“Spreading straw used to take a couple of hours every other day, now takes a matter of minutes. It used to be time-consuming, hard physical work. In fact, spreading straw for pigs on your own on a hot day wasn’t a job, it was a sentence.
“Another of Spread-a-Bale’s important benefits is that it doesn’t tie up a tractor. The machine takes a matter of seconds to fit it to the telescopic loader, and is self-loading. Furthermore, it doesn’t chop the straw so there isn’t any dust.”
John Leadingham, Turriff, Aberdeenshire: 2,000 pigs
“We looked at a number of machines before choosing the Spread-a-Bale. It’s hydraulic, so there is far less to go wrong.
“It is saving us a lot of time and money. It now takes us about 20 minutes to straw up 11 pens, each of them about 40’ by 45’, whereas manually it took a lot longer.
“Spread-a-Bale doesn’t chop the straw when spreading it, so it makes a better bed for the cattle, as chopped straw tends to turn into a ‘mush’ too quickly. This better utilisation is saving around 30% on straw usage.”
Dave Etherington, Sledmere, Yorkshire: 200 beef cattle
“We are really pleased with our Spread-a-Bale – it’s a good machine. We used to put round bales in the pens with a front end loader and then spread them manually.
“Now we use big square bales and distribute 12 to 14 bales a day. Spreading them is such a quick operation that the time it takes is actually more dependent on how close the bales are stored to the yards.”
David and Chris Andrews, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire: 1,400 beef cattle
“We were looking for a machine to spread straw and Spread-a-Bale is proving to be a good investment. We didn’t like the choppers and blowers; they created too much dust while chopping the straw can lead to eye trouble, and the chopped straw doesn’t last as long when spread in the bed. These choppers and blowers can also fire stones and other objects at speed, which risks injuring animals and damaging the buildings.”
Francis Read, Newmarket, Suffolk: 3,000 beef cattle
"We’d used five different makes of straw chopper including, three from France, but after just two winters each, they’d suffer from reliability issues.
Investing in Spread-a-Bale seemed to make financial and practical sense, and that’s proved the case particularly since it didn’t need a dedicated tractor - we could attach it to the farm’s JCB.
Using approximately 30% less straw than the chopper blower machines has got to be one of Spread-a-Bale’s biggest cost benefits.
Spread-a-Bale doesn’t smash the straw to pieces so dust is minimal, and it doesn’t blow back around the buildings so they’re easier to clean out.
Spread-a-Bale is straight forward for any of our staff to use, its simple to grease and you don’t have to have a mechanical mind to maintain it unlike the chopping machines.
We can rest assured that spreading straw with Spread-a-Bale is a lot safer for the stock – flints get baled up with the straw and they used to get flung far and wide so we were always concerned about the animals’ health and welfare, as well as damage to the buildings. Also during spreading the animals are no longer stressed and they no longer run away from the spreader."
Rob Joules, Bircholt Court, Kent: 1,500 dairy cows
"Spread-a-Bale has brought two significant cost benefits over manual spreading.
It used to take me one hour to spread the straw by hand in wedges amongst the housed herd and ewes; Spread-a-Bale does the job for me in 20 minutes – that’s a massive time saving.
Spread-a-Bale has enabled a 30% saving in straw usage due to the machine’s ability to literally spread long straw – again, that’s a huge cost saving to the farm business, particularly when we’re talking about the inflated 2017 harvest prices – one tonne of straw is now worth more than one tonne of potatoes."
Simon Kemp, farm manager, Hardres Court, Kent - 60 Sussex cattle: 750 breeding ewes
I’ve used a number of straw bedding machines over more years than I care to remember and have always disliked the amount of dust produced during spreading and even less appreciated unblocking them on a regular basis.
We have a number of straw yards with less than ideal designs, and have a high standard of bedding being a university farm which in turn means a significant amount of straw is used annually. The straw bill for 2018 was around £30,000 which is about twice the average spend for this size of farm based on Promar costings.
Using Spread-a-Bale, we have halved our straw useage, which means that the machine will have paid for itself in 12 months. It’s easy to use and rarely blocks, but its rotors and bed can be put in to reverse if its does, and it leaves a fluffy bed for the animals to nest in.
John Cameron, farm manager, Woodpark Farm, The University of Liverpool School of Veterinary Science; 220 cows