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Tour

Posted: Tue Jan 23, 2018 6:14 pm
by RSL
I have a couple of friends from SK that tour with me. It is a good situation as the one is a beef specialist and the other is a similarly aged young producer. We are both expanding our operations, balancing young families, like doing math and are running full tilt it seems like. The advantage of a tour buddy is that if forces you to follow through on some of the good places you have wanted to learn from. Yesterday we headed to Pure Country's home stomping grounds (Hardisty) to tour some cover crop swath grazing, look at silage grazing and examine some bulls.
Cows at Drevers Grazing a silage pile
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A watering setup that doesn't freeze (honest to GOD)
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Ken Adair's pile where he is grazing bulls
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Some good portable windbreak design
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Saw and learned a lot in a short while. Came home with some crazy ideas about how I can bale graze straw without supplemental feeding everyday, and some other changes we are going to experiment with here. Before this we have never looked at silage because the math of feeding it put it out of the question. Now it has become an interesting option to think about.

Re: Tour

Posted: Tue Jan 23, 2018 7:02 pm
by DaneG
Feeding from the pit with an electric wire is the cheapest easiest way to feed silage just don,t build the pit much higher than 7-8 feet

Re: Tour

Posted: Tue Jan 23, 2018 7:09 pm
by DaneG
One other thing I usually make the pit on the field that grows the silage cheaper on trucking I can idle there in my pickup 100 times to move the wire and cut off 1ft of plastic way cheaper than 100 trips wide open with a loaded dump truck to build pit close to the yard.

Re: Tour

Posted: Wed Jan 24, 2018 5:10 pm
by 4Diamond
Why go to the trouble of covering if your just gonna graze and trample it anyway?

Re: Tour

Posted: Wed Jan 24, 2018 7:38 pm
by leanin' H
4Diamond wrote:Why go to the trouble of covering if your just gonna graze and trample it anyway?


Because silage requires packing and covering to keep out oxygen in order to become silage, and not a huge pile of rotten junk.

Re: Tour

Posted: Wed Jan 24, 2018 8:59 pm
by 4Diamond
Thats not true where I live. I can show you multiple piles that aren't covered and they might loose 6-10" to spoilage. I'll stand by my thought if your letting cattle all over it why cover it.

Re: Tour

Posted: Wed Jan 24, 2018 10:30 pm
by RSL
What I saw was that the cattle were not all over it, they could only eat at the face of the pit. The reason the folks we toured covered the pits is that in a lot of cases it is a way to create an emergency store that they can graze in years when there is a poor crop (like this year). They are trying to ensile and prevent spoilage on a pit/pile that may sit for a couple of years or more.

Re: Tour

Posted: Thu Jan 25, 2018 4:44 pm
by leanin' H
4Diamond wrote:Thats not true where I live. I can show you multiple piles that aren't covered and they might loose 6-10" to spoilage. I'll stand by my thought if your letting cattle all over it why cover it.


Respectfully, it is true. 6 to 10 Inches of spoilage on the top of a pile is one hell of a lot if the pile is several hundred feet long and wide, like many pile or pits I have seen. And that doesn't account for the overall lower quality of the entire pile because the air gets to it. That's why big dairys put it in bags now, to ensure as little air as possible get in. And like RSL said, the hotwire is intended to keep cattle from wasting groceries. Out here they, feed it in mangers out of tubs and go to great lengths to put up high quality silage. It sure puts the bloom on calves. But it costs a lot in equipment to put it up and feed it. The way the pictures show would subtract the cost of hauling it to the calves. Interesting.

Re: Tour

Posted: Fri Jan 26, 2018 9:14 am
by scout
We use bags now but when we used a bunker we threw wheat seed on top and it and it created a sod that sealed it up only 2 to 3 inches of spoilage . Silage here in Iowa is the cheapest way to put up feed due to high land prices hard to compete with the government for ground in crp that should be in hay or pasture

Re: Tour

Posted: Fri Jan 26, 2018 9:00 pm
by PureCountry
Wish I was still there some days Sean. Would have been good to see you. Ben, Ken and all those crews are doing good things to keep costs down. That's become a necessity more than ever I think. David Hays and a couple others are having real good luck grazing standing corn for winter feeding too in that area. Last I was with David driving through his 340 cows they had more corn standing than they needed before the cows start calving. I like driving through cows to check them in winter once every few days, as opposed to the daily feeding of tons of bales we used to do.

Re: Tour

Posted: Sat Jan 27, 2018 9:27 pm
by Denny
leanin' H wrote:
4Diamond wrote:Thats not true where I live. I can show you multiple piles that aren't covered and they might loose 6-10" to spoilage. I'll stand by my thought if your letting cattle all over it why cover it.


Respectfully, it is true. 6 to 10 Inches of spoilage on the top of a pile is one hell of a lot if the pile is several hundred feet long and wide, like many pile or pits I have seen. And that doesn't account for the overall lower quality of the entire pile because the air gets to it. That's why big dairys put it in bags now, to ensure as little air as possible get in. And like RSL said, the hotwire is intended to keep cattle from wasting groceries. Out here they, feed it in mangers out of tubs and go to great lengths to put up high quality silage. It sure puts the bloom on calves. But it costs a lot in equipment to put it up and feed it. The way the pictures show would subtract the cost of hauling it to the calves. Interesting.


i'd only make the pile 4 or 5 ft tall we fed like that a few years and the pile was 12' tall well it collapsed and killed 10 cows on easter sunday. The mud where we are gets so bad the cows would bog down in the spring so we quit it and use a mixer wagon though the hot wire was handy the more cows we got the harder it was to do as I dont live there. And it needs timely adjustments.

You'll lose 20% of your silage if you dont cover it and the quality will just keep heating away if its not sealed at $35 a ton you don't want to lose 1 out of every 5 acres because thats how dad did it.

Re: Tour

Posted: Sun Jan 28, 2018 2:39 pm
by 4Diamond
I think dad covered and told son if it was a big issue plant 5 more acres and don't worry about covering. Not my operation just telling you what I've seen, the old cows keep milking on the junk.