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Bale Grazing

Things that come up in the daily operation of a ranch.
farmguy
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Re: Bale Grazing

Postby farmguy » Tue Aug 23, 2016 7:31 am

I have bale grazed. Works fantastic and a couple years ago drifts around buildings were 15 feet high. Bale grazing worked fine. Hard part was getting out to bales to move wires down to next setting. I just followed the cow trails. No way a tractor could have navigated the fields.
Bale grazing is my back up to winter grazing (sorghum sudan and cover crops). last year in central Minnesota I fed hay, bale grazed, for about one month, the rest of the time I winter grazed. All I know is the last year or two when I do taxes my total expenses are half of what they were for the same number of cows. This is what works well for me. If you don't like it, don't do it. farmguy.

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Re: Bale Grazing

Postby Big Muddy rancher » Tue Aug 23, 2016 8:00 am

That's the deal with ranching, find what works in your situation, might not work for everybody.
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Re: Bale Grazing

Postby Faster horses » Tue Aug 23, 2016 8:56 am

There is so much to the nutrition equation. For instance, in your program, how many dries do you have? How long do your cows stay in your herd? How do you put a price on longevity? Yet it is of utmost importance. The longer a cow stays in the herd, the more money she makes her owner. Not saying bale grazing cheats cattle on nutrition,but if any program does, the first thing to go is reproduction capability.
So much to consider besides feed cost. Sometimes you need to take a look at the long-term performance of your cattle and put that into the equation and not just consider feed cost on a yearly basis.

FWIW....:-)
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Re: Bale Grazing

Postby Traveler » Tue Aug 23, 2016 10:41 am

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.

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Re: Bale Grazing

Postby Brad S » Tue Aug 23, 2016 11:09 am

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.



That's what I was wondering - calves getting stepped on by other cows laying behind a windbreak where the cows are eating. Outta pay money for fh's thoughts on longevity and nutrition - running the numbers for replacement costs on a yearly basis shows what an extra calf per cow does. I like to wean a little early to effect longevity.

I'm ignorant about bale grazing purpose or plan. It sounds like it's to save money, but I don't see much cost unrolling hay. I like to spread out hay so the wolfy cows don't get more than their share or sling their heads and knock calves (abort). Lotta wisdom having bales set up for blizzard feed, so I get that.

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Re: Bale Grazing

Postby RSL » Tue Aug 23, 2016 9:46 pm

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...
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Re: Bale Grazing

Postby PATB » Sun Aug 28, 2016 5:54 am

One needs to take in the amount/timing of moisture your area gets as that will affect the amount of loss of hay due to spoilage. Y

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Re: Bale Grazing

Postby littlejoe » Mon Sep 05, 2016 9:47 pm

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...



Sounds quite interesting--but this part " We use portable windbreaks" How much wind will they stand? 40-50 mph is not out of the ordinary on east slope---and up to 100 mph. I like the idea of this---but sooner or later ain't they gonna blow over--or away? And seems like the more they'll stand, the bigger the wreck when they adios...?

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Re: Bale Grazing

Postby RSL » Tue Sep 06, 2016 9:15 pm

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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Re: Bale Grazing

Postby littlejoe » Wed Sep 07, 2016 10:00 am

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.


Thanks, RSL
Big posts--I got a pile of big power poles and an excavator--are what I'm thinking. And a curved or v shape...

Somebody in Wyoming did a study---models on ice----very little spacing between boards---V shaped and faced into prevailing wind. They had a formula that 'wings' could only be so long, in proportion to height........idea is it deflects wind rather than disrupts it.....Maybe more of a right angle than a V...... I've been wanting to try this--I see a couple down the valley, the guy made kinda a V, then bent and extended the legs parallel to each other---out in the open, winds are prevailing SW but looks like a cow could circle and get some shelter no matter what--think I know where there's a pile of really heavy metal siding---anybody build one like that?

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Re: Bale Grazing

Postby ND Farmer » Wed Sep 07, 2016 6:33 pm

Bale grazing may work for some, but not for me. In my situation, absolutely to much waste, and in that waste area, weeds were problems in the next few yrs. good luck to you...

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Re: Bale Grazing

Postby Haytrucker » Wed Sep 07, 2016 7:29 pm

Joe, we have 4 of 20 some built that are 7.5 high by 24 long. 2 3/8ths oil pipe frame with 24 gauge, I think, sheeting horizontal. 18 inches underneath gap, then a split between 2 36 inch sheets. 5 ft legs at 90, but made to swivel for transport. We had 2 fold from 45 to flat in a breeze, they were wired at the corner. Didn't bend in the slide. Using chain at the ends and conveyor belt for the sheeting now. I might know where some steel is now too. These are more stable, but are used fairly close to some trees.


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