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Why do you buy cake?

Things that come up in the daily operation of a ranch.
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Faster horses
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Postby Faster horses » Sat Mar 29, 2008 12:09 am

I had saved an article from Western Beef Producer on this very subject. For some reason, I can only find the second page of the article.

That page contains a graph on "Cost per pound of protein.

Table 2 shows per-pound price comparison of actual NATURAL protein in supplements (interesting that all the nutritionists I know include only that portion of the NPN that can be utilized by the ruminant. For comparison purposes SUBTRACT the NPN from the natural protein source--anyway we aren't discussing NPN here :P ) commonly available to many Western beef producers. In this example, 17% crude protein alfalfa hay at a cost of $100/ton was the most economical protein supplement. The 29-cent cost per pound of protein was nine cents cheaper than it's closest competitor. Producers could pay up to $134 per ton for alfalfa hay before the other feeds become price competitive per pound of natural protein.

In it's enterity this was an excellent article. I have kept it for many years and I'm sad that I can't find the rest of it. I will contace WB Producer and see if I can't get the complete article.

We have many customers that have switched from cake to feeding alfalfa hay--not as a complete feed but as a supplement. On grass they feed 5 to 10 lbs. of alfalfa. The cattle also get some dry matter when feeding hay as well.

I appreciate the way Soapweed runs his outfit. In some cases, it just isn't feasible to feed hay when you are set up to feed cake.

One thing I cannot urge enough...get your hay tested :!: :!: :!:

Spending $25 on a hay test can save you thousands of dollars in supplement. In Montana, in 14 years of testing hay, we only found one sample that was too low in protein that it needed something with it. 10% protein hay is good enough for range cows. Just make sure you feed enough of it.

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Why do you buy cake ?

Postby efb » Sat Mar 29, 2008 6:49 am

Granted the cost per lb of protein may be cheaper for alfalfa, but wouldn't the cost of feeding it be higher ? One guy with a pick up feeder can cake ( we call it cube down here) a lot of cows in 3 or 4 hours. If you were trying to supplement 1000 cows spread over a lot of country with alfalfa, seems to me it would be a full time job for one man and what kind of equipment cost are involved ?

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Postby Soapweed » Sat Mar 29, 2008 7:13 am

Faster horses wrote:Spending $25 on a hay test can save you thousands of dollars in supplement. In Montana, in 14 years of testing hay, we only found one sample that was too low in protein that it needed something with it. 10% protein hay is good enough for range cows. Just make sure you feed enough of it.


There is such a wide variety in our hay, some clover/timothy and a lot of swamp hay including pure bull rushes, that I have never had our hay tested. Even in the same meadows from the same bale yards, there would be no "normal." Cake is easily hauled in and fed. By feeding a couple pounds of 20%, my conscience is somewhat cleared if they don't quite get a full feed of hay. They still look pretty good.

This reminds me of going to a feed-sponsored free supper one time. Of course, we had to see a slide presentation and listen to a spiel to justify the free supper. The speaker said that this certain cake would make the cows eat more grass, and another kind of cake would get them to eat even more grass. I timidly raised my hand and asked, "Do you have any cake that will make them eat less grass? Grass is what I am short of?"

The speaker smiled and answered, "You know, in all honesty, that is where giving some ear corn would be beneficial."

Just on the opinions of you fine folks, I might look in to feeding alfalfa as a supplement next year. Does anyone want to buy a slightly banged up but pretty good overhead cake bin? :roll: :wink: :-)

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Postby Big Swede » Sat Mar 29, 2008 7:14 am

You're right efb, if your cows are out ranging in the fall or winter, caking cows makes a lot of sense to me too. They need protein to utilize the dormant grass they are eating.

I guess my original thought was when you were snowed under or when you where calving and feeding hay anyway, feeding alfalfa then would be more economical since you were feeding your meadow hay already.

In my case grazing corn stalks, feeding some alfalfa every third day gives the cattle enough protein to utilize that roughage which is very low in crude protein. I tried DDG's mixed with a lot of salt and mineral but it cost more than alfalfa too so I quit that.

Just looking for ways to winter those ol' girls as cheaply as possible but still get them through in good shape.

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Postby Blkbuckaroo » Sat Mar 29, 2008 7:36 am

John SD, scoop and shovel works for me to,But i prefer carrot cake knife and fork! :lol: :lol: .Seriously i was reading what you guys are paying for hay,it's almost like thier giving hay away in your neck of the woods.It's about $150 for cow hay per ton,if you can find it!And from $200 to skys the limit on horse hay in Cali, don't enen want to tell you about alfalfa go figure right.Never seen anyone in this general area cake,does'nt mean they don't,just have'nt seen it,must be real spendy though!

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Postby Big Muddy rancher » Sat Mar 29, 2008 7:44 am

Again it goes back to what works for the situation.
I have some older cows and Hfrs. wintering a couple miles away and I run over every other day and process some alfalfa bales out. I have a stack yard right there and it stretches the grazing.I also bring a couple bales in on the processor when I am coming home and feed the bulls. On the other hand I have the mature cow herd winter in the badland on the north end of the ranch 5 miles at least thru the ranch 15 miles around. Cake wouldn't even work very good because I don't see all the cows every trip up. I haul up a Canola meal and salt mixture with my mineral added and I feed this by using a cake feeder and putting it into tubs. It is about 5 times cheaper then lick tubs. I go usually twice a week .
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Postby Big Swede » Sat Mar 29, 2008 7:49 am

Hey Big Muddy, how much salt were you mixing in your recipe? In my short experiemnt I was feeding so much salt to limit their intake I thought it might be unhealthy. My vet said as long as they have plenty of water it shouldn't be a problem, but it didn't look good to me.

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Postby Big Muddy rancher » Sat Mar 29, 2008 8:03 am

Big Swede wrote:Hey Big Muddy, how much salt were you mixing in your recipe? In my short experiemnt I was feeding so much salt to limit their intake I thought it might be unhealthy. My vet said as long as they have plenty of water it shouldn't be a problem, but it didn't look good to me.


My mixture for a metric tonne was, 300kg salt,680 kg canola meal, and 20 kg canola oil. The oil was addded mainly because the meal was light so it held down the dust but it does add a bit off energy. Sure keeps their coats shiny.
To convert Kgs to Lbs multipy by 2.2. Your ton will end up at 2205lbs.
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Re: Why do you buy cake ?

Postby Blkbuckaroo » Sat Mar 29, 2008 8:10 am

efb wrote:Granted the cost per lb of protein may be cheaper for alfalfa, but wouldn't the cost of feeding it be higher ? One guy with a pick up feeder can cake ( we call it cube down here) a lot of cows in 3 or 4 hours. If you were trying to supplement 1000 cows spread over a lot of country with alfalfa, seems to me it would be a full time job for one man and what kind of equipment cost are involved ?
EFB,
i agree with that,if a guys gotta keep going back and fourth into the pasture to feed a 1000 cows that could cost alot in labor and gas.But as soon as i was finished reading this thread ,i was thumbing through this AG Equipment catalog and found a Bale hay and straw spreader.Has a conveyor and what looks like some kind of spreader unit on the back mounted on a 78 white ten wheel truck,made by kirby mfg.Looks like you could feed quite a few head with this thing.Has anyone ever run such an animal?? :???: ,

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Postby movin' on » Sat Mar 29, 2008 8:46 am

Feeding alfalfa to a large number of cows is not a problem. Yes, you have to have a bale-bed to get the job done, but they will usually outlast several pickups. Alfalfa is the best hay in for unrolling, too. A good alfalfa bale that was baled right can take 1/4 to nearly 1/2 a mile to unroll. That's quite a bit of area for the cows to line up on both sides of and eat.

For those of you that have a tractor close to where the cows winter, there is a wonderful bale-unroller contraption they make for the three point. They are way less expensive than a conventional bale-bed for a pickup. If anyone is interested, I'll post a link on here.

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Postby Denny » Sat Mar 29, 2008 8:52 am

In our area most guys who fertilize feed nothing but hay of course they lay on as much as they eat also..Myself I have fed wet distillars grain's the last 2 winter's but now since everyone has caught on the price went from Free to $34 per ton plus trucking.It may still sound cheap to some but it's 2/3rds moisture and labor intensive to feed to me it's not worth it.I will go back to planting corn for silage and feed hay.I don't use any fertilizer other than a little cow manure.When I first began running cows the ate a steady diet of swamp hay clear till grass.They were a little rough but bred back well and weaning weight's averaged 550#s.I know I made more money then.This winter I've really skimped my cows thru hay at $60 to $100 a bale for 8% protein is'nt worth it in my book.

From what I've seen on Alfalfa the little bit I've fed once they had some they would'nt eat my poor quality hay which I have lot's of.
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Postby Big Muddy rancher » Sat Mar 29, 2008 8:59 am

Denny wrote:In our area most guys who fertilize feed nothing but hay of course they lay on as much as they eat also..Myself I have fed wet distillars grain's the last 2 winter's but now since everyone has caught on the price went from Free to $34 per ton plus trucking.It may still sound cheap to some but it's 2/3rds moisture and labor intensive to feed to me it's not worth it.I will go back to planting corn for silage and feed hay.I don't use any fertilizer other than a little cow manure.When I first began running cows the ate a steady diet of swamp hay clear till grass.They were a little rough but bred back well and weaning weight's averaged 550#s.I know I made more money then.This winter I've really skimped my cows thru hay at $60 to $100 a bale for 8% protein is'nt worth it in my book.

From what I've seen on Alfalfa the little bit I've fed once they had some they would'nt eat my poor quality hay which I have lot's of.


I know it's another expense but some have good results tub grinding and mixing poor have with grain and or alfalfa bales. some even add straw. Many ways to feed the chopped hay from under a hot wire to feeder panel and wagons to using a mixer wagon. I used to feed silage and chopped hay in a mixer wagon. I went back to a bale processor. What ever you can make make work for your situation.
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