Product Focus: Bonino Cut and Carry grazer wagons

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Distributed in Australia through Colac Ag, the Bonino Cut and Carry range of grazer wagons is helping dairy farmers and feedlotters get the most out of their fodder crops.

Greg Allen says that by using a mower, farmers can get 20–30 per cent more dry matter from a paddock

A new approach to cattle feeding is helping dairy farmers and cattle growers get more out of their fodder crops – a vital move for an industry that is under increasing pressure.

Across Australia, the land used for dairy farming is becoming increasingly expensive, meaning the old methods of expansion – running more cattle and buying the neighbour’s farm to stock them – is slowly becoming a less viable option.

Colac Ag product and sales manager Jon Allan says many dairy farmers are looking to a new approach to leverage more milk from the same number of cows on the same amount of land.

"The key is growing more feed for the cow to produce more milk," he says.

"If you have 600 cows walk through a 12 foot gateway into a fodder paddock, the first 20 per cent of the paddock they won’t get because they are walking through it and compacting it."

To avoid that, Colac Ag imports the Bonino range of Cut and Carry wagons, aka self-loading grazer wagons – that cuts a standing crop in the field, loads it into the wagon, and then feeds it out either into the paddock or in a feedlot

Built in Italy, the Bonino range enables the cattle grower to feed their cows with all the fresh fodder grown in the paddock, with a huge reduction in the amount lost to trampling.

"When you have the cattle out in the field you get a hell of a lot of compaction, which stunts growth of the plant, so by having a clean cut from the mower you actually get a 25 per cent higher dry matter in the field without having the cattle there," Allan says.

"With a machine like this, you go through and cut the entire paddock and you get 20–30 per cent more dry matter tonnage off the same land area."

Cows feeding directly from the paddock can lead to significant losses of fodder from compaction which can be avoided by using a Cut and Carry wagon

Locally, the units have been most popular with feedlot owners, keen to provide livestock with higher quality feed taken directly from the paddock, rather than being mowed and collected by a loader wagon.

"Depending on the crops if you are in wider spacing row spacing, you can get dirt and stone issues when picking back up," Allan says.

"But when the Bonino feeds directly from the mower straight off the ground, you get much cleaner feed and much higher quality feed."

The Bonino range also feeds cut fodder into the wagon bin at about three quarters of the way up the front wall, rather than from the bottom as is the case on a conventional forage wagon.

"With the Bonino working with the front conveyor and lifting the plant matter to the top of the wagon and dropping in, you don’t get the squash and the loss of the nutrients and juices out of the plant itself," Allan says.

Colac Ag has been importing the Bonino range for the past eight years, noting that the Venere 700 and Gionone 900 models are the most popular.

The Venere 700 has a 5m body length and is 2.9m high, with a 28 cubic metre loading capacity, while the Giunone 900 is 6m long, 3.4m high and with a loading capacity of 46 cubic metres.

The two offset axles give a wider footprint, which leads to less ground compaction

"As farming is getting bigger and bigger, the machines have to get bigger to accommodate," Allan says, adding that smaller models are available. 

Able to be towed by tractors from 80-120 horsepower, the wagons are even designed to offset out the side of the tractor towing them – to avoid that compaction – tucking back in behind for easy road transport.

This also carries down to the wagon’s own wheels, with two offset axles giving the wagon a footprint that is wider and compacts less than if the two axles were directly in line.

Allan adds that on the Australian units, the axles and chassis have been made stronger to handle the rougher Australian paddocks.

"Being European built it is made out of good quality steel, but being a family owned business they are very happy to make the modifications for us in Australia," he says.

The Bonino Range is distributed and maintained nationally through the Colac Ag Network.

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