Brno Zoo was opened at the end of August 1953. At the moment, the general public can look forward to 400 animal species, an authentic African village, walk-through aviaries with brush-tailed rock-wallabies or bald eagles and, since 2017, an exhibition with Katanga lions. It has over 300,000 visitors a year.
THE EARLY BIRD CATCHES THE WORM
Bright and early in the morning our partner AGRI CS set off for Brno Zoo, which is at the Mniší hora (Monks Hill) nature reserve not far from the Brno dam. The weather was perfect, so they could get a behind the scenes look at feeding the exotic animals. Work at the zoo begins early in the morning, around 5 o'clock, so that everything that involves feeding the animals is done before the zoo opens its gates to visitors. Among the many jobs the zoo's workers have are mowing the grass in the morning, transporting fodder to predetermined enclosures and filling the troughs so that the visitors are not cramped by machinery in the narrow aisles. When they arrived they were greeted by Mr. Ing. Jaroslav Prchal, who is responsible for the breeding section at Brno Zoo, and the machine operator Mr. Radek Bača.
On the left, Mr. Ing. Jaroslav Prchal, on the right, machine operator Mr. Radek Bača in a meadow near Brno Zoo.
ALL IN ONE OPERATION
In 2017 the Zoo got its hands on two new SIP machines, the SIP SILVERCUT DISC 270 ALP front mower together with the SIP SENATOR 17|9 forage wagon. These machines are combined with a CASE IH Farmall 85A tractor. There is a reason for choosing this combination. The paths and access to the troughs are very narrow and not very accessible, so it was necessary to choose a machine that will process good-quality forage and guarantee high productivity while being compact. The CASE IH Farmall with the SIP SILVERCUT DISC front mower and the SIP SENATOR forage wagon are very maneuverable, even in less accessible places. The SIP SENATOR 17|9 forage wagon has a volume of 17 m3, but thanks to its compact width and height, it can be used in the narrow paths between the enclosures.
Thanks to its compact size, the SIP SENATOR 17|9 forage wagon is an ideal solution when working in confined spaces and hard-to-reach places.
A lot of animals need to be fed in the zoo, which is why the SIP SENATOR 17|9 forage wagon is perfect for delivering the feed directly to each enclosure every morning. Thanks to its compact size and maneuverability, the feed can be unloaded directly into the feed troughs.
Before the zoo bought its SIP machines, the mowing and forage harvesting were done separately, which increased the costs from diesel consumption and required more time. This new combination from SIP saves both money and time, as two operations have been merged into one. The SIP SENATOR forage wagon collects the forage immediately after mowing, so the driver can take the feed straight to each enclosure.
HIGH-QUALITY FEED IS ESSENTIAL FOR THE ANIMALS
The zoo is surrounded by land, which is used for mowing forage used as a source of feed for the animals. At the same time, however, other meadows around Brno are also used, so a sufficient amount can be guaranteed. Mr. Prchal mentions that this year the forage season at Brno Zoo began a little earlier, at the turn of April and May, due to the clement weather. It's mostly grass that is cut in the meadows.
Thanks to mechanical springs the SIP SILVERCUT DISC 270 front mower copies the terrain perfectly. The result is good-quality, clean forage and undamaged turf.
At the zoo they mow every day from Monday to Saturday, with one forage wagon per day being delivered regularly. The machine operator adds that thanks to this year's plentiful rainfall, there will be no problem with the availability of feed, which was an issue, for example, in 2018. Mr. Bača is very happy with the SIP SILVERCUT DISC front mower appreciating its excellent handling and how closely it follows the ground. With a working width of 2.70 m, mowing with the disc is very easy. Attaching and detaching it to the tractor is intuitive and takes a matter of moments. The SIP mower's mechanical springs give you precise cutting, which means the forage is high-quality feed for the animals.
The SIP SENATOR self-loading wagon has nine blades, which can be very easily put into the working position and back. Five rows of high-quality spring flails ensure fast and clean forage collection.
The SIP SENATOR collects all forage quickly and efficiently, including short grass. Nothing is left to waste in the meadow. In addition, thanks to the lower centre of gravity, the machines are also suitable for work on sloped terrain.
The main reasons for delivering the SIP SENATOR 17|9 were to increase work efficiency and because of its high maneuverability. Now both mowing and gathering are done at the same time. Moreover, as Mr. Bača quite rightly states, the SIP SENATOR is very easy to handle and is manoeuvrable even in the narrow paths of the zoo, which is thanks to the long-term efforts to produce SIP machines from light but high-quality materials. The machine operator goes on to say that the small and compact CASE IH Farmall tractor and the SIP SENATOR 17|9 forage wagon are an excellent choice for moving around narrow paths and unloading the feed to the enclosures that are not easily accessible. The well-thought out design gives higher performance with lower energy consumption.
High-quality spring tines collect all the forage, which is cut up and then transported to the storage area thanks to the floor conveyor.
Another advantage is the volume of the forage wagon can be very easily increased from 10 to 17 m3 by moving the extension. This allows you to transport more feed from fields that are further away. Thanks to the extension and the fact that the material is constantly moved to the rear, the collection wagon can be completely filled. In a meadow or on uneven terrain, no forage stays on the ground, it is all collected.
The floor has chain conveyor belts to transport the cut forage to the rear of the loading space. The moving floor is also used to make it easier and more efficient to empty.
At Brno Zoo, the food is distributed mainly to bison, yaks, camels, zebras and giraffes, but also to the Children's Zoo exhibition for the sheep, goats and horses.The resulting feed quality is very important for exotic animals because it affects their overall health and digestion. In the past, the zoo used a mower that was not able to mow and cut the forage very well, which led to economic losses and the animals didn't eat so much of the feed. The SIP SILVERCUT disc mower, however, guarantees clean forage as it copies the terrain perfectly and the SIP SENATOR forage wagon is excellent for cutting the forage. One of the many things Mr. Bača goes on to say, is that thanks to the cutting knives, even tall or old grass can be cut up very well, so even later on in the growing season the feed is attractive for the animals. Likewise, cutting the forage increases its intake by the animals, thus reducing left over feed. What's more, the forage wagon efficiently picks up the cut grass with a minimum ash content.
Working with the SIP SILVERCUT DISC mower and the SIP SENATOR forage wagon results in high-quality and, above all, clean forage, which is immediately used as fresh feed for exotic animals such as zebras.
THREE SEASONS WITHOUT PROBLEMS
Since the first season in 2017, neither the machine operator nor Mr. Prchal have had to deal with any problems or serious defects, just the routine technical maintenance of the machines. In addition, the head of the feed department, Mr. Prchal, adds that it was not until 3 years after buying the machine that the knives had to be replaced. Thanks to the QCS (quick change system), it is also very easy and quick to change the knives. Mr. Bača also mentions another positive aspect, that it is easy to maintain both the SIP SILVERCUT DISC and the SIP SENATOR forage wagon.