Choosing equipment for your farm relies on what type of farm you have. If you want to farm crops, you will need to look at equipment such as tilling, spreading and baling equipment. If you are interested in farming livestock, you will have to choose feeding equipment for your farm.
The choice you make will be based on the size of your herd, what you plan on feeding your livestock, as well as many other factors. Below is some helpful advice on how to choose the right feeding equipment for your farm.
Identify your needs
One of the first steps you will need to take in choosing any farm equipment is to identify your needs. Are you going to be farming cattle? If so, you will need the proper equipment for cattle. Similarly you will need to use the right equipment for goats, sheep and pigs.
Whatever you choose, you will need to have a feed mixer to provide the right rations of ingredients to your feed. You can choose from either a vertical or horizontal feed mixer. A vertical feed mixer is ideal for smaller farms and can shred and combine all the components of a unifeed ration. And a horizontal feed mixer is ideal for quick and easy shredding of different materials to get a soft and uniform unifeed ration for your livestock to easily consume.
Are you going “free-range”?
Free-range farming is quite different to “commercial” farming. This is because you will allow the animals to roam on your pastures, grazing and eating when they see fit. While this might not sound like an application that needs feeding equipment, you will still need to have equipment for the winter months.
You could opt for a portable hay-feeder, which is a supplementary option for providing hay to cattle or horses in the field. Another option is to choose a round bale feed rack, as these are easy to transport and provide a way to prevent hay wastage. Because free-range allows your livestock to eat when they like, you will not need much equipment but it is always a good idea to be prepared during the colder months when you need hay to supplement the diet.
What animals will you be farming?
The type of feeding equipment you will need will depend on the type of animals you plan on farming. For cows, you should invest in feed cutters and feed mixers, as well as balers so that you can create hay bales for them to eat from.
For pigs, you will need a sturdy trough for them to eat out of. They do not eat hay or grass, as their stomachs cannot handle it and will need access to the correct feed for their needs. Sheep and goats can have a similar set up to cows, and every animal that you farm should have access to fresh, clean drinking water. You will need to create the correct ratio of nutrients, minerals and vitamins in your livestock feed, so look for mixers for sale that will be up to the task of combining your feed.
Will you have young animals on your farm?
If you are going to have calves, lambs, piglets or kids on your farm, you will need to look for the right feeding equipment for them, too. You will need to have feeding stations for them where you have automated feeders, or you could practice biodynamic farming and allow them to graze with their mothers in a free-range setting.
If you will be having young animals on your farm, this will also affect what you feed your livestock. Calves, lambs, piglets and kids all need food that is more nutritionally dense than their mothers’, until they are old enough to graze in the fields. The best food to give young animals is the milk from their mothers, but if this is not a possibility in some cases, then you will need to invest in good quality milk replacement so they receive the same nutrients.
How will you distribute the feed?
This is one of the most important questions to ask. It will be highly difficult to distribute the feed by hand when you need to, so you will need to look for a tool to distribute it. You can look for feed dispensers that allow you to walk along the livestock barn or housing, spreading the feed into the troughs as you go.
Feeding equipment can come with attachments for distribution, allowing you to easily mix, cut and distribute the animal feed. An easy way to remedy the problem of getting the feed to the animals is to adopt a free range farming method, letting your animals graze when they feel hungry.
Choosing feeding equipment for your farm does not have to be difficult. You will need to consider what your needs are, what type of animals you are farming, whether you are going free-range and if you will have young animals on your farm. Once you know the answers to these questions, you will be able to find the perfect equipment to meet your requirements.