Homepage Blog Consistency is the key

Consistency is the key

RELIABILITY and consistency are key when it comes to netwrap choice, insists leading Leicestershire livestock farmer Gareth Owen.

He runs an 1800 ewe enterprise on 300ha Launde Farm with his wife Hannah, just a stone’s throw from Launde Abbey on the east Leicestershire/Rutland border, where quality silage is the goal to cut overall feed costs. Each year 2000 hay, straw and silage bales are produced using the farm’s Welger Master 435. “We used to have a contractor do the baling, but we brought it in-house so we have more control of the timeliness of the operation,” Mr Owen notes.

A grass-only diet is key to producing premium-earning lamb cost-effectively, with “virtually no concentrates”, says Mr Owen. “Our whole ethos is to reduce costs by producing quality forage. So when it comes to buying netwrap, less isn’t necessarily better.”

That point was proven when an alternative netwrap caused major difficulties. “It may have been £20 or £30 a roll cheaper, but it was causing a lot of delay and producing inferior bales too. It’s just a false economy.”

“Tama is our preferred netwrap for producing quality bales but we were reluctantly pushed into using an alternative net by a merchant. The end result was extremely disappointing. Bales were splitting because the netwrap was laddering, leaving netwrap either side of a split down the middle. And when bales were covered, they weren’t covered right to the edge. I’m used to netwrap going to within a few millimetres of the edge, not leaving three or four inches uncovered.”

The farm’s baler uses a 17-knife chopper to cuts forage to about 3inches. “If the outside of the bale isn’t covered properly then grass is falling out in the field, during transport and whilst wrapping in the yard. It’s not a lot per bale, but over a season it adds up. We found we were picking up rotting first cut in the field when we were taking the second cut too, which isn’t what we want.” All the downtime added to costs and further risked quality, he adds: “We spent several hours making just a dozen bales, compared with 30-40 bales an hour normally. It doesn’t take long doing that to see off any £20-30 supposedly saved on the cost of the net.”

They returned to using Tamanet (without any adjustment to the baler) and immediately saw the benefits, including using fewer wraps per bale. “It’s all too easy to blame the baler. I think there’s actually a lot more to the manufacture of good netwrap than people realise. And with Tama Assist, I know there are people like Andy Lanczak I can phone up if I have any questions about the netwrap. So I can get any queries I have sorted out straight away, with a simple phone call. He will even come onto the farm if needed. It gives you even more confidence in the product as the back-up is there to help you if you need it.”

Skip to content