Forage Shop Talk: Ross Dale
|By Hay and Forage Grower|
Co-founder and manager of Shredlage LLC, Oskaloosa, Iowa
HFG: Shredlage has certainly created a great deal of interest in the corn silage industry. What makes the product so unique?
RD: Shredlage is branded silage produced mainly for corn. It’s cut at a much longer length — 1 to 2 inches — and then is processed with the Shredlage brand processor that actually rips the plant material lengthwise into planks and strings. By opening up the stalk, we get improved microbial exposure to the inner cells of the plant. The longer cut provides more effective fiber to the cow compared to standard processors. In addition, the corn kernels are adequately processed, consistently scoring in the 70s on processing score.
HFG: What about economics? Does it cost more to produce Shredlage?
RD: When comparing Shredlage brand silage with conventional corn silage, university studies have shown improvement in animal performance and possible reductions in feed costs as diet adjustments are made.
No study has been done to document harvest costs and when we ask the harvester operators, we get a variety of answers. Some of the change in operational cost comes in the uniquely designed Shredlage brand processor itself and the patented Loren Cut rolls. Also the variation of plant material differs; however any style processor cost changes under different conditions.
HFG: The original licensed manufacturer of the Shredlage processor recently filed a lawsuit against Shredlage LLC. Can you say anything about that at this time?
RD: Not at this time. We’re going to let the court system handle that.
HFG: You’ve now also entered into a new alliance with Claas. What will that mean for the future in terms of purchasing and servicing the Shredlage processor and Loren cut rolls?
RD: At this point, the nonexclusive license agreement with our original manufacturing and distribution partner will remain in place through the calendar year 2016. They will continue to provide Shredlage products and parts through local Claas dealers as before. In May of this year, we entered into an agreement with Claas to produce, market, distribute and service Shredlage brand processors and Loren Cut rolls through their dealer network to serve both the domestic and global markets. The Shredlage brand processor will be available on most Claas Jaguar model years, with the exception of some of the oldest models. In 2016 the Claas Shredlage Corn Cracker will be in full worldwide production.
HFG: Will the Shredlage processor and Loren Cut rolls be installed at the Claas factory?
RD: Yes. Shredlage brand processors are now manufactured in the Claas factory and can be ordered factory installed with new Jaguar units or through the Claas parts department as an aftermarket installation. The TLC (theoretical length of cut) system will now properly show the correct length actually chopped. Future enhancements will just be part of the system. Claas/Shredlage will train the worldwide dealership network.
HFG: How will processor warranty issues be addressed with the new alliance?
RD: All harvester and processor warranty issues will be handled through the local Claas dealer.
HFG: Do you see a greater worldwide demand for Shredlage?
RD: Yes, we routinely receive calls and emails from foreign countries. Because Claas has a worldwide presence, we think the demand will continue to grow as parts and service will become readily available.
HFG: Do you find it frustrating when someone invests in Shredlage but then doesn’t take the time or have the know how to properly adjust the processor?
RD: Setup and making adjustments as you harvest are critical to the Shredlage system, or any silage processing system for that matter. Our co-founder and technical advisor, Roger Olson, and I, along with our primary research partners have worked to develop a simple, yet vital monitoring tool. When used during harvest, it will guide the operator to the proper equipment adjustments to ensure Shredlage is produced. This tool is actually a system that carries a patent pending status and its availability for field use has yet to be determined.
HFG: What about the future? Any new research projects being planned?
RD: Yes, in fact there are current discussions underway to better understand why Shredlage is so unique, and the reasons for what we have seen to date. There are a number of research facilities that will be equipped with the new Claas Shredlage Corn Cracker and will likely begin further trials after the 2015 crop has been harvested. Other on-farm feeding trials at key locations are also being considered.
HFG: Favorite food?
RD: Ice cream.
HFG: Thanks, Ross. Best of luck down the corn row.
This article appeared in the August/September 2015 issue of Hay & Forage Grower on page 22.
Not a subscriber? Click to get the print magazine.