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Zero Grazing

  • 28-11-2021 8:17pm
    Registered Users Posts: 23,889 ✭✭✭✭ Reggie.

    Well you wonderful sexy lot.

    Question I have is I'm looking for info on zero grazing. Looking for the whole aspect of it really. I know the basics as in you gather grass for cows and bring it back to the yard.

    I'm thinking of providing it as a service in the area as there's no one at it or even nearby.

    Looking for info like, when is done? Time of year it's mostly done? What service you as farmers would require? That kinda info or any hidden pitfalls anyone has noticed about it. Just to help me make up my mind on the subject.



  • Registered Users Posts: 4,482 ✭✭✭ Grueller

    I get a contractor to do a bit of it here Reggie. He charges €60 a load for a load that will feed 80 cows for a day. It is a draw of only about half a mile to a mile but is up a busy road so I can't walk cows there.

    I use him in the spring and the autumn a nice bit but during peak growing season I can get away without using it too much and actually bale it. I will use it more from this summer on as I am going up a line of cows.

    The contractor does tell me that he is always busy in the shoulders but slack enough from April late September. 100hp is able to handle the 80 cow model easily, but my ground is dead level, free draining, barley type land.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,690 ✭✭✭ paddysdream

    Three dairy farmers at it near me .Would be all be 150/200 cow men .Drawing grass 2 or 3 miles and in one case about 8 miles .Not too well up on trailer size but using 6cyl 150 hp plus tractors in front of them .One is drawing from an outfarm while the other two its from rented ground .Looks to be a time consuming process esp. if a second load or more is required in the day .Thing is all 3 have sons drawing the grass while daddy is milking /herding etc .Think a one man band would be under serious time pressure if zero grazing on a regular basis .

    One of them was mowing , baling and drawing home bales of fresh grass every few days before he took the plunge to buy the zero grazer

    They look to be at it April to October/November .

    There is one contractor at it here abouts as well .Heard its somewhere in the region of the load rate mentioned above but no idea if its regular work he gets or only called on from time to time .Presume price is very dependent on draw length .

    Would imagine its diesel hungry work if a lot of roadwork involved .Plus none of the machines I saw look too sturdy and the trade in value on one would be an issue I feel .

  • Registered Users Posts: 23,889 ✭✭✭✭ Reggie.

    There was one fella that I know that was at it. Big operator and he quit after 2 years. He complained about having a tractor and man tied up everyday at it. I think he was doing around 15 loads a day and once the machine was worn out after the 2 years he never replaced it.

    Now it could have been it got no love and was abused too much but as you said there's not much in the machines to hold them together.

    If I was to go at it I'd be buying second hand to test the water and that would bring its own dangers as the cost of new ones are serious

    Think €60 is the run of the costs per load alright with addional with a long draw.

    Would suit me if it was mainly at the shoulders of the year. More lads turning to dairy here every year and most farms are very fragmented as they were beef or sheep farms previously.

    Just wondering why no one has taken on the job around here but it could just be a time constraint for most lads with slurry and hedgecutting

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,377 ✭✭✭✭ wrangler

    My tenant had one for a couple months and sent it back, he couldn't tolerate the breakdowns.

    I suppose if you can keep it together, you'd get lots of work

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,408 ✭✭✭ kevthegaff

    You need a good driver, your at it every day incl Sunday. You need alot of farmers in a near radius. What do u do in a bad breakdown. There is lots of work and you will get payed as lads need u to keep drawing. Think short grass is very time consuming too

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  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 2,394 Mod ✭✭✭✭ K.G.

    From what I see the pros and cons of contracting zero grazing are.


    You day is not your own,if its just one or 2 loads yer day is spoiled if you want to do a day at slurry or something. The 2 contractors locally frequently swap loads so one do all the loads one day and the other would them another day.

    Wet grass is heavy bloody stuff and I sometimes think that alot of zero grazer designed for single farmer use rather than up 20 loads a day and long distances that some contractors may do.


    Long season and tends to be at quieter times.

    One man show ,no other labour required to run the system.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,199 ✭✭✭ cjpm

    Major con. The price of diesel at the moment.

  • Registered Users Posts: 23,889 ✭✭✭✭ Reggie.

    I could be wrong but I think most breakdowns are with the mower. Some now come with disc over drum mowers

    I'd be the only driver. I wouldn't rush any of the jobs. It's more to fill the gap at the end of the year.

    True in what was said tho in that your day is not your own till winter really hits. The money is tempting tho if you could manage a few loads a day

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,812 ✭✭✭ dzer2

    Jasas, Reggie

    5 loads is 300 quid hardly a great day compared to the other enterprises you are running. What brand are you looking at. The drum mower is fairly simple on them, you could carry a spare and have it fitted in under an hour.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,249 ✭✭✭ JustJoe7240

    You'll find it's often like the silage, everyone wants you at the one time. Contractor does it as they have cows themselves and finds while it's a great job for their own cows, The contracting side is hassle, between tight yards, long draws and trying to work around lads milking times. Would be grand if you could get a job or two that would keep give you a load or two every day.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 23,889 ✭✭✭✭ Reggie.

    Sure 300 a certain day would be better than nothing plus you'd have the rest of the day to spend it 😊

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,070 ✭✭✭ giveitholly

    My boss took the chance last year just before lockdown and purchased one,was doing 3-4 loads a day up to early April until fellas closed off silage ground away from home farm. It was the end of August before he did another load,but then had a very busy end of year doing about 10/11 loads for a short period,he would of done over 300 loads altogether at €80 a load.

    Word of mouth got out and this year has been even busier with him having to turn down work,probably has up on 600 loads done this year. Seemingly a drum mower is definitely the way to go,One man operation and not very heavy on diesel. Obviously a very time consuming job,7 days a week,and some days you might only have 1/2 jobs so kinda tied to it alright. He is delighted with his purchase and has the zero-grazer paid for already

  • Registered Users Posts: 23,889 ✭✭✭✭ Reggie.

    Did he buy it new?

    Any hassle with breakdowns?

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,070 ✭✭✭ giveitholly

    No none yet,but he would be very good to mind machinery and wouldn't be horsing wet grass into either at high speeds,another contractor with a similar machine couldn't keep shear pins in his zero grazer,but he was flying around the field filling the load!!

    Yeah he bought it new,you wouldn't know what you are buying second hand would be his motto

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,408 ✭✭✭ kevthegaff

    Know lads doing up to 15 loads but short draws

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,690 ✭✭✭ funkey_monkey

    There was one fella that I know that was at it. Big operator and he quit after 2 years. He complained about having a tractor and man tied up everyday at it. 

    Not sure I get his point - was he complaining that he had a full days work everyday for his machine? Is that not the ideal - to have the tractor/implement/driver at it all day every day?

  • Registered Users Posts: 23,889 ✭✭✭✭ Reggie.

    I believe in the same motto. What size has he? I'd be looking at the GT80 size machine. Think that does 80ish cows

  • Registered Users Posts: 23,889 ✭✭✭✭ Reggie.

    Not when the machine was needed for silage or maize I think was what he was getting at

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,690 ✭✭✭ funkey_monkey

    Have you looked at getting a front mower and a forage wagon - that way you might get a bit of silage work with it during the summer or maybe even run the front mower with your trailed Malone?

    Field access might be an issue in some places though.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,070 ✭✭✭ giveitholly

    GT140 he purchased,some of the jobs would be for fellas with 200+ cows

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  • Registered Users Posts: 4,070 ✭✭✭ giveitholly

    Another fella was doing that but you have to think of the extra weight,especially at the end of the year with ground conditions deteriorating. Also the grass is in better condition after a drum mower than it is if cut with a front mower and picked up with a silage wagon

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,403 ✭✭✭ FintanMcluskey

    Fuel costs, depreciation, wear and tear and your own time to earn €300 to move 5 loads.

    On the plus side its easy work, could do it half asleep

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,249 ✭✭✭ JustJoe7240

    Grass tends to heat quicker with an outfit like that. Also outrageously awkward to maneuver when you're backing in to feed passages. Would also be considerably sorer on the ground, and awkward with corners.

  • Registered Users Posts: 23,889 ✭✭✭✭ Reggie.

    Yeah she's the biggest of them alright. My way of thinking would be if a fella needs grass for 200 cows and the grazer only feeds 80 then it'll have to be 3 runs.

    Most herds around here are 100ish

  • Registered Users Posts: 23,889 ✭✭✭✭ Reggie.

    Hard to get short grass into a wagon. Summer is fairly tied up. Just thinking of something to do from say Oct onwards for a while

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,202 ✭✭✭ tanko

  • Registered Users Posts: 23,889 ✭✭✭✭ Reggie.

    Well too many people at it around here. They are cutting each others throats atm. Looking for a niche

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,408 ✭✭✭ kevthegaff

    If u don't mind working Sundays, you'll get the work, are the draws long?

  • Registered Users Posts: 14,244 ✭✭✭✭ Bass Reeves

    There was a thread early in the year purchasing V contractor on it. Reggie it would be niche but only issue is it could be a seven day a week job. If you go at it remember to charge by time. At most other contracting jobs you have at least half a day and maybe a few days work at the time. The way you charge is a call out charge ( cost of you putting the machine on and arriving at field or getting from one farmer to the next day 15-20 euro and a charge per hour split into 15 minute segments). will be a minimum of an hour. A long drawn or short grass could add on. Remember dairy men have plenty of money no need to spare them. You could have a dairy farmer and a beef farmer rate

    You will have to buy a prop blue tractor those dairy are particular about the blue coloured machines coming into there yard.

    Slava Ukrainii

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,199 ✭✭✭ cjpm

    Bass your idea about a separate dairy farmer and beef farmer will land Reggie in hot water.