedding and for burning in boilers.
In 2012 Zvoncin were searching for a reliable solution to chop 0.9m x 1.2m x 2.4m rectangular bales of straw to a consistent length of around 10mm for a straw pelleting plant. Having tried other systems without success, Marian Stasny of Teagle distributor Merkanta suggested an electric drive Tomahawk 404M.
The Tomahawk now works for 16 hours a day at an output of 1000kg / hr, although the Tomahawk is limited to around 60% capacity by the size of the dust extraction cyclone and the pelleting press. This output equates to around 70 bales a day, or an impressive 35,000 bales over the two year life of the Tomahawk.
Pictured: Marian Stasny, of Slovakian Teagle Distributor Merkanta with the Teagle Tomahawk 404M processing straw for pellets.
Marian Stasny, - Slovakia
"Mill offers consistency to reduce sorting in TMR ration."
Agrocoop Imeľ a.s. have a farm with around 800 high performing cows.
Great care is taken over the preparation of the feed commodities, with a focus on particle consistency to ensure that cows do not sort their ration.
Whilst a vertical auger mixer wagon was being used to process straw, Agrocoop were not achieving the consistent short chop length they wanted in the chopped straw in the ration, and it was taking too long to process the mix.
Feed specialist Marian Stasny of Teagle distributor Merkanta suggested an electric drive Tomahawk 505 Mill, fitted with a 28mm screen and blades.
Fitted with an electric feed conveyor the machine can easily chop a bale to around 25-30mm in around 10 minutes, with up to 8 bales being processed each day. The machine is located outside under a lean-to roof, operating quietly and efficiently, blowing chopped straw on demand directly into the feed commodity bunker.
The electric drive has proven to be an economical choice, with running costs reduced by around 50% compared to a tractor powered model.
Agrocoop, - Slovakia
"Special Applications require Special Solutions for Organic Pig Farmer"
The Stenager Økogris farm is located in the south west region of Denmark, close to Esbjerg. The farm’s principle activity is managing a herd of around 600 sows, finishing over 12,000 pigs a year. The pigs are living on 40 Ha land. To support this over 175 hectares of cereals are grown on the farm.
A key feature of the farm is it’s organic status which sees all pigs kept outside from farrowing to finishing.
To ensure that the pigs are comfortable, and consequently perform as well as possible, the use of straw bedding is critical.
In 2007 the farm invested in a second hand Teagle Tomahawk 5080 from 1996, with capacity for two round bales or one Hesston bale. This machine ran on the farm for around 8 years before Ribers, the local Teagle distributor in Denmark were approached by Nicolaj Pedersen to develop a machine with capacity for more bales; the aim being to reduce the amount of time spent reloading the machine in the field.
The result was a bespoke design manufactured by Ribers, incorporating a Teagle Tomahawk 5050 straw bedder. The machine now has a conveyor feed table with capacity for up to 3 full size Hesston bales.
The operator Henrik says, "it is a fantastic machine, absolutely fantastic. We have substantially reduced the time to bed down the pigs. In addition, the savings in time and improvement in the beds for the pigs enabled us to apply for a European grant under a scheme for 'technological solutions for labour reduction'"
Henrik adds – “there is a strategy to laying the bed to get the most out of the straw and provide comfort. We have both rye and barley straw available to us and find that the rye straw does not absorb moisture so quickly. We ensure that the bed does not get wet from beneath during winter by first laying a mat of rye straw, which we then top with a comfortable layer of barley straw.”
Nicolaj wanted to be able to save as much time as possible, so all hydraulic functions are controlled from the tractor cab, such as: Drum rotation direction and speed, chute direction and choice of chute, conveyor belt speed and direction.
The Tomahawk 5050 is fitted with a swivel giraffe chute and a special hydr. operated low level pig chute. The Rimach FT500 is supplied with big flotation tyres to be able to go in the field in all conditions.
Nicolaj Pedersen, - Esbjerg, Denmark
"Broiler bedding – “A keen eye for Welfare delivers Productivity and Quality”"
Oliver Hoddinott is a specialist broiler grower located close to Wells in Somerset. Mr Hoddinott took over the unit around 7 years ago, with capacity to around 1.5m chickens/yr. in 2014. The farm produces birds under contract, with chicks delivered at 1 day old, and shipped out at 40 days. Oliver adds “revenue depends enormously on quality, with a high productivity being essential. Because the chicks and the feed are delivered to us to a standard specification, bedding is one of the influential factors that I control that enables me to optimise margins on the farm”.
“Over a number of years various bedding systems including white wood shavings, recycled material and straw have been evaluated. The welfare of the birds is carefully monitored, with the outcome from each system being weighed against cost and availability of each bedding product”.
Oliver currently uses a Tomahawk 404 Mill fitted with a 21mm sieve to process rape straw – it is important to use a mill fitted with hammers as this exposes the fibres to make the straw more absorbent. Oliver has also trialled wheat straw, but this tended to ‘cap’, significantly reducing the quality of the bed.
This system has been in place for around 30 months, and with a reliable local supplier of high quality rape straw Oliver says “the whole system has worked well for us”. The investment in the tractor, straw mill and grab for the Telehandler will see a pay-back period of around 3 years. “I like to keep everything under my control, and in this system I produce the bedding material myself, where and when I need it”. For example, Oliver often beds up the broiler houses at night using the Tomahawk to reduce the risk of contamination of the bedding by Starlings.
Biosecurity is clearly very important to Oliver and reflects the attention to detail that his flock receives from start to finish. To this end the Tomahawk has been retrofitted with a tank that can apply an anti-bacterial agent to the straw as it is discharged into the broiler sheds.
Oliver Hoddinott, - Wells, Somerset
"The long and short of pig bedding - Variable chop length with custom delivery system"
Simon Watchorn farms over 1000 acres near Bungay in Suffolk, rearing around 320 pigs/week, or 16,000 pigs each year, from over 600 breeding sows.
All pigs are outdoor reared, with sows in the farrowing arcs for around 6 weeks, followed by weaning in sow service pens.
Until recently all straw bedding was undertaken by hand on the farm. In the farrowing arcs, slices from rectangular bales of straw were teased apart by hand and the sows left to spread the straw to create a farrowing bed.
Simon felt that there was room for improvement in the quality of the straw bedding that was being provided to the pigs in all housing areas, in particular the farrowing arcs in order to better the welfare of the sows and piglets at this critical time.
Although the bedding operation was labour intensive the goal was to improve husbandry, rather than reduce inputs of labour or straw.
Simon’s objective was to find a machine that could bed up farrowing arcs with shorter straw, bed up weaning arcs and dry sow arcs with longer straw, as well as being able to bed up weaners pens outside with un-chopped straw.
Simon adds “The reason behind chopping straw for the farrowing arcs was that farrowing beds need to be dry in winter and chopped straw gives me that”. In addition, “providing a loose bed of chopped straw allows sows to more easily create a comfortable bed, ensuring piglets retain warmth for improved live weight gain”. Simon also aimed to reduce piglet mortality which occasionally resulted from piglets lying underneath the sow due to an uneven straw bed”.
Straw length was critical, “the machine had to be able to chop straw short for farrowing arcs – but not so short that the bed ‘caps’ and forms a dense mat”.
Simon had some clear requirements for a bedding machine; it must be mounted on the tractor to provide manoeuvrability around the huts, as well as access to muddy fields during wet months. Straw must also be delivered evenly across the whole area in the farrowing arcs, with all corners being filled.
Simon had a demonstration of a Teagle Tomahawk 7150 ‘Dual Chop’ which was able to process the straw as required, with the chop length being easily adjustable from the tractor cab. However, the machine was not able to deliver the straw cleanly into the farrowing huts.
Simon and Teagle Sales Manager David Threadgold developed a delivery chute fitted with a large diameter tube that could be used by a second operator outside the tractor to deliver short straw directly into the farrowing arcs. To deliver long straw to outdoor pens the directional swivelling chute is simply lifted clear of the special delivery tube using the electronic control box in the tractor cab.
To improve the operator control over the feed rate of large rectangular bales the machine was fitted with a tailgate extension which allowed half a bale to sit outside the chopping chamber.
Three months in, how does Simon feel the machine has contributed to the operation? “The machines does exactly what it was bought for, with the adjustable chop length system giving us good control over the chop length for each of the bedding systems we use”.
Simon Watchon, - nr. Bungay, Suffolk
"We have healthier cows and a higher yield"
Agricultural Cooperative Vsestary (ZD Vsestary) belongs to one of the largest agricultural companies in the Czech Republic, with a cultivated area of around 2200 ha, and a herd of around 550 cows which are primarily Holstein, bred with Brown Swiss stock. The farms in the cooperative are well located with cultivated land close to the rich historical area of Hradec Kralove. This ensures the operation is in touch with local nature and history, whilst remaining close to city life.
ZD Vsestary was established in the year 1992, based on a transformation project with a large number of members. An important milestone in the evolution of AC Vsestary involved external funding by Dutch company Vsestary Holland B.V. in 1998. AC Vsestary focuses on production of sugar beet, wheat, malt barley, rape, soya and feed crops such as corn or grass. A significant income is also generated through onion growing. Regarding livestock on the farm, the focus is clearly on the dairy herd which is producing an average of 10,400 litres/yr.
In 2013 the farm purchased a Teagle Tomahawk 8150 Dual Chop through local dealer Vittaltech. Martijn Veening, the herd manager says, “We choose for a dual chop from teagle because of the flexibility and quality. We use it to chop straw for addition to the TMR wagon, and fill the bedding of the cows. The chopping system is able to cut the straw consistently short, better than the competition. Because of this we have healthier cows and a higher yield. We selected a Dual chop because of the diversity of use, filling bedding, and chop straw for feeding.”
So how has the Tomahawk fitted into the operation at ZD Vsestary? Martin adds, “We are happy with the machine because it is robust, and we have a good cooperation with the Teagle dealer so we know we have excellent service backup nearby.”
Martijn Veening, Herd Manager - Czech Republic
"The Dual Chop is faster and chops the straw shorter and more consistently than using the mixer wagon."
In January 2014 Philip McCartney was selected as the lucky winner of the use for 12 months of a Special Edition Tomahawk 8150 Dual Chop, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Teagle manufacturing the Tomahawk range of Feeder Bedders.
The Tomahawk Dual Chop is able to either chop straw short or spread it long, controlled at the touch of a button from a control desk located in the tractor cab.
6 months later we caught up with Philip to find out how he is getting on with the machine.
Philip farms 300 acres of high ground just North East of Newry, Northern Ireland, overlooking scenic Co. Down.
In partnership with his father on the 4th generation family farm he runs a herd of 100 limousin cross suckler cows,175 beef cattle and 150 - 200 ewes with 60 acres set aside to cereals.
Stock is housed in sheds for around 6 to 7 months of the year on concrete slats, standard practise in the area, and fed a ration containing clamp silage, crimped grain and straw using a paddle mixer wagon.
So how has Philip made use of the machine?
Straw is normally quite expensive so bedding with straw is unusual in the area, as most housing is all slat based. However straw is used for bedding in sheep housing, calving pens and creep areas. Philip has been experimenting with using a layer of chopped straw in the creep areas every few days, as he finds any straw carried into the slat area passes through the slats with ease which the dual chop can produce with the blades in the short chop position
Philip adds around ten 4’ round bales of straw to the suckler diet each week. This straw has traditionally been chopped in the mixer wagon, however Philip says ‘this takes a long time to chop up the bale and can over process the other materials in the mixer’. The Dual Chop, again in short chop mode, has been used to chop 5 bales, 2 times a week which is faster and chops the straw shorter and more consistently than using the wagon.
Philip will resume using the machine when the livestock returns to the sheds in Autumn.
Philip McCartney, - Northern Ireland
"Using one of our handlers for bedding provides us with flexibility"
James Johns farms a herd of 260 high performance Holsteins, as well as 180 acres of maize and 100 acres of cereals with his father Andrew, close to Newquay in England.
After years of bedding livestock by hand, when James saw the Telehawk in September 2013 he 'pounced on it'.
"We have been able to reduce straw wastage by only putting as much straw in the pens as is required, and the straw that is delivered by the Telehawk is evenly spread which creates a bed that lasts longer - we have reduced the number of bales we use by around 25%-30%. Whilst we do save time compared to bedding by hand, the machine is paying for itself in straw savings alone."
"The Telehawk can be hitched up in a matter of seconds, it is manoeuvrable around buildings and because the machine is in front of the handler, visibility is good.
"We are making the most of our investment in our new handler, and we did not need to buy a second tractor so there was less capital outlay."
James Johns, - Newquay, Cornwall
"The power of the new Tomahawk 1010 is impressive"
Beckhithe Farms is a family business and a major player in the UK beef producers scene, ‘farming around 3000 Angus cattle on 1700 hectares on the Norfolk Broads for a major retailer, via dedicated processor Dovecote Park.’
Gary Gray, Farm Manager, says ‘farming in this location can be a challenge, working in some of the most environmentally sensitive marshland in the Broads to finish cattle at the optimum grades required by our buyer’.
The system adopted by Beckhithe to meet the requirements of both the local environment and the cattle includes housing the Angus cattle, known for easy calving and well suited to the low fertility marshland, in a series of 51 open yards bedded with straw. These yards are full from September to April each year with considerable effort taken to ensure costings are managed. This is not surprising when some of the numbers are considered. Over 80 tons of food are fed daily from a clamp that holds more than 8000 tons of maize and grass silage. More than 10,000 full size Hesston bales of barley, wheat and rape straw are needed to bed down the 51 yards during the winter months. This is essential to meet the high standard of husbandry that Beckhithe set themselves, which is recognised in their membership of the Farm Assured Beef and Lamb Scheme.
To maintain a clean and comfortable bed, which is a priority in the outdoor yards, they are bedded every day, a job that takes around 3.5 hours with the bedder being continuously fed with bales. Beckhithe work with partner Teagle Machinery for bedding equipment, now running their 4th Tomahawk, having recently upgraded from the Tomahawk 9090 series to the flagship Tomahawk 1010. Before running Tomahawks Gary says, ‘we were running straw spreaders, but moving across to a dedicated bedder we found that we made substantial cost savings, with a reduction of around 30% in straw usage. Straw is like gold dust in the area because we are competing with power stations.’ And regarding labour savings? ‘We simply could not do without the Tomahawk.’
Operator Gary Noakes points out, “the power of the fan on the new Tomahawk 1010 is impressive, with the swivel chute enabling us to place straw where it is needed. The Build Quality is strong and I am pleased with the Hardox lining of the fan, which I think that will prolong the life of the machine considerably. I am also impressed with the way Teagle work with us, their parts service is second to none’.
Gary Gray, Farm Manager - Norfolk Broads
"When we buy kit we want something that will last"
Alistar Hodnett farms 255 acres in partnership with his father Michael on the outskirts of Dundee.
Last year over 24,000 tonnes of straw were procured and retailed, with over 6000 acres of straw from and around farms in Angus, Fife and Perthshire areas purchased and baled. Furthermore 80 acres of haylage and 80 acres of hay are baled off the farm and sold all over Scotland.
Attention to detail in producing a quality product is paramount when supplying to such a large customer base and Alistar uses a Super-ted 221, to ted and condition his straw (following a 40' header) and grass crops, "achieving fantastic work rates at a forward speed of around 10mph".
We are delighted with the performance and reliability of our Super-ted.
We use a Super-ted prior to baling as this lifts the crop off the ground, to not only aid drying, but the crop is more easily picked up by the balers, thus reducing mechanical damage to the baler pick up and allowing the balers to travel faster over the field.
We have other types of rake but they tend to knock the stubble flat and do not allow the straw bout to sit up on the stubble, and therefore allow drying from underneath as well. The machine is also very gentle on the crop and produces an even lump free swath which has not been shattered or broken down after being tedded several times.
Alistar Hodnett, - Balmydown Farm, Dundee
"Providing an Environment with Choice."
Norfolk Free Range is owned by Steve Heart and comprises pig units across Norfolk, all certified by Freedom Foods and the CMI Red Tractor.
In total the units accommodate a 45,000 strong finishing herd, in addition to the breeding herd, from which around 2,200 pigs are sold to a Waitrose contract every week.
Norfolk Free Range are one of a few farms that finish free range pigs outside in tented hurdles, from the age of 4 weeks, and John Clark, Production Manager for 14 finishing units, is well aware of the benefits of providing the animals an environment which offers choice for them to be inside, outside, eating, drinking or sleeping.
Experience has shown that in these conditions the best returns in live weight gain and feed conversion from the animals are realised. Whilst the tented hurdles offer this choice, it also brings a specific challenge in keeping the pigs clean and comfortable when half of their running area is outside. With recent wet winters fresh in mind, along with straw becoming an increasingly expensive commodity due to the local demand from renewable power stations, owner Steve Hart started looking to mechanise the bedding operation to make it more efficient.
Reasons for choosing a Teagle Tomahawk:
The requirements of a straw spreader were clear, reduce straw usage, provide a deep bed to improve comfort, spread straw evenly around the entire bedded area, and accurately place straw so that it does not contaminate the drinkers.
Local dealer B W Mack (Machinery) Ltd. were keen to get involved in the project and delivered a demonstration Teagle Tomahawk to the farm to ensure that all of the requirements could be met. With their experience in the sector, Teagle offered a machine with a side chute – ideal for achieving the maximum blow distance, whilst offering a low delivery height suitable for the tent doorways.
Following the demonstration Steve ordered 4 machines, two mounted Tomahawk 7100s to offer greater manoeuvrability, and two trailed wide body Tomahawk 8500s, fitted with oversize wheels to overcome the soft ground in winter. All machines were delivered with tailgate extensions to make loading full size Hesston bales easier.
So 12 months after their arrival, how are the machines performing?
John Clark is keen on the approach of being able to deliver exactly the amount of straw that is required using a ‘Little and Often’ approach to provide a comfortable bed, typically achieving ‘an improvement in bedded temperature of around two degrees’. For the smaller pigs which enter the tents at around 4 weeks this is essential, and you can see them climbing ‘into’ the bed of straw. John notes that ‘whilst a similar amount of labour is required, the straw savings are substantial as a typical unit is using between 20 to 40 Hesston bales each week, depending upon the weather conditions’. And from the driver’s point of view; operator Sam at the Lexam unit says ‘You can’t beat it’.
Steve Heart, - Norfolk
"Precision process to Farrowing Success"
Precision process to Farrowing Success
Paul Whyand operates a breeding herd of 1100 sows and has an eye for detail when it comes to ensuring that the conditions he provides for his herd will provide the best performance.
Sows in the ‘closed herd’ are housed in outdoor arcs bedded with straw, with an adjacent free roaming area. They are moved to the huts 1 week prior to farrowing, and remain there for 4 weeks after farrowing. This environment sets Paul in good stead for the ‘Red Tractor’ accreditation that he carries, and is required by processing group BQP who sell Pauls pigs into the Waitrose supply chain.
Paul’s aim is to be as green as possible, both environmentally, and in providing a rearing area with grass to fulfil one of the pigs natural tendencies to spend time grazing. In addition this offers good management of soil erosion.
In January 2012 sows on the unit were achieving 22.3 piglets/yr. Through a number of initiatives to improve animal comfort, such as insulation of the huts, Paul was able to improve this way above industry average to 25.0 piglets/yr. The next area of focus was to reduce piglet mortality due to smothering by the sow. Paul decided to investigate use of short straw, he says ‘it is not about straw or labour savings, it is all about the pigs welfare.’
By finely milling straw using a Teagle Tomahawk 505XLM supplied through Suffolk Agri-Centre Paul found that the sow arriving in the arc is quickly able to create a soft carpet, much more suited to farrowing. He says ‘there are tremendous benefits in bedding farrowing huts with short straw’. Through a combination of husbandry and fertility practises sows are now achieving 27.7 piglets/yr, with ‘the biggest improvement being by farrowing in short straw’. ‘We are seeing an improvement of around 2 piglets/sow/yr through this activity.’
Paul loads 2 x Quadrant bales to the Tomahawk 505XLM straw mill, ‘loading is no problem’. The optional Hydraulic Top Link fitted to the machine for hitching/unhitching and loading bales ‘transforms the job’. In operation the machine is run at 1000rpm with ‘control of hydraulics from the tractor cab being the key to the best output’. To make the operation more efficient Teagle designed a custom made chute with a hydraulic ram that lowers into position to deliver the straw directly into the pig arc which Paul says ‘works very well’.
Paul runs 360 arcs, 180 of which are moved every 3 weeks. Turnaround takes place over 4 days so the operation must be slick and Paul is able to bed down each arc in around 2 minutes to achieve this. A substantial benefit over bedding arcs with long straw is that that the arc does not need to be topped up with fresh straw as the initial bed normally lasts the full 5 weeks of occupancy.
Paul also believes that there is potential for using short straw in dry sow areas as sows tend to get contentment and “gut fill” from eating the milled straw.
And is Paul happy with the machine? ‘The Tomahawk makes the turnaround easier – without the machine we would be completely lost’
Paul Whyand, -
"A straw bed tailored for growing Ducks – “comfort, convenience, and substantial straw savings"."
Ian McAuley is Farm Manager for CS Buchanan Ltd, based in Witnesham, Suffolk. On site are 4 duck houses, producing for Waitrose through Gressingham Foods.
Ian has a keen eye for the welfare of the ducks that he rears so, in addition to the duck houses being to the latest ‘Gressingham’ specification, Ian ensures that the straw bed provided for the ducks provides the best in comfort. On their last visit, inspectors for the Duck Assurance Scheme were very pleased with the bedding conditions.
Ian says, ‘every duck farm has a mechanical straw bedder as it offers labour and straw savings, however, most of these machines simply spread long straw which would not provide a suitable bed for young ducklings.’ He adds ‘smaller ducks are happier on shorter straw as it is easier for them to walk over, improving mobility. Ideally the bed should be like a carpet when they arrive at one day old. As the ducks grow they stay cleaner on longer straw, because muck falls down through the lattice the straw creates. The bed must be laid to meet the needs of the ducks’
Like many other farms, Ian had been purchasing pre-chopped ‘Maxi’ bales to start the bed, which were relatively expensive, and then spreading long straw with a mechanical bedder. To reduce costs and improve convenience Ian started looking for an alternative solution.
Ian spoke with local agricultural dealer Brad Farm Machinery Ltd. and found that the Tomahawk ‘Dual Chop’ Straw Bedder, manufactured by Teagle Machinery Ltd. in Cornwall, has the feature of varying chop length from around 2” to simply spreading straw without any chopping at all by simply pressing a button on the machine’s electronic control box in the tractor cab.
Ian had machine on demonstration and found that by setting the chopping system to the shortest length he could quickly prepare the duck beds, with the swivel chute enabling him to place straw in all corners of the shed. Because the Tomahawk is mounted on the tractor, reversing into the shed is straightforward, and with the chute able to deliver straw to either side of the machine it is only necessary to drive through the shed once.
The ease of changing the chop length means that at each rotation Ian can quickly lay a bed of short straw prior to arrival of the ducklings. After 1 week the ducks are bedded with short straw every day to keep the bed comfortable, and after 3 weeks the straw is gradually lengthened.
Having used a conventional mechanical bedder for many years, Ian has been impressed with the results from the Tomahawk ‘Dual Chop’ as he is able to provide “the same high level of comfort for the ducks, at far greater convenience, and with substantial straw savings”.
Ian has reduced his straw usage by 30%, around 875 full size Hesston bales, by moving from a conventional straw blower to a Tomahawk ‘Dual Chop’ and no longer has the hassle of purchasing pre-processed maxi-bales. Although Ian runs a number of straw for muck agreements, he is saving 1/3 of the cost of baling and hauling the straw.
The main saving in straw is achieved in the way the Tomahawk Dual Chop tears apart the bale. Because of the high speed at which the crossbeater rotates, and the use of a large number of hook rippers rather than blades, to pull apart the bale, the straw is well fluffed up rather than chopped to pieces. This system also delivers a very even flow rate which makes it easier for an operator to create an even bed.
And on the machine Ian says ‘it has been good working with Teagle to get the most from the Dual Chop system. Maintenance is easy, with well thought out access around the machine, and build quality is excellent.’
Ian McAuley, Farm Manager - Witnesham, Suffolk
"Mr Wray and his family have made a success of this business and the Tomahawk has played its part."
Charlie and Barbara Wray, Wayside Farm (www.wayside-farm.co.uk), farm right beside the M25 motorway close to Kings Langley in Hertfordshire. This 127 acres urban farm has been pieced together over many years as farms have been amalgamated mainly through the construction of major roads adjacent to the land. Land is at a premium and resources have to be managed prudently to ensure a profitable business.
The herd consists of around 75 milking cows, calving all year round, and 75 followers. It is a commercial herd with a long pedigree and with a herd average of 6,000 litres. All the animals are loose housed on straw (replenished daily and cleaned out on a monthly basis for hygiene reasons) which is purchased from nearby farms and stored under cover, animal health is good with low cell counts (150,000 – 160,000 average) and Bactoscan readings always below 20 to produce the high butterfat (5.7%) and protein (4%) quality milk demanded by today’s market.
Wayside Farm has recently purchased its 4th Tomahawk over a 15-18 year period. The new T8500SC with greedy boards recently replaced a four-year old T9090 (the third machine of this model). The Tomahawk has always been used for bedding all the cattle, loose housing removes the difficult burden of handling slurry. The decision to move towards a T8500SC was taken because of the ability of the machine to spread straw much further than the T9090 and get into the corners often found in traditional UK farm buildings.
Feeding is also a key activity for the Tomahawk at Wayside Farm. It can start during the summer as the milking cows often need to receive a supplement when grass growth slows down or burns up with the heat!! Silage is harvested on the farm and baled for convenience and storage. Maize is the key crop to profitable milk production on the farm, grown on the farm, harvested by a contractor and clamped for winter forage. Young stock are also fed straw with the Tomahawk.
Mr Wray is a strong advocate of feeding with a Tomahawk. This practice ensures the machine is fully utilised, reliability is key. But the prime reason for feeding with the Tomahawk is its impact on feed conversion and its flexibility to reduce waste. Mr Wray maintains that grass silage is fed as required both along the front of a barrier and a ring feeder. Only what is required from a bale is used and a single bale can be used in multiple groups due to ease of transportation. There is no waste with secondary fermentation with silage deteriorating when not eaten. None is left behind!
A number of cows are fed through feed trailers or ring feeders and there is no silage wasted by large clumps being drawn through the barrier as the cows take their portion. Tomahawk is very effective at breaking down the bale and “fluffing it up” to produce a more palatable forage and much easier for the animal to digest, as a result intakes are up. This applies to grass forage feed to animals on a daily basis (often with protein pellets manually applied to each load) and maize silage which is delivered separately to the grass silage. Mr Wray comments that his Jersey cows are adept at picking out the “good stuff” and maize is always preferred to grass!
When weather permits, and grass is in abundance a quantity of hay is also produced for winter feed and Mr Wray feeds this through his Tomahawk for the same reasons as above. Higher intake (more output) and less waste, so the precious forage goes further!
Like many businesses, Wayside Farms’ success is dependent on proactive management in producing a quality product for resale using home grown forage on limited acreage. Mr Wray and his family have made a success of this business and Tomahawk has played its part.
Mr Wray, - Kings Langley, Hertfordshire
"Straw consumption fell from 22 to just 9 bales a week in winter thanks to the shredding and spreading action of the Tomahawk."
Streamlining husbandry and using 100 acres less straw.
Jeff Gibson, who runs a diverse livestock and farm shop enterprise with his father Mike and brother Andrew at Wingham near Canterbury, is enthusiastic about the Tomahawk 1010s contribution to the business since it was purchased in 2012. It is a versatile machine because as well as feeding we use it for strawing the cattle yard and our outdoor pig arcs as well.”
To maximise returns, ration control and straw use are significant factors in helping keep costs in check – and the Tomahawk feeder-bedder is helping in both respects. Adding a weighing system to a machine which dispenses both feed and bedding helps manage both.
The yards used to be strawed by driving in with a tractor and loader and shaking straw off the grab; now it is blown in from outside the yard and is an altogether more efficient process. “In winter, we were using 22 bales a week, now we’re down to nine, and of course, there will be less dung to dig out and spread when we clear the yards.”
When feeding - “we need to accurately balance the maize and grass, and to put out the correct amount to minimise wastage. I half fill the machine with clamped maize using a shear grab, then take bites out of silage bales and add them on top,” explains Mr Gibson. “The shredding drums do a pretty good job of chopping and mixing – and although they may not mix as thoroughly as a diet feeder, the machine does produce a nice open feed that the cattle tuck into.”
Geff Gibson, - Wingham, Canterbury
"Over the last 8 years I have only changed a shear sprocket and 2 sets of blades. This works out at around £0.12 of wearing parts usage per bale. "
Maurice and Russell Retallick own a 500 acre sheep and beef farm which perches between 300ft and 1500 ft on Dartmoor; as well as running a Hay and Straw Haulage business which serves Dartmoor and Devon farmers with feed and bedding from farms along the M4 corridor.
Although the Retallicks had previously owned a bedder from another manufacturer, when they consider the reasons for buying the 8080 8 years ago “it was nice that the product is made locally, but ultimately it came down to the performance of the machine and the fact that it was well priced. In addition it came with a side chute option which works well with the building layouts.’
The 8080 is used every day from October to June and fitted to a John Deere 2650 which comfortably handles the Tomahawk.
The haulage business shifts around 6000 tonnes of straw each year, from which around 600 of the most difficult bales, which would not resell for as much, are reserved for use on the farm.
Maurice and Russell are happy to do this, safe in the knowledge that the Tomahawk will handle these bales, in fact they find that “Using the Tomahawk, the savings on lower quality straw are greater than savings on straw that is in good condition compared to bedding by hand.”
Russell also notes; “Because of the abundance of straw, the main benefit of the Tomahawk is the time saved when bedding down the beef stock. In addition, the safety aspect is important as we do not have to go in the pen with the big finishing cattle.”
When it comes to spreading muck “the difference between the dung from a straw bed laid with a Tomahawk compared to one laid by hand is noticeable as the Tomahawk spreads the straw which takes up muck more evenly.”
Although the machine is only used for bedding, Russell has been impressed with the reliability and low running costs. “Over the last 8 years I have only changed a shear sprocket to the crossbeater and 2 sets of blades”.
This works out at around £0.12 of wearing parts usage per bale.
And the Retallicks’ experience of dealing with Teagle. ‘We would definitely consider buying another one. If we need spare parts it is just one phone call to our local dealer and the parts come in the next day.'
Maurice and Russell Retallick, - Dartmoor
"Since 2006 the Spiromix has mixed well over 17,657ft³ of concrete (3,500 bags of cement) with zero faults."
In 2006 Teagle Machinery had an enquiry from Christian Missions, Zambia about a Spiromix to help build a Hydro-Electric Scheme.
Between the building of the Zengamina Hydro and the many other school, health centres and building projects in the North Western Province on which the 200H has been used, we conservatively estimate that since 2006 this mixer has mixed well over 17,657ft³ of concrete and mortar mix on multiple projects and there have been zero faults with the Spiromix. That 17,657ft³ calculates to 3,500 bags of cement!! The hydro supplies power to Kalene Mission Hospital which figured some years ago in a National Geographic Magazine where they said it was at the ‘cutting edge’ delivering health care into Zambia, Angola and DRC.
All schools within a 20 mile radius are now connected to the Zengamina Power Grid. We still have much to do in that people keep applying to join the power grid and overhead cables must be led to where power is needed. It is encouraging to see the growth of small local industries which have been birthed because power is available.
Christian Missions, - Zambia
"I would have another Tomahawk Dual Chop definitely."
Gordon Ross runs a mixed farm in the West Midlands with around 340 Dairy and Beef cattle. In 2009 Gordon was looking for a machine for bedding both cubicles and loose housed pens with straw grown on the farm. Gordon looked at various machines but found that ‘the Tomahawk Dual Chop was the only machine that could do both jobs, chopping short straw for cubicles and spreading long straw for loose housing’.
Dual Chop makes Bedding pens and cubicles easy
Gordon processes around 1500 round bales/yr., and finds that ‘it is so easy to bed down that both pens and cubicles are bedded every day, using a principle of little and often to keep the cattle cleaner’. Even with this regime straw is saved because the straw is spread evenly across the beds, and if a complete bale is not needed it is left in the machine ready for the next day.
… and it is also used for Feeding
In addition ‘the machine can be used to process straw for feeding because the chop length can be varied to suit the ration by partially engaging the blades’.
Would Mr Ross look at an alternative Feeder Bedder in the future?
‘No – I would have another Tomahawk Dual Chop, definitely.’
Gordon Ross, - West Midlands
"Andrew has seen savings of 25% to 30% in straw and around 1 hour per day in labour since moving away from manual bedding."
Andrew Thomas and his family run a mixed farm of around 230 acres just outside Mabe in South West Cornwall; their focus being a high yielding herd of around 130 Holsteins, typically producing over 10,000 litres, and a similar number of young stock.
Delivering nd extra 500 litres per cow.
Andrew has worked various housing systems for the herd and has found that he is able to optimise the yield per cow by improving cow comfort through over wintering the herd in straw yards rather than cubicles. Maintenance of these yards requires a ‘little and often’ bedding regime that sees cattle bedded twice a day, every day of the week. Andrew aims to ‘provide a bed that is as close to a field as possible’.
With this system Andrew finds that he does not have the same frequency of lameness he has experienced with cows housed on concrete, with the incidence of mastitis being managed at a low level through the frequent application of fresh straw. Andrew calculates that these benefits offer a return of around an additional 500 litres per cow.
Saving Labour - and 25% in Straw
To maintain this regime, which requires around 900 round bales of straw a year to be spread, a mechanical bedder is an essential part of daily life. Andrew has seen savings of around 25% to 30% in straw and around 1 hour per day in labour since moving away from manual bedding.
Difficult bales? - No problem.
Whilst the best straw is reserved for the milking cows, the last couple of seasons have seen some difficult bales which is where his Teagle Tomahawk 808 mounted Feeder Bedder enters the story. The 808 is Andrew’s third Feeder Bedder and was selected following demonstrations of the most popular machines on the market for its blow distance, the ability to deal with difficult bales and the simple layout of the electronic control box. Andrew selected a mounted machine due to its manoeuvrability which suits the layout of the farm well, with various buildings to work around.
The Tomahawk 808, which sits on a John Deere 6430, has also been used as a backup for the mixer wagon on the farm. With muck is cleaned out monthly, Andrew notes that it's ‘totally different’ to a bed prepared by hand. ‘Half of the work has already been done for you as the straw is well mixed in with the muck’.
Easy transition to the New Tomahawk 7100.
Would Andrew have another one? He has just upgraded to the New Tomahawk 7100. Having tried the new machine, Andrew’s son Will, who drives the bedder, noted the smoother flow from the chute, faster processing time and several updates that will improve servicing.
Andrew Thomas, - Mabe, South West Cornwall
"We save both labour and straw, we do not need to enter the pens, and having a one man system makes weekend bedding and feeding much easier."
Turneys Farming is responsible for around 3500 pedigree Holstein/Fresian cows, working in partnership with farms in Northamptonshire, Buckinghamshire, Dorset and the Isle of White. Greens Norton Park Farm in Northamptonshire is owned by Roger Allibone and provides ‘bed and breakfast’ for around 500 of Turneys’ Heifer replacements.
Roger upgraded a 4 year old Tomahawk 8080 to a Tomahawk 1010, provided by Turneys, in January 2012. Turneys Farm Manager Giles Benson says that it was ‘a natural progression from the Tomahawk 8080 to the larger capacity Tomahawk 1010’. With three other farms working in partnership with Turneys also running Tomahawk 8080s no other brands of feeder/bedder needed to be considered.
For Roger Allibone, who uses around 1750 large Hesston bales/yr. for both bedding and ad lib feeding of straw with concentrates, the attraction of high capacity for 2 x large Hesston bales in one load, as well as twin crossbeaters for greater output was clear. ‘We save both labour and straw, we do not need to enter the pens which reduces the stress on the livestock, and having a one man system makes weekend bedding and feeding much easier’. And Giles Benson’s thoughts on the machine are to the point, ‘It does what we want it to do, and it is British built’.
Roger Allibone, Owner - Northamptonshire
"I like the simplicity of the 2 chain slat design as there is less to go wrong."
Adrian Steele runs Chapel Farm, a 440 ha (1,090 acre) organic unit near Pershore in Worcestershire. Environmental stewardship is core to the management of the farm, which since 1985 has run both Organic Entry and Higher level Stewardship schemes.
Correct maintenance of the nutrients in the farm’s clover leys is essential, and is achieved largely through the straw that is grown being sold for growing mushrooms. Once the mushrooms have been cropped, the substrate is returned to the farm and mixed with farmyard manure. It is at this point that the Titan 10 Spreader enters the story.
Adrian considered various makes of muck spreader and selected the Titan “based on it’s weight, robustness and ease of maintenance, and because the machine is manufactured in Cornwall, the proximity of support was also an advantage – should a problem occur, speed of response is paramount”.
Adrian “was also impressed by the cutting and shredding action of the beaters, as well as the consistent ground cover behind the spreader.” Dan Martin the driver says “I like the simplicity of the 2 chain slat design as there is less to go wrong. For spreading compost we fitted the additional kit of compost paddles, which also work well in standard Farmyard Manure.”
Dan Martin, Driver - Pershore, Worcestershire