The Falcon FieldMulcher is a key element in the pasture management regime of large-scale milk producer Burlington Farming, near Cookhouse area in the Eastern Cape. Joe Spencer reports.
Jan Engelbrecht, from dairy and pasture operation Burlington Farming, chose Falcon FieldMulchers because they spread the cut material evenly over the implement’s full working width for quicker regrowth and improved pasture.
Ever since its introduction on Burlington six years ago, the FieldMulcher has proved indispensable for the management of high-producing pastures. In fact, it has been particularly successful in the Eastern Cape and KZN, especially since the introduction of the 2m model in 2005.
The F80/200FM model matches the output of the higher-powered tractors now seen on large dairy operations. Burlington Farming uses four machines to keep ahead of the area grazed daily by 1 900 dairy cows.
Falcon Agricultural Equipment has always been the pioneer in the development of rotary mowers. The Falcon Haymaker has maintained its position as the best-selling hay-mowing machine on the South African market for possibly the last 20 years.
Departure from a classic
Whereas the Haymaker provides enough room for the cut grass to leave the blades without recutting, the FieldMulcher uses a rotary disc and uniquely shaped blades that lift and recycle the cuttings.
The Field Mulcher’s body has baffles to retain the cut material in the mulcher until it is chopped into short lengths. The blade action then spreads this mulched material over the full working width. This leaves a layer of finely cut grass that quickly dries out in the sun and is absorbed into the turf. The regrowth after cutting is spectacular!
Ryegrass and kikuyu
The machine also cuts the uneaten tussocks and pulverises and spreads the cowpats, greatly improving the new grass’s palatability.
Users also report regular cutting with a FieldMulcher helps control weeds, especially in ryegrass and kikuyu pasture.
In addition, many farmers have discovered this implement is very useful in establishing ryegrass at the end of the growing season for kikuyu.
Seed is broadcast before the dead kikuyu is mulched, combining the seed with the residue of the dead grass.
With irrigation, excellent germination is guaranteed, providing a low-cost no-till solution to pasture re-seeding. |fw