Farmers will have the opportunity to see a double-auger Strautmann Verti-Mix SF 2002 (20m³) self-propelled diet feeder in action at one of three Opico-organised demonstration days next month. The first event will be held at Cannington College near Bridgwater in Somerset on 22 February, and the second at Harper Adams University near Newport in Shropshire on 22 March. A third demonstration day is planned for Scotland in early May, and details will be confirmed nearer the time.

Each event will kick off at 10am, and include presentations on the workings of the self-propelled machines, and independent nutritionist Hefin Richards will demonstrate how silage quality varies across a clamp face and leads to variability in ration quality – an issue which we are informed is prevented by a self-propelled diet feeder’s mode of collection.

The purchase price of a self-propelled diet feeder can be a major deterrent, but Opico provides a different option in the form of a contract hire package, with service back-up. This essentially fixes the cost of mixing feed for the duration of the hire term, after which the company takes back the used machine, and some real farm costings will be shown.

“While some farm situations are more suited to a self-propelled feeder than others, the benefit is not necessarily just seen by the very largest farms,” says Opico managing director James Woolway. “Our financial model shows that herd sizes from 250 cows upwards can justify a machine.”

Single auger Verti-Mix SF machines include the 1102 (11m³), 1302 (13m³) and 1502 (15m³) models. There are also three twin auger machines – 1402 (m³), 1702 (17m³) and 20m³ 2002.