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Why do you buy cake?

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Big Swede
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Why do you buy cake?

Postby Big Swede » Fri Mar 28, 2008 10:04 am

I don't live in the Nebraska sandhills but I can see them from here and I've always wondered why you buy cake. Doesn't it cost way more than alfalfa? Wouldn't it make sense to feed 20% protein alfalfa for half or maybe even a third the cost of cake?

I can see feeding cake if you are still grazing dormant grass but once you start feeding meadow hay why don't you supplement with alfalfa? Maybe some of you do, I don't know.

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Soapweed
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Re: Why do you buy cake?

Postby Soapweed » Fri Mar 28, 2008 11:07 am

Big Swede wrote:
Why do you buy cake?

I don't live in the Nebraska sandhills but I can see them from here and I've always wondered why you buy cake. Doesn't it cost way more than alfalfa? Wouldn't it make sense to feed 20% protein alfalfa for half or maybe even a third the cost of cake?

I can see feeding cake if you are still grazing dormant grass but once you start feeding meadow hay why don't you supplement with alfalfa? Maybe some of you do, I don't know.


I guess I buy cake for the same reason I calve in the winter, put up hay, and still ride horses. It is long-standing tradition. :-) What little non-traditional spirit I have did allow me to stray away from the Hereford breed. :roll: :wink:

Seriously, it is a lot easier to haul in cake and feed it than it is to use alfalfa. It would sure be over a hundred dollars per ton for alfalfa delivered in, so if cake can be bought for under two hundred dollars per ton, it would seem to be the better bargain. If I buy hay, meadow hay gives me more bang for the buck than does alfalfa. A ton of meadow hay goes a lot farther in filling up a hungry cow than a ton of alfalfa does. As far as using alfalfa for supplement, my limited experience has shown more scour problems in the calves when I have used it. Another reason I cake is that a cow doesn't have to quite get all the hay they can eat if they are being supplemented with cake. Besides, feed salesmen can be pretty persuasive. :-)

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per
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Postby per » Fri Mar 28, 2008 12:25 pm

What is the cake made out of? Where does the protein come out at and how small of an auger is on your dispenser? Does the cake bridge in the bin? I had all those burning curiosity question beating around my hard drive. Thanks in advance I really enjoy visiting your ranch through your photography.

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lazy ace
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Postby lazy ace » Fri Mar 28, 2008 12:56 pm

The reason we buy cake is that feed stores don't give it away. :wink: :) :) This is the first winter we haven't caked in a long time. We were fortunate enough to put up a lot of hay especially oat hay and we fed a lot of that the last couple months.

The reason why we cake is because usually we end up feeding carry over hay that is two, three years old or older. Supplementing alfalfa hay for cake is an option but a semi load of cake lasts longer than a semi load of hay.

Per we put our cake on a cement floor of our Quancet. We load it with a skid steer from the side of our pickup (the caker is on a hinge and swivels over to the side of the pickup.) Our caker doesn't have an auger it has an apron system.

have a cold one

lazy ace

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John SD
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Postby John SD » Fri Mar 28, 2008 5:29 pm

Well I've always been told I'm a bit different. :shock: Maybe we do different things for the same reasons, or the same things for different reasons? :wink:

I don't usually feed cake, ear corn, or lick tubs to the cow herd for maintenance purposes. Since I don't calve in winter my Herefords (and the black cows!) can rough it through winter pretty well on dormant native pasture and mediocre quality old hay. I keep mineral out year round for the cows and let them decide to eat it or not.

By the time I start calving in about a month, the grass should be starting to green up. I might get some mag cake then to get some magnesium into the cows as insurance against grass tetany. Also helps as a daily check to get those cows lined up for easy inspection of any impending problems that might come up.

In summary, I'm not saying feeding cake is right or wrong. Do what works for you in your own operation. If you can honestly pencil it out and make it work for you, what anyone else thinks doesn't matter.

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Postby Big Swede » Fri Mar 28, 2008 5:49 pm

But Soapweed, aren't you buying cake for the protein? If cake costs $200 and alfalfa costs $100 and you are getting the same amount of protein in both of those tons purchased, you could buy 2 tons of hay for the same dollars as 1 ton of cake. Or is my math wrong?

If you feed 3 pounds of cake per head per day, a bale of alfalfa would supplement 500 cows their protein requirement along with meadow hay.

I have always wished I had a neighbor across the fence with an abundant supply of grass hay or meadow hay. That way we could trade hay for each others needs. In my case, I way overfeed protein because I have so much good alfalfa and my neighbor would need some alfalfa to supplement his poorer quality hay. With the price of freight these days hauling hay very far back and forth would be cost prohibitive.

I'm not trying to run your outfit, it's just something I have always wondered about.

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Postby Doug Thorson » Fri Mar 28, 2008 7:14 pm

It would take a pretty good spreader to spread 1 bale of hay for 500 cows.

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Blkbuckaroo
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Postby Blkbuckaroo » Fri Mar 28, 2008 7:43 pm

Would a couple of you guys that feed cake please put a picture of the rig you use to spread it.Thanks!Not fimiliar with cake.

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Postby Big Swede » Fri Mar 28, 2008 7:53 pm

You could feed them 2 bales every other day then or 3 bales every third day. There are lots of options when supplementing protein to cattle.

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movin' on
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Postby movin' on » Fri Mar 28, 2008 8:10 pm

Big Swede, I agree with you. I'm no expert at supplementing, but alfalfa has always seemed like the best thing to me. I only roll it out every other day. I've always felt like the more actual matter there is, the more evenly it gets consumed. A cow can eat 1 or 2 pounds of cake pretty awful fast and then move on to her timid friends' portion. If they have to eat 5 or 10 pounds of hay, it's going to take them substantially longer and I believe that the timid cows get a much fairer shot at getting all of their portion that way. Plus, it seems to me to that those 10 pounds would go farther towards their "filler" requirements.

As far as the scours go, I've never supplemented cows at the same time of year as when they're calving. I do calve on graze-out wheat, though, and can tell you that there is "scours" all over the place. It has never been a problem and I think that it is stricly a "nutritional" thing vs. an actual bacterial scours.

Alfalfa is readily available in my area, though, and I would suppose that would make a big difference. I've only had to give $60 a ton for it. I don't buy a lot, so, like I said, I'm no expert.

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leanin' H
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Postby leanin' H » Fri Mar 28, 2008 8:47 pm

We don't buy cake out here unless it's chocolate! Seriously though, we just don't have the option to ship it that far. We either run them on winter range and they earn their way alone or we feed hay and supplement with tubs of protien or blocks. I have heard of some of the previous generations talking about feeding cake out of the saddle bags on tough winters. We put up all the hay we can including meadow and grass hay. Good alfalfa is getting pretty high price wise, and a lot goes to the horse folks if it's put up right. We bought hay at $100 to $130 a ton last year and that sure hurts the bottom line. (Although it is sure nice for the folks raising hay!) But poor, skinny cattle are a sure fire way to become an ex-rancher. I keep wishin' they'd install a brewery or ethanol plant next to me so i could feed thier by products. But since we have the population of under 300 i think i'd best keep feeding hay! :wink:
A poor ride beats a great walk any day!
<Parry Taylor>

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John SD
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Postby John SD » Fri Mar 28, 2008 9:48 pm

Blkbuckaroo wrote:Would a couple of you guys that feed cake please put a picture of the rig you use to spread it.Thanks!Not fimiliar with cake.


Blkbuckaroo, I don't have any way of posting a pic of my scoop shovel and 5 gal buckets! :wink:

Seriously, IMO, if I were feeding cake every winter to a lot of cows a cake feeder and overhead bin would be a worthwhile investment. For you guys who do have a cake feeder, is belt conveyor better than auger?

The pickup I haul feed with has a 8' combo box on it. I can get 2 tons of cake and just leave it on the pickup. Fill buckets if feeding in bunks or if feeding on the ground just turn the pickup loose and feed out the back end counting scoops. :wink:


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