Agricultural contractor, farmer and equine enthusiast Jim Crothers has developed a market for high quality forage for horses, sheep and cattle.
With three different types of baler - large and small square plus round - he produces haylage for horses and quality silage for customers feeding sheep or cattle. This past winter the haylage had a typical analysis of DM 42.2 and Protein 9.2 with a D value of 68.6 and ME 11.
Jim and his father, also Jim, come from a long line of those Co Down farmers around Banbridge with a passion for breeding, training and riding horses.
“Our main enterprises are contracting and growing cereals with grass as a break crop after six years, but we also buy in store cattle to finish using our own big bale silage fed in straw bedded accommodation,” Jim explained.
“However, sheep and above all horses are the real connoisseurs when it comes to winter feed so we have build up a reputation for supplying consistently high quality baled silage and haylage.
“We never could see the point of hauling tonnes of water about and always give our grass the time and the turns to wilt. This boosts eating quality and cuts the number of bales wrapped and handled.
“Bales for cattle and sheep get six layers of Volac wrap with eight for haylage and all are made using Ecosyl DA Ecobale additive supplied by Thompsons.
“Last year we made 3,000 bales at home for our own stock and for sale mainly to horse and sheep owners. As contractors to the country we also wrapped another 5,000 bales.
“Baled silage well made using Ecosyl Ecobale additive has a high feeding value, virtually no waste and minimal effluent.
“With our own beef cattle keeping it simple succeeds. Using home grown straw for bedding means there is no hassle with slurry handling and feeding big square bales saves time otherwise spent graiping silage forward to cattle.
“Above all using the right additive with the right wilting and wrapping techniques in the field produces silage that keeps stock moving cost effectively.
“We tried other additives, but Ecosyl Ecobale from Volac really is the nation’s favourite for very good reason. It gives us consistently good silage and haylage yet is easy to apply,” Jim Crothers added.
Ecosyl Ecobale from Volac combines two unique bacteria with a safe, non-corrosive approved preservative to ensure fast, efficient fermentation and improved aerobic stability.
For details browse www.volac.com
Developed and produced by Volac in Wales the Ecosyl range of additives for pit, big bale and wholecrop silages is distributed in NI only by John Thompson & Son Ltd, tel; (028) 9035 1321.