December 2009

December 2009

New website … and a wee project 

Technology moves on and we need to keep up so we have a new website. Go in and have a look at

The original site was very basic in design and function to cater for rural customers on dial-up. 

The new site is more attractive, more interactive and far easier to navigate, view video clips and download brochures and newsletters.

The project 

We will be documenting the history of silage making in New Zealand as a live article that will be added to as and when we get more information. So if you have anything that is relevant or know of someone who has, please let us know. 

Pictures of early silage making and the tools involved would be appreciated - with a date if possible. 

Season’s Greetings 

I would like to reaffirm our commitment to our customers, especially for parts and service support, through these difficult times. 

The experts tell us we are coming out of the recession; the price of milk has increased to a more respectable level but the weather is not being kind to us. 

But our glass is half full, at least. The Krone Agricultural division has finished 5% up on turnover from last year 

which is a truly remarkable result reflecting the focus of that business on product development and quality. Their report noted that Tulloch Farm Machines has either increased or maintained market share in all Krone product groups. We can attribute this to the professionalism of our dealers and our staff who are offering premium quality service for our premium quality equipment. Other product groups, notably Supreme and Einbock, have fared well despite the season. 

I thank all our customers for their loyalty and wish you all a wonderful festive season and a prosperous 2010. 

- John Tulloch


Paul Gee Contractors

Paul Gee at left with Ian Pilcher

THE complete contractor who can do almost any job for his wide range of clients - that’s Paul Gee. 

Gee has been contracting for the last 13 years and has a large range of cultivation and harvesting equipment, and sundry gear to cater for all farmer needs. Ninety percent of his customers are within 30km of his base at Dalbeth Rd, Ngongotaha, 5km north of Rotorua. Paul is chief organiser and his manager and 2IC is Rod McKinley. There are four permanent staff and up to eight part-timers for seasonal work. 

Gee Contracting has six tractors to 220 hp - one on duals with a front-end loader. 

The business has a comprehensive range of equipment to do a complete job from cultivation to hay and silage. In amongst Paul’s range of equipment he has a Krone AM 283S mower and a Krone VP 1500MC baler 

His most recent purchase was a Krone Big X 650 self-propelled harvester. It was bought from Piako Tractors, Rotorua. Dealer principal Ian Pilcher says that while Piako Tractors has sold Krone gear for some years this is the first machine they have sold since being appointed a Big Line Dealer for Tulloch Farm Machines. 

“With its increased capacity and throughput, this machine will replace three of my loader wagons, help with the staffing and, I believe, give an improved product,” said Paul. 

The machine boasts some impressive statistics. Power unit is a Mercedes Benz developing 653hp and with a 960-litre fuel tank enabling longer work periods between refills. The grass head has a camless pickup and remotely retractable guide wheels. 

The Big X 650 has an infinitely variable cut length from 2.5mm to 31mm depending on the drum configuration. 

“The machine is going very well,” says Paul. “It has certainly exceeded my expectations. Output has been a consistent 5ha/hr average with peaks easily of 10ha/hr. The Big X was to replace three loader wagons but in the event only two were traded to allow one wagon for smaller jobs in awkward-to-get-at and steep contour. 

“Having seen what can be achieved with the Big X to date we are now confident that the third wagon is not needed and has not been used to date. A good saving in labour. “The Big X has coped very easily with the very tight work pressure this particularly difficult season has presented. The Big X has managed steep terrain that we did not expect it to manage. It might look big but it is very manoeuvrable and has adequately managed the small raceways and paddocks that were reserved for the backup loader wagon”. 

Paul’s operator Glen Davidson says “… the Big X has so much power; it is a real pleasure to drive and is very comfortable with a nice spacious cab. We do some real rough paddocks and this season has been exceptionally bad because of the persistent rain. The rear guide wheel behind the grass front is a great feature as it has prevented a huge amount of possible damage, helping the front over the contour.” 

Glen says it is easy to get around for routine maintenance and the head is so easy to remove that he does so just to get in and clean around and under the cab each day. 

“The tractor with trailers and the trucks now have no standing time and in spite of the output the fuel consumption average of 50 litres/hr is very impressive” says Glen. 

Article courtesy of Rural News 


Feeding Supplements: Good Investment or Waste of Money? 

by Trish Lewis, Consultant Nutritionist


Trish Lewis - Nutritionist

There seems to be some debate as to whether feeding supplements to dairy cows is profitable. The answer isn’t as simple as yes or no. 

Some farmers have used supplements strategically to maintain good profitability even when the milk payout has been at its lowest, and others are still not getting a good return from using supplements with the improved payout. 

Key factors affecting the profitable use of supplements are the effect of supplementation on pasture utilisation and the feed efficiency of converting supplements to milk. 

Fully utilising pasture - leaving the correct residuals and maintaining pasture quality - are critical to profitable pasture-based dairying. Supplements which substitute for pasture, causing residuals to increase and pasture quality to fall, will not give a good return in the long term. However, where stocking rate has been increased or pasture growth restricted by excessively wet or dry conditions, supplements can help to fill the gap in dry matter (DM) intake and keep cows milking or maintain body condition. 

How efficiently supplements are converted to milk has a big influence on the profitability of supplementation. Dairy NZ gives a range of 3 - 12g milk solids (MS) per megajoule (MJ) energy fed. At the bottom of this range supplementation is not profitable even at a supplement cost of 20 cents/kgDM and a payout of $6/kgMS, but at the top of the range supplementation is profitable even when the supplement costs 40 cents/kgDM and the payout is $4.50/kgMS. 

Achieving good feed efficiency is therefore key to the profitable use of supplements. 

Minimising wastage of supplements (which can range from under 5% to over 30%) is important for good feed efficiency. This is an area where farmers have seen benefits from feed processors and feed-pads or in-shed feeders rather than feeding out in the paddock, even when factoring in the capital costs involved. 

Good rumen health is another important factor and this is where using high-quality feeds and a well balanced diet can help whereas poor feed management leading to rumen acidosis will reduce feed efficiency. 

Mycotoxins can reduce feed efficiency, another reason to pay more for a high quality supplement and avoid using mouldy or contaminated feeds. Stress, infections and metabolic issues all reduce feed efficiency, so well handled, healthy, happy cows will give a better return. 

We can sum up by saying supplements can significantly improve profitability when their use has a positive effect on pasture utilisation and quality, wastage is kept to a minimum and feed efficiency is high through selective feeding of high-quality supplements that enhance the balance of the diet and are efficiently converted into milk. 

Using a feed processor and a feed-pad can help reduce wastage and allow a wide range of supplements to be used for good feed efficiency. 

Mycotoxins can reduce feed efficiency, another reason to pay more for a high quality supplement and avoid using mouldy or contaminated feeds. Stress, infections and metabolic issues all reduce feed efficiency, so well handled, healthy, happy cows will give a better return. 

We can sum up by saying supplements can significantly improve profitability when their use has a positive effect on pasture utilisation and quality, wastage is kept to a minimum and feed efficiency is high through selective feeding of high-quality supplements that enhance the balance of the diet and are efficiently converted into milk. 

Using a feed processor and a feed-pad can help reduce wastage and allow a wide range of supplements to be used for good feed efficiency. 

Supreme 600T Feed Processor. These can help minimise supplement wastage, writes Trish Lewis.


Supreme 600T delivers another load

Nearly 40 South Island operators attend training

Operators listen in - Gore

This season it was the turn of the South Island to host our operator training. 

Conducted in Gore and Christchurch on 25th and 27th August, the sessions saw a total of 38 operators spending a day with us discussing operational issues for balers, mowers, drive lines and slip clutches. 

There was some good interaction on balers and mowers and we all went home having learned some great tips. 

The subject that seems to catch out most people is drive lines and slip clutches. The problems associated with misalignment of drive lines is not fully appreciated because it is a subject that is more technical than we might think. 

Slip clutches are a very important component requiring careful attention. Tractors today are designed to put out more and more PTO horsepower and the pressure is ever greater to get the job done. That is why this key component needs to be kept in tip-top condition. 

If the breakaway mechanism is locked up when you strike an object with your mower, for example, you will write off the mower. The same applies to a jam-up in a baler, mower or any machine; if the slip clutch has seized up, you are going to destroy some other very expensive component. 

If you would like to be included in the 2010 operator training programme, please send an e-mail to or phone 0800 88 55 624 to book.
Into the archives
As with many things we do in life, we take several steps forward then maybe a step or two backward before we go forward again. Digging up the memories from Dave and Graeme Tulloch has been no different.

Dave Tulloch


Graeme Tulloch 

Precision-chop silage was introduced to New Zealand in about 1953 with the import of Allis Chalmers and International Harvester machines, followed by New Holland. 

These harvesters were supplied with a maize header, windrow pick-up header and direct-cut sickle-bar header (which was actually meant for greenfeed). 

These machines were designed for fine-chop wilted silage and therefore had the ability to produce a cut length down to ¼ inch. Unfortunately the relationship between cut length, maturity and wilting was not fully understood in New Zealand at the time and farmers often direct-cut high moisture silage to a length of one inch, contrary to proper silage-making principles. 

The result was very poor silage often forming butyric acid and high amounts of very smelly pollutant runoff around the stacks. The consequence was a not very palatable supplement of low nutritional value.

Harvestore silo

In the late ’50s a number of farmers visited the USA and saw the Harvestore silo system and learned about the whole fine-chop wilted system of making silage. About 10 farmers imported a system, each complete with a Gehl FH83 harvester. 

With their new-found knowledge on the correct wilting of crops, they began to produce good quality silage. Although they produced good grass silage, they were encouraged to grow other crops for silage too, including maize, red clover and lucerne all of which also produced good quality silage. 

These systems were successful but at the end of the day, the cost was out of proportion with returns for the New Zealand dairy industry at the time, so no more were imported.

The first self propelled forage harvester to arrive in New Zealand - Gehl

By 1959 the first self-propelled precision-chop forage harvester was imported into New Zealand by one of these farmers who had a Harvestore silo. The harvester, a Gehl, was still being operated up until May 2009 when it caught fire.

Early silage stack - 1972 - note the gap between the tyres
The stack 

Parallel with the learning curve of harvesting silage was a similar curve with respect to the stack!

Usually a Massey Ferguson 35-sized tractor with a buck rake was used to push the grass onto the stack. The grass was then spread by a couple of men with forks walking around on top of it. The stacks were left totally exposed and the top layer that rotted was regarded as an acceptable loss. 

Then it was decided that a plastic sheet covering the stack may reduce the losses, which of course it did. The sheet was typically covered with dirt to hold it down. 

Some farmers realised the potential hazard of having the dirt contaminate the feed, so they tried lime on the sheet but the wind usually blew it away. In about 1972 the idea of used tyres was introduced. First they were rather sparingly placed over the sheet but gradually it was noted that the more tyres that were placed on the stack, the less the losses. 

The early 1960s saw the introduction of the Gehl 72 direct-cut double-chop harvester. 

It was only in the late ’60s that fine-chop silage really began to catch on - the consistently superior quality resulting from wilting and finer chopping which improved the fermentation process. What’s more, fine-chop wilted silage was now becoming more cost-effective. The system was highly mechanised and bulk-handled, including feeding out with feedout wagons which allowed enterprising farmers to expand their herds.
Krone TM 4270 mower conditioner

1971 was a significant year for Tulloch Farm Machines. The first four-drum mower-conditioner arrived from Krone (TM4/270) which at 2.7 metres wide was nearly double the width of the PZs and Wizzlers.

Gehl CB600 forage harvester

The Gehl CB600 precision-chop harvester, which first arrived here the year before, was a perfect match for the Krone. The conditioned grass wilted more quickly and was left in a good-sized row. It was raked two into one, meaning the forager had a tremendous output and produced good quality silage. 

Silage was now about ⅔   the cost of dry hay. The only problem with the Gehl CB600 was it was a large capacity machine and beyond the reach of most farmers. 

This was resolved in 1976 with the introduction of the JF FC80 forager, a small fine-chop harvester with an amazing output that was well within the budget of the average dairy farmer. 

Obtaining the detail to compile this story has been enlightening and extremely interesting, and while it is our intention to be as accurate as possible, there may well be some anomalies and many gaps. The history of silage is a fascinating one and there is a huge amount of information out there but, as with all events in history, if they are not documented they are lost. 

It would be a shame to lose information relating to a product that was and is a key component to the success of the agricultural sector of this country. So we invite our readers to send in any relevant information and photos if possible related to the development of silage in New Zealand. 

As noted on the front page, we intend to take all of the information gathered so far and place it on our website as a sort of a living story. Information sent in by readers will be scrutinised and added to the story for the whole world to read.

Krone wins Medals at Agritechnica 2009
John Tulloch has recently returned from the Agritechnica exhibition in Germany with some great news again — Krone winning one gold and two silver medals.

A gold medal was awarded for the new CCI-ISOBUS-Terminal, the first universal and easytouse ISOBUS control system available for ISOBUS-compatible machines. This new system is a true milestone in the industry as it allows any required ports with appropriate software and hardware to interface, with the focus on consistent and comprehensive interface between man and machine. Touch screen, soft keys and single-handed operation are the main operational features of this system, which can be utilised seamlessly on multiple machines. All new models from Krone will now be ISOBUS compatible. A silver medal was awarded to the Krone EasyCut Float front-mounted mowerconditioner. The current front-mounted model is the only close-coupled mower-conditioner on the market and has proved a tremendous success in some of the most difficult conditions in New Zealand including areas of Taranaki close to “The Mountain”. Key features are close coupling, fewer moving parts and settings, plus the unique collapsible top link.

The new Krone Float Mower-Conditioner mount incorporates an adaptive float mechanism mounted on the mower headstock making it easier to change from one tractor to another. In addition to the benefits of the existing system, the new Float model is more adaptive to ground contour in all directions and more user-friendly. Again, a very simple yet effective system.

The Krone Big X has also been under the microscope for improved productivity. A silver medal was awarded for the new VariStream system. VariStream is a variable and automatic system that consistently alters the cross-section of the passage through which the crop passes when behind the drum and the accelerator. These two areas are pinch points encountered by the crop that can cause blockages or undue stress on a machine when for example harvesting an uneven row in grass. These two areas have a spring-loaded plate that can open to allow the passage of larger masses of crop without losing traction. Tests have proved that these peak loads are reduced significantly. The benefit is a saving in fuel and reduced stress and wear on the components in these high-pressure areas.
Buying the new Krone machinery has paid off, with much lower running costs than before.



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