New Australian-made feed mixers are meeting high demand on farms and in feedlots across the country – from North East Victoria to Central NSW and Queensland and across to Western Australia’s South West.
Wodonga-based Ausmix is reporting farmers and feedlot operators are enthusiastic about the return of Aussie-made strength and local service and support in world class feed mixers engineered and constructed in the regional heartland of Albury-Wodonga. This has been especially apparent over the last two years where the supply, parts and backup for overseas-manufactured machines has been impacted by component shortages and shipping disruptions.
Ausmix’s sister company Farmtech Machinery, owned by the well known Modra family, is already an established importer and manufacturer of farm equipment for cultivation, fodder conservation and general farm tasks. This includes importing successful brands such as Penta and Jeantil, international market leaders in feed mixers and wagons for over 10 years. The company is also actively involved in refurbishment and modification of mixing equipment. However, growing calls for new Aussie-made machines to meet specific Aussie needs demanded the establishment of Ausmix.
At the heart of every Ausmix machine is the Fibre-X vertical tapered auger developed specifically for Australian feeding programs. With razor-sharp knives it chops fibre to deliver improved mix characteristics to give your animals the nutritional edge in terms of productivity and herd health. The Fibre-X’s outputs and consistency have been substantiated by the Penn State separator test.
The Ausmix range covers single, twin and triple auger machines in trailed and truck-mounted configurations, in the 8 to 45 cubic meter capacity range.
All Ausmix models are built using heavy duty, long life materials including 20mm auger and floor plate, 10mm tub walls, and 3 different types of heat-treated tungsten carbide cutting knives.
Drivetrains incorporate premium gearboxes to match the punishing conditions found in the Australian livestock market. Planetary drives are perfectly paired to the Fiber-X auger, tearing through big bales with ease and mixing all fodder types, including high forage/fibre or grain rations, with a consistent result.
Two-speed gearboxes direct both powerful processing and effective cleanout of the mixer, improving the quality of feeding and saving time.
Ausmix can be specified with short or long flip-up elevators to suit troughs, bunkers, paddocks, or to feed over obstacles or into raised receptacles like self feeder bins. Dual shift conveyors feed out on both sides, Ausmix conveyors and elevators are fitted with either rubber tread or chained slats to suit all types of fodder.
Ausmix’s readiness to listen to the customer’s real needs are a major part of its mixers’ fast rise in popularity. Feedlot operator Mitch Maquire, who turns over around 10,000 head of cattle a year at Tamworth (NSW), was “chasing more capacity” in their feeding operations and was considering a new feed mixer. He was a ‘guinea pig’ for Ausmix’s XL32 twin screw trailed machine.
We use a very dense ration – 70 percent-odd grain, and to get that capacity and mixing capability we had a yarn with Ausmix some time ago. We run tempered grain, taking grain at 10-12% arrival moisture to 19-21% so we’re adding density and friction to the mix. We add a lot of moisture including a molasses-based liquid supplement, almond hull, straw – it creates a very dense and heavy friction ration – it’s a very different story to a big bulk load of hay, or 20-30% grain plus a bit of hay and silage, he explained.
We raised the idea of a trial machine provided we would provide honest feedback about its suitability in a feedlot situation because we knew they were popular in dairies, Mitch said.
“We said we’re going to put 12-14 tonnes in it – almost like a grain cart – we wanted to make sure we wouldn’t break anything.”
“With grain in mind we asked for tighter tolerances on the doors and the augers’ cutting ears, small gaps around the planetaries at the bottom, and heavier planetaries. We put the elevator on scales and added a liquid delivery system.”
“Our new Ausmix arrived in February. We bought it for greater efficiencies, we wanted to carry more and feed out quicker. With the Ausmix we can feed at least twice as many cattle each day as previously in the same run. It’s a big difference for us, it’s probably saving us 2.5 to 3 hours a day for the same operation compared with the smaller mixers we’ve had.”
“With a feedlot you can’t have a breakdown you can’t fix within 24 hours. That (mixer) is the most important thing you’ve got, if you can’t deliver feed you’re in trouble. I need support quickly. If I can have a turnaround within a day for anything major – get a part or component up here within 12 or 24 hours – at least the part is there and it’s not ‘oh we’ve got to wait on a boat from overseas’. So the idea of local serviceability is very good. And at the end of the day I also wanted to support a bit of Aussie ingenuity.”
Victorian beef farmer Ray Snell is another person for whom Ausmix is helping succeed.
“With the price of land these days I believe we’ve got to get more value out of the land we’ve got. So I’m aiming for ‘vertical growth’ (instead of ‘horizontal growth’) by not just buying more land but getting more off the land we’ve got.”
“To do that the feed mixer has got to mix various rations to get the protein and energy into the cattle to get the growth on them. We target a growth weight over a number of days; the cattle are only here for only a given time till they get heavy enough, I want to get all cattle on and off our 400 hectares at Bonegilla in less than 12 months.”
“We buy our cattle in at about 400-plus kilograms and we grow them out to 700-plus kgs, so over 300 days we want to achieve a kilo a day. The only way you can do that is by using a good ration, feed ‘em well and run more cattle on the area we’ve got, and turn them over in a time that gives us better value out of the land.”
“We bought the mixer from Ausmix. I’ve known the Modra family for quite a while, we’ve bought other equipment off them over the years and found their service very good. They know their stuff – particularly Brad – he knows what cattle need as far as nutrition is concerned – he’s got a very good knowledge of all that.”
“I had a look at 3 or 4 different mixers, I liked the Ausmix because it’s locally made, and it’s a wider machine so you get more in it. It works well and it’s strong – 20mm floor and 10mm steel sides!”
“And local service – the boys have been very very good. We said ‘this is what we want’ and they went away and built it, and I can’t do that with one that comes from (overseas) or wherever it comes from.”
“I bought an Ausmix, I know the boys, they’re good people, they stand behind what they sell, I trust them, the price was comparable but the machine was very very strong.”
We tow our Ausmix XL-14 (14.0m3) with a 160hp Fendt tractor – it does it easy, Ray reported.
West Australian dairy farmer Ryan Scott, milking 1000 cows at Capel in the South West also, recently switched to an Ausmix-30 twin screw mixer saving money on purchase price and winning on service and support.
“I’m really happy with the build quality of the Ausmix. As far as features go they built this machine for me – it’s got a lot of stuff on it that I wanted changed – individualisation. They were more than happy to accommodate all that, whereas I’ve tried that with other mixers in the past and they wouldn’t do anything other than their standard thing. There’s a lot of difference on this Ausmix that the boys were more than happy to accommodate – practical things that make my job easier.”
Ryan negotiated a very agreeable purchase arrangement with Ausmix too.
“Obviously I’m really happy with the machine and with that deal it was very good.”
For more information contact Farmtech on 02 6024 6800