Ken Cuddy farms and runs a contracting business on the Laois side of the Slieve Bloom mountains. Once the silage season kicks off, Ken and his brother Brian spend their time driving an impressive pair of Strautmann wagons. The first one of these machines came to them in 2010. It is a 2005 Giga Vitesse 2 which was purchased from IAM machinery in Kilkenny. At the time Ken believes that it was the first wagon in the area, up till that time Ken had specialised in baled silage but he saw the market heading down the route of more pit silage. When looking into which wagon to buy, he heard from other contractors and farmers that the Strautmann was the best wagon on the market. Having worked that machine for five full seasons and seeing the volume of work he was being asked to do, he decided that a second machine was required to keep up with demand. Considering the service that his previous machine was still giving him, it was no brainer for him when it came to buy a new machine.
This machine was a 2015 Strautmann Giga Vitesse CFS 3601. Once in the field the new machine proved itself to be the “best on the market” with the CFS system giving a real improvement in capacity in comparison to the older machine. This showed in the real world as an extra load of a 12-foot rake at the pit front, Ken said this is a real test of the CFS technology and proves it worth. The controller in the cab gives Ken the ability to Autofill the wagon, count the loads picked up and auto emptying. The Auto emptying function is operated with a simple one push of a button, which Ken says makes the unloading process “lightening fast” and completely stress free. Speaking to customers Ken has got nothing but positive feedback with the chop length and quality of silage when it is coming back out of the pit. One customer even said that his “Cattle were smiling more” since moving to the Strautmann wagon silage, that is surely the best compliment a machine can get.
Ken picks up about 1000 acres per year with the 2 machine and finds that the acreage has been consistently climbing since the second machine arrived in 2015. The biggest job that Ken takes on is a 115-acre cut for a 300-cow dairy herd, he travels 35 miles for this job and last year cleaned it up in one 14-hour day. All the grass for the wagon is left in 20-foot ranks either grouped by the mower or raked depending on whether he or the farmer mows it. Ken finds that 20 foot of grass gives him the output even when the grass crops are very heavy. Ken has been running Strautmann wagons for 8 trouble free years, the original machine is still getting through the work, but he can see the how the advancements in technology of the newer machine gives improved operator comfort, ease and a measurable improvement in load size. Ken can see that in the future he will need more output, having seen what they can do, he says that Strautmann wagons are the only machines that will be give him that output.