Hugh Carpenter and his father, Joe, manage an agri contracting and baled silage harvesting business, Carpenter Agri, from their farm at Old Leighlin on the Carlow/Kilkenny border.
Their customers are 50/50 dairy and beef-suckler farmers, and they make around 20,000 bales of hay, silage and straw each year.
Carpenter Agri mows grass and tedds silage for customers if required.
Their farm machinery fleet includes three Valtra tractors, a New Holland and a John Deere, two McHale Fusion 3 Plus integrated baler wrappers, a Kverneland tedder, two Kverneland mowers, a Claas rake and a Kverneland rake.
Other machinery includes a Bredal 10t lime spreader and three slurry tankers (Two Conor Engineering and one Hi Spec).
The Carpenters are also dairy farmers with a herd of 130 British Friesian cows and supply milk to Tirlán Co-op.
On their enterprise, they keep an Angus and a Hereford bull, and their dairy-cross-beef calves are sold to local beef farmers while they rear circa 30 replacement heifers.
As farmers themselves, they are well aware of the quality of silage required for optimum milk production and liveweight gain.
Film & Film System
They offer customers making baled silage a choice between using net wrap and the new Film & Film System, which uses Baletite net replacement film.
The Film & Film system is an innovative dual-wrapping method which combines the use of SilotitePro1800 bale wrap and Baletite net wrap replacement film.
This results in better-shaped, denser and more compact bales, which can better withstand handling, according to the firm.
Hugh charges his customers “slightly more per bale” depending on operating conditions for using the Film & Film system.
Hugh says: “This is great value for customers because of improved silage quality, and the Film & Film system also gives a better seal on the bales and is easier to feed out.”
According to Hugh, “Bales have a sweeter smell, and you have no mouldy silage with high dry matter”.
“Bales are also easier to feed out and have a longer storage life.”
Hugh already has two new customers this year for the Film & Film system due to positive feedback from other customers last season.
One of Carpenter Agri’s long-term customers is Peter Brophy, who has two dairy herds (a Holstein Friesian & a cross-bred herd) near Clara and Paulstown in Co. Kilkenny.
The average yield on the farm of Peter and Jane Brophy is a very respectable 550 kgs of milk solids, or about 30% above the national average.
They make around 180-acres of first-cut silage and 80-acres of second-cut.
Silage is mainly baled, and they bale and wrap around 1200 bales each year.
This is his sixth year Peter Brophy has been using the Film & Film baled silage system and is the first customer of Carpenter Agri to do so.
Peter prefers baled rather than clamped silage and says he does not incur the cost of building silage pits.
He says, “There is a much lower storage loses with baled silage than with clamp silage, and cows prefer the longer chopped grass.”
“In addition, I do not have to feed out the silage as often to cows as baled silage does not go off as quickly when fed out as clamp silage does.”
As regards the Film and Film system, he says there is “improved fermentation and silage has a sweeter smell and is easier to feed out”.
“Netwrap does not have to be separated from the bale wrap, nor does it get enmeshed with silage as happens with net wrap.”
“In addition, there is no mouldy silage, and bales have a much longer storage life.”
Moving 600 bales per day
Using four bale trailers, Peter Brophy can move up to 600 bales per day to the storage site for stacking two-high as is now required under the Good Agricultural Practice for Protection of Waters Regulations 2022.
According to Larry Coogan, sales manager for Quinns of Baltinglass, most beef and sheep farmers are now making baled silage.
The Baletite & SilotitePro1800 was supplied by Quinns of Baltinglass, innovators of crop packaging and forage preservation who stock all leading agri brands.
He says that “quite a few” have switched from clamp silage to bales as there are “very little losses in storage compared to pit silage”, and many also believe that baled silage is of better quality.
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