REVIEW: Keenan Mech Fibre 370 mixer wagon

By: Mark Fouhy

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Keenan Mech Fibre 370 2413 The Keenan Mech Fibre 370 mixer wagon. Keenan Mech Fibre 370 2413

MARK FOUHY heads to a milking goat farm in Rotorangi, New Zealand to test a new Keenan Mech Fibre 370 mixer wagon.

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As goats tend to be 100 times fussier about their food compared with dairy cows, a goat farm seemed to be the obvious place to test the quality of the mix produced by the Keenan Mech Fibre 370 mixer wagon.

It just so happened that Keenan NZ was holding an open day at Alistair Kirkby’s dairy goat farm at Rotorangi in New Zealand’s Waikato region, so we headed across to give the 370 a workout.

 

Machine overview

Having owned an older model Keenan, Kirkby says he was aware of the benefits of the green machines.

However, his new Mech Fibre 370 surpassed all his expectations, with some great results in the first 12 months.

Features such as a new pace monitor and the INTouch centre, plus the fine tuning of the diet/nutritional advice, have all contributed to these results, he adds.

In basic numbers, Kirkby is on track to finish the season about 25 percent ahead of last year, which most farmers would be pretty happy with.

Keenan Mech Fibre 370 _2408
The Keenan mixer wagons are capable of mixing and feeding most feed types

If you take an even closer look at the details, the results are even more impressive given this year he has a younger herd which produces less milk and, because of a quota system within the dairy co-op, he is milking a lot less goats compared to last year – about 1600 last year and 1070 this year.

With fewer numbers, they’ve also managed to save on feed and milking labour – all big cost savings for any farm.

Keenan boasts that those who buy one of their machines can often pay it off within the first 12 months of ownership provided they are using the Keenan system, which efficiently converts feed inputs into saleable product.

 

Operation

The operation of these mixer wagons is pretty straightforward. The PTO is 540 with the tractor revving around 17-1800rpm (pretty low), which is good for fuel consumption.

The straight drive keeps the overall horsepower requirement down, with no gearboxes to go through taking extra power to drive.

Three double-acting hydraulic hoses are required: the first for the lid on top; the second for feed arm; and the third for the door to allow mixing into the feed auger.

The Keenan guys talk about the mix being like making a cake. I tend to think of it more like mixing concrete, but pretty much the same concept – adding too much of one component can upset the end result.

The Pace monitor keeps track of revolutions to avoid under- or over-mixing, and minimises variations in the mixes between different operators.

I really like the idea of the magnets on the feedout arm to catch any steel shrapnel, which prevents animals ingesting it – a simple but very effective solution. 

The way this machine is set up means the feed is dispersed to the left – the opposite to the controls in the tractor, but not a big issue as the machine is still very easy to operate.

The hydraulic feed arm allows you to feed close to the machine or further away into a feed bin or along a fence line – a very handy feature that prevents operators having to drive close to any objects which could cause damage.     

Keenan Mech Fibre 370 _2415
Goat or cow meals on wheels

 

Servicing

If you own a grease gun, you can complete daily and/or weekly servicing yourself. Keenan machines have no gear box oils to check or change.

A direct drive from the tractor PTO drives the chain-driven six paddle cutting mixer and the feed auger, which runs the length of the machine to give a pretty good clean-out of total feed mix.

The pace monitor not only counts the mixer’s revolutions, but lets you know when it is due for a service.

The fact that there haven’t been a lot of changes to the Keenan machine is testament to its design and reliability, and the reason why it is worthwhile refurbishing them.   

 

Mixing

The Keenan mixer wagons are capable of mixing and feeding most feed types, including fodder beet, which has been a more recent addition in terms of feeds available to farmers.

With the six-paddle and knife system, the Keenan wagons can effectively cut the large beet bulbs for easier digestion.

To get the best out of the machine, Keenan recommends diets with some straw or hay for adding in rumen function, which I believe is one of the keys to achieving feed conversion efficiencies. Aside from that, you can feed pretty much whatever you like.

Keenan Mech Fibre 370_1722
The magnets on the feed arm catch potentially lethal steel shrapnel

The pace connect monitor stores the mixes for each herd of animals, with amounts able to be varied if mob size changes through an app on your smartphone (when used with the full pace connect system).

To ensure correct mixing, a sensor is fitted to the drive for the mixer to count revolutions which count down on the monitor.

For tractors fitted with an electronic PTO, an auto-stop is fitted to stop the PTO at this point. This is to provide consistency of mix/feeding on a daily basis.

All feed has some cost attached to it, so using the right amounts of each is important to avoid wastage and over- or underfeeding different components of the diet.  

 

Verdict

Mixer wagons are not going to be the right machine for every farm.

For those looking to maximise the utilisation of feed inputs, Keenan can supply you with the right-sized machine to fit your requirements and ensure you achieve your desired gains.

There are pluses and minuses when it comes to putting all your eggs in one basket, but with the right product – such as the Keenan Mech Fibre 370 mixer wagon – you can become a specialist rather than a jack of all trades.

Hits:

  • Straightforward, well-built machine
  • Low horsepower requirement, saving dollars on diesel every day
  • Magnets on feed tray to prevent foreign metal objects landing in the mix

Misses:

  • The feed arm is on the left, but a right-hand option is available

 

Basic Specifications

Keenan Mech Fibre 370

Height: 3.2m

Width:  2.8m

HP Requirement : 110Hp (min)

Load capacity: 130 Dairy cows, 200 Finishing cattle

Keenan Mech Fibre 370 detailed specifications >>

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