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Refining the silage-making process

Farming just over 600 acres to support a cross-bred herd of 280 cows, Clwyd-based dairy farmer Keith Thompson has refined his silage-making processes to maximise yields.

“Our land is very challenging, and has shaped the way we farm,” he says. “During summer our grass yields almost disappear, and is why we block-calve the entire herd in the autumn.”

With 130 acres at Gardden Hall Farm used exclusively for grazing, all other outlying blocks are utilised for round bale silage, plus 130 acres of maize.

“My son Will and I can take full control of the quality of the 8,000 bales we make, while minimising tractor and trailer movements during field clearance,” he says. “We’ll take three or four cuts during the season to get the forage our herd needs.”

New for the 2021 silage season is a DM3095 Kubota plain disc triple mower, replacing a 6m front/rear mower conditioner, to boost capacity. Supplied by Hughes Bros, it joins a Kubota RA2590 Hydro twin rotor 9m rake bought last year, to replace a smaller 7m rake.

“The Hydro rake gives us a superb swath that matches our baler-wrapper,” he says. “We can spread grass off the mowers or leave it in swaths – either way, the rake deals with it, leaving a wide, boxy swath that really suits the baler.”

Keith adds that 2021 has also seen more tractor power arrive at Gardden Hall Farm, in the guise of an M7-173 KVT Premium to replace an M7151 Premium.

He says that the M7151 has been an impressive performer, and has proved its worth.

“The grip it gets is impressive, making full use of engine power,” he says. “And equipped with a loader, it’s proved to be a versatile and great all-rounder. Though we now benefit from having more power from the M7-173.”

Keith’s shift into the orange-liveried Kubota tractors and implements would not have been possible without the backup and support provided by supplying dealer Hughes Bros.

“The service and support we get from Rich Hughes and the team is superb,” he adds. “When the chips are down and we need some action, we get it. Hughes’ understand the importance of timeliness and the impact any breakdown can have on our business.”