What are the Top 10 implements for livestock operations that you should have in your machine shed? The implements that are right for you always depend on the tasks you need to get done. But having said that, here’s a list of the top 10 implements for livestock operations we believe owners should have in their machine sheds to take care of the most common jobs they’ll face.
#1 – Tractor Loader
There’s plenty of loader work to be done around any livestock operation. Bale handling. Manure clean-up and compost piling. Debris cleanup. Not to mention all the other maintenance jobs around any large property.
#2 – Mower Conditioner or Disc Mower
Most operators support their livestock year round with their own hay operation. There are several pieces of equipment that can be used for cutting hay. But when it comes to cutting larger fields typically found in livestock and dairy operations, the two most commonly used tools are a disc mower or a mower conditioner.
A disc mower and other hay cutting tools do an excellent job of cutting the hay. A mower conditioner cuts the hay, then conditions the hay by running it through a conditioning system that cracks or crimps the stalks to promote moisture evaporation and faster drying. The conditioned hay is then pushed out the back of the MoCo forming windrows to a size of your choosing.
Again, choose the piece of equipment that’s right for your operation.
#3 – Baler
Square bales or round bales? Again, your size and type of operation drives the decision here. But for most average size livestock operations, a round baler is typically the most cost effective choice. With equipment properly sized to your operation, one person can usually bale, store, and feed all the hay harvested with a round baler.
#4 – Front Bale Spear
If you’re in the livestock business, then you’re in the livestock feeding business. That means handling and moving round hay bales. And the most fundamental way to do that is with a Front Bale Spear.
#5 – 3-Point Bale Spear
Right on the heels of the bale spear for the front of your tractor is the one for the rear of your tractor. A 3-Point Bale Spear. Chances are when you’re moving hay any significant distance you probably need to move more than one bale. Being able to load up both the front and the rear of your tractor saves time, which saves money.
#6 – Hay Tedder
Depending on your local conditions, a Hay Tedder can be one of your most valuable pieces of equipment. It helps producers in wet or humid areas bale hay faster because it speeds up dry down time and thus improves hay quality. Just like with other equipment, the right tedder for you depends on size of operation, terrain you’ll work in, and budget.
#7 – Hay Rake
If you’re tedding hay, then you’ll also need a Hay Rake to pull the hay back into proper windrows for baling. There are several different types and sizes of hay rakes available in the market. You’ll find links to videos about some of them below.
#8 – Manure Spreader
As we often say, if you’ve got livestock, then you’ve got manure. It builds up in pens and pastures. So you clean it up, pile it up, and let it dry into composted “nutrient gold” you can spread wherever you need fertilizer.
#9 – Sprayer
Out of control weeds reduce pasture quality, which impacts nutrition for your livestock. The most efficient method for weed control in the typical livestock operation is with a Sprayer. Again, size and type of operation will dictate your options.
#10 – Rotary Cutter
Do you have brush, or weeds, or grass that’s gotten a lot taller and rougher than it should be? Or maybe you have a lot of pasture, but the grass has gotten out of control and grown too thick and too tall. A Rotary Cutter is the implement you need for controlling that overgrowth and keeping your pasture and edges clean and managed the way they should be.
There you have it. The top 10 implements for livestock operations you should consider first. Because cutting, drying, raking, and baling hay, handling large round bales, dealing with manure, and controlling weeds are probably near the top of your work list almost every day.
Don’t forget, always read the Operator’s Manual before storing or operating any piece of equipment, and follow all operating and safety instructions.
And remember, if you’re looking for equipment that’s built to get the job done season after season, year after year, you’ll find it – and all kinds of advice on how to use it – every day at your John Deere dealer.