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XtraBlatt Issue 02-2021

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  • Krone
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  • Bales
  • Xtrablatt

INTERNATIONAL 1 Wrapped

INTERNATIONAL 1 Wrapped 60-70kg hay bales are in high demand with Katslösa customers. 2 The forage harvest fleet is an all-out Krone fleet, including two big balers. 3 The feed is delivered by the company truck within a radius of 200km. Long distances are covered by a haulier. 1 2 3 4 The success recipe for horse haylage is forage of a guaranteed quality and nutrient level, grown from grass mixes that are blended to customer specifications. baling. Over the years, the two trialled various technical options, always in search of the ergonomic optimum. Today, they produce small bales exclusively for their own customers using a stationary baler. The haylage is transported by a Krone ZX self-loading wagon and emptied into a hopper with rollers that feed the material into the baler. From here, the finished bales are automatically conveyed to a wrapper. Then batches of twelve finished bales are stacked on a pallet by a robot. Each pallet is then marked with an ID tag for full traceability at all times. This tagging is one of the few things that are still done manually in the production chain. But the engineer is already working on an automated solution. Baling, wrapping and stacking happens immediately after the cut and in the season. When the harvest is over, all machines stand idle except the Scania truck that transports the batches to the customers on order. Most stables are located within a 200km radius. Any deliveries further than 600km are contracted out to a haulier. Selling more than 20,000 big bales and 25,000 small bales per year, Katslösa Agro is one of the largest producers and suppliers of haylage in Sweden and holds the uncontested number 1 position as a producer of wrapped 60–70kg haylage bales. The small format is very popular with horse owners. INDIVIDUAL GRASS MIXES The exclusivity of the service is not only attributed to the bale size but above all to the quality of the feed. Morgan Nilsson explains: “We sow grass on land where others normally grow wheat, barley and sugar beet; and therefore we harvest particularly high-quality forage.” Many thought this was a crazy thing to do – especially at the beginning. More than that, the two also sow their own proprietary grass mixes which meet individual customer requirements. About 80% of the mixes are “custom blends”, with timothy or timothy grass making up 50–60% of a mix, because the protein and sugar contents of these grasses are lower than those of ryegrass, which is very important for horses. Then fescue and ryegrass are added to the blend. The varieties vary in terms of ripening and hence also in terms of harvest dates. Customers order their feeds at nutrient levels they consider appropriate for their animals' performance. This option to order roughage of specific protein and energy levels is particularly appealing for owners of sport horses. The average protein content of the feed is 50–60g/kg of DM whereas protein levels in forage for high-performance horses may reach 85g/kg of DM. Lower contents are much appreciated by amateur riders. Morgan aims specifically at meeting the energy requirements of sport and leisure horses. The protein content, for example, is on average much lower than that of cattle feed. “We produce haylage for around 2,500 horses,” says the farmer proudly. Among their customers are such renowned racing stables as Joakim Lövgren or of the show jumper Peder Fredricson. For ten years now, Morgan and Nicklas have been analysing and documenting the nutrient contents of their fields and crops. Initially, they were ridiculed for this, but their success shows that Katslösa Agro discovered a niche that they are serving very well. After all, horse owners are willing to pay for the extra effort that goes into the feed for their horses. Says Morgan: “Today, people understand that high-quality feed benefits the animal’s health and reduces follow-up costs, such vet costs.” After all, our customers get the guarantee that they buy feeds of a consistently high quality – and not just proverbially. The bales are sold with a one-year “producer guarantee”. ANALYSING ALL THE WAY UP TO THE CUT About two weeks before the cut, the grass is examined for its nutrients. Based on the results in the previous years, they then calculate how the various nutrient levels are expected to develop. “Every few days we measure and compare,” says Morgan. Apart from measuring the standard parameters such as dry matter, crude protein, crude fibre content and crude ash, they also measure trace elements. These data are of great interest for owners of competition horses. The last analysis is made on the day the material is baled so they can assure customers get the quality they seek. They make two cuts in a season, cutting the fields in the eastern part of the country two weeks later than the fields in the west, which of course gives them a wider harvest time window. Growing several varieties increases the time window, too. The weather has of course a great influence on the success. A few days of rain – and the perfect date is missed and nutrient levels quickly fall short of targeted levels. This makes it all the more important to have a powerful harvest fleet. Mowing is done with a Krone-Butterfly combination consisting of an EasyCut F 360 CV and an EasyCut B 1000 CV Collect. This combination has proven particularly useful in the high-yielding stands that are cut only twice a year. The cutting height is set to 10cm to avoid contamination. After all, zero contamination is the overriding principle throughout the forage chain and this includes tedding and raking. Therefore, two KWT 11.22s and one KWT 1600 are deployed to keep up with the mower combination. These are followed by three Swadro TC 760s and one Swadro 42. Baling is done with two BiG Pack 890 XC balers. Morgan places great importance on bale density, because this is critical for the preservation quality as it prevents mould formation or undesirable fermentation in air pockets. Last year, the big balers were equipped with a Krone bale accumulator which has boosted bale the collecting chain enormously. “The BaleCollect makes it very easy to collect the bales from the field,” says Morgan. Upon arrival on the farm, the bales are wrapped by three stationary wrappers which finish 200 bales in one hour. The bales are stored immediately after baling and only touched again when removed from the store for delivery to the customer. This is another important detail which helps maintain the stability and quality of the forage. In addition to that, all bales – big or small – are receive 16 layers of film wrap. “Usually, people apply only twelve wraps, but we prefer to play it safe,” explains Morgan. Maximum quality is the overriding tune at Katslösa Agro – and this goes through all stages of the production chain from the field all the way to the customer. Output and capacity of their machines are tailored exactly to their needs. And after they have 4 been measuring, analysing and logging nutrient data for years, Morgan is able to provide detailed information on the nutrient levels of each of his feeds right off the cuff. He knows exactly which bale was wrapped with which film batch and was delivered to which customer. Traceability is enormously important at Katslösa Agro. Having gathered specialist knowledge in haylage production, the entrepreneurs have developed into specialist producers of horse feed and are getting better at this every year. “We want to be perfect in what we do,” concludes Morgan. « 58 59