Traveler wrote:Have lost a few little calves when we've needed to set out bales during calving, even though we try to sort every day. They lay down by the bales and get stepped on, or tramped into the snow or mud. Every rose has a thorn.
RSL wrote:We bale graze a lot and find it a useful tool. That is how we background calves, feed replacements, winter cows, etc. Not for everyone, but for us it is a HUGE cost savings. We set all out feed out for 250+ cows and all the calves in 6 hours in the fall and move the wire in about 2 hours a week. Big savings are on time and tractor hours, as well as cleaning corrals. We used to wean calves in corrals, but now we wean onto bale grazing. We use portable windbreaks. When we "fed" the same cattle, or if we supplement grazing now, we would be looking at 2 to 4 hours a day all winter. We have seen no difference in performance on the backgrounded calves on bale grazing as compared to feeding, however our health issues have gone down in this group.
On rented or deeded land I have even quit hauling bales home, as I prefer to move cows to the bales.
We have not had issues with cows laying or stepping on calves, but we always have a large "previously" bale grazed area when we start calving and most cows will go off on their own to calve and May calves are pretty mobile for the most part. I think we have less problems that way than when we used to corral calve.
The other impact is the increase in production on our ground post bale grazing. We have taken 500 pounds per acre dry matter production up to 9000 in a single year.
We may have to change our approach, depending upon the growth of our local elk herds, but until then we will likely keep on...
RSL wrote:We have had a few big winds here that tipped things over. We have since gotten a lot smarter about setting corners together to brace them. We will often set them up in "T" shaped or other configurations to brace against wind. Some of the fancier ones I have seen advertised have the boards set in brackets, rather than nailed on. I think these would be quick to stand up. The other option, which is what we plan to do for corrals going forward is to drive a big post and chain the panels to the post and each other.
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