Chipping alien vegetation for livestock feed
TOMCAT Chippers had a very interesting trip to Namibia recently when we delivered a Model 1100AFE wood chipper to a customer 80km from Tsumeb in the north of the country. We learned that Namibia currently experiences one of the worst droughts since 1970. The price of cattle is extremely low now because there are no natural resources available to them to eat. The rain never came and therefore there is no natural grass for the cattle to feed on. Due to the drought the Swarthaak bush is now growing fiercely and this further overcrowds the lands and leaves now space for the natural grass to grow. We then learned that they have come up with a brilliant solution to this problem and save their cattle from dying and at the same time de-bush their land: they chip the alien vegetation, mix a couple of ingredients and feed this invader bush to their cattle. A win-win situation!
What will you need for this process?
- A TOMCAT hydraulic feed wood chipper
- Some saws/brush-cutters (chainsaws)
- A hammer-mill
- Maize, Molasses, Chop, Treber, Salt, Urea, Sulphur, PEG
What are the steps involved?
- Cut down the branches
- Put them through the chipper
- Spread the wood chips out and leave to dry for 24 hours
- Put the chips through the hammer-mill and use a 8mm screen
- Mix all your ingredients together, mix them thoroughly and then put the mixture in bags (feed-mixer can also be used)
- Take the feed to the feed bowls immediately
What do I need to keep in mind?
- Just give a little of this new feed to your livestock in the beginning and as they start to like it you can increase the amount until in a week or two this will be all they eat.
- Mix just enough together for a one day’s feed.
- When you mix all the ingredients together you need to feed it to your livestock immediately as the Molasses will get a bad taste to it when left for a day and your cattle will not eat it and you waste a lot of food. However, when you pelletize the mixture it will allow you to stockpile the feed.
- The total amount of wood included in the mix is between 40% and 80%.
- Whenever Sekelbos is used you should never include more than 5% of it in your total mix.
- Yellowwood and Swarthaak are amongst the favourite wood types used.
- Don’t use branches of more than 50mm in diameter for feed as most nutrients are stored in the smaller branches/leaves.
- A hydraulic-feed wood chipper with a very large in-feed opening is necessary to feed this thorny/vine-like material into the chipper. It is also safer to use a hydraulic-feed chipper instead of a gravity-feed one when feeding thorny material into the chipper.
- Hydraulic feed chippers gets the job done faster, with less effort/hassle and with safety in mind.
This new method has been used by a couple of our existing customers for a few years now so it has been tried and tested. Feel free to contact our sales department with any questions regarding this process. This method might just save your cattle from the drought this year so why not give it a try? Enquire about it today!