Bale feeders are a key machine in the agricultural industry, allowing farmers to easily feed their livestock without the risk of fouling the fodder. Bale feeders work by taking hay bales and adding them into the feeder structure, which siphons and restricts the hay consumption. This allows farm resources to be managed more efficiently while minimising wastage.

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Bale feeders are usually simple in design, and as a result low maintenance and easy to use. Their easy design has given way to innovation over the years, offering some different variants to suit different users. Two main types are grounded, round bale feeders, and bale feeder wagons.

It's been found that some farmers lose up half of their hay to wastage due to livestock sleeping, walking over hay and discarding loose hay while eating. Round bale feeders help solve this problem. Commonly referred to as 'round bale feeders', these feeder types come in a range of shapes and sizes, including square tubs or large cages. The most common of these is the cone round bale feeder. It suspends the hay above the ground and has slanted, diagonal bars equally spaced apart from each other surrounding the hay. It does this in a way that feeding cattle have to put their heads in to feed, but don't grab the material and pull it out. The simple design means they're cheap and easy to look after. A capacity of about 30 cattle can be fed on one hay bale through a round bale feeder a day. This means if you're on a large property with a lot of livestock, you may need to invest in multiple round bale feeders.

For larger properties with a greater quantity of cattle to feed, bale feeder wagons are the ideal solution. Where round bale feeders are good for times where cattle stay in one place, bale feeder wagons are preferable when you need to travel or follow the herd. They come with various capacities, depending on what suits the property. Some carry 2 hay bales and others can carry up to a dozen. They are often similar to large trailers with a dispense system, or they have open slits along the edge for feeding livestock on the move.

Despite the difference in design, their purpose is the same, to manage hay distribution and reduce wastage. So if you have plenty of livestock to feed and want to minimise wastage, bale feeders are a great solution.