Halpin Silage Contracting Business a Claas Act

Pat Halpin and his wife Carmel farm in the Golden Vale near Knocklong in Co. Limerick. They have a spring calving herd of 350 Holstein Friesian cows and supply Dairygold Coop.

Cows are milked in a 32 unit herringbone parlour. When he started in milk production twenty years ago he had 36 cows. Pat now makes 150 acres of pit silage and 2,500 bales each year to feed his own livestock.

Pictured L2R getting ready for the baling silage are David Ryan, D Pack Services Ltd, Knocklong, Co. Limerick suppliers of Baletite & Silotite, Padraig Halpin (Junior), Pat Halpin farmer & Agri contractor with Sean O Connor, General Manager, RPC bpi agriculture Ireland. Photos by Feral O’Gorman.

L2R discussing the benefits of using Baletite film which replaces conventional netwrap are Padraig Halpin (Junior), Pat Halpin farmer & Agri contractor with David Ryan, D Pack Services Ltd, Knocklong, Co. Limerick and Sean O Connor, General Manager, RPC bpi agriculture Ireland.
Photo by Feral O’Gorman.

Silage quality is very important to Pat so it is not surprising that he has his own forage machinery.

So in 2009 he also expanded the family business into silage contracting for local dairy and livestock farmers. He now employs seven men fulltime and has an impressive range of machinery.

He provides a full service which includes mowing, tedding, baling, harvesting, moving silage and stacking bales.

His machinery includes a self -propelled Claas harvester, eight Claas tractors plus a New Holland and a Massey Ferguson.

The forage machinery includes four Claas mowers (two front and rear combinations), a Lely tedder, two McHale Fusion 3 balewrappers (purchased last year), a Keltec ten pack bale handler and two silage trailers.

Pat believes in giving a good service and expects his customers to pay promptly which they do indeed.

He is very thankful to local farmers who have made his contracting business such a success.

Last year he made 17,000 bales of silage and all but 700 bales were wrapped with Baletite which is manufactured by RPC bpi agriculture even though it costs an extra euro per bale over netwrap.

Baletite is an innovative 5 layer pre-orientated film that replaces traditional netwrap in round silage bales.

Specifically created for the next generation of baling machines that can apply film instead of net, such as the McHale Fusion 3 Plus, Baletite has been designed to enhance the ensiling process and protect the bale contents.

Being a film, Baletite provides an additional air barrier whilst helping to retain a better bale shape by exerting a tighter grip around the bale circumference.

Plus it reduces wastage of valuable silage wrap, as, unlike netwrap, no baled fodder can become enmeshed in it.

Its production from the same base material as Silotite balewrap means users don’t have to separate the Baletite from balewrap after use.

Instead, both Baletite and the accompanying balewrap can be recycled together thereby saving valuable time and labour costs.

As a farmer himself Pat knows how important silage quality is for milk production and liveweight gain.

Pat says that using Baletite is more user friendly than netwrap, bales hold their shape better, are easier to move and far less likely to rip during handling.

Silage quality is definitely better says Pat especially for higher dry matter (DM) grass.

“Silage is sweeter and there is no mould so my customers appreciate this and had no problem switching to the new film & film system.”

Excellent trial results have been obtained in Britain by Dr. Dave Davies of Silage Solutions Ltd, who acts as an independent consultant to the Silage Advisory Centres.

Dr. Davies is a well-known forage expert and is a former Senior Research Scientist at the Institute of Grassland & Environmental Research (IGER) at Aberystwyth in Wales.

Indeed an independent trial he conducted on a commercial farm in England demonstrated that Film & Film wrapped bales had:

7.5% less DM losses compared to netwrap bales due to an enhanced fermentation process.

80% less DM losses compared to netwrap bales due to mould formation on the bale.

an overall 52% reduction in DM losses compared to netwrap bales

The reduced losses that resulted through the use of the F&F wrapping system means that the farmer had more forage to feed to his herd.

Balewrapping, like other technologies, is evolving. As netwrap was a step-change in wrapping practices 30 years ago, binding films like Baletite are paving the way to a new era of added value and cost benefits.

Over the last seven years the use a wide polythene film to bind bales before wrapping, has grown significantly.

A short video featuring the Film & Film wrapping system is available to view online at https://youtu.be/KcZ2Xl6tNm8


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