loomixguy wrote:You cake feeders may need to check your options next season. No way will you get your cake as cheap as you did this season, even if you contract several semi loads. What does it cost you to cake? Your time, gas, and equipment add significantly to the overall cost. What about fines? ADM makes the best cake I have ever seen, with the fewest fines. Cake is a lot like creep, poor pellets make for a lot of fines, and fines are a waste of money, moreso if feeding on the ground.
Feeding alfalfa bales requires time, gas, and equipment as well. We usually supplement with cake, but occasionally use alfalfa in different scenarios and I can assure you in our situation it takes a lot more time to feed alfalfa than to run the cake truck around. Some of the cattle are wintered on hay meadows, but a lot of the cows are run in the hills where places with hard sod are not available to feed them--and it is sure a lot easier for them to pick cake out of the sand than alfalfa leaves. Another advantage for us when feeding cubes is that we feed just give them two-days worth every other day, which saves a lot of trips. We also get a mineral pack right in the cube to assure the cows mineral needs are being met. (we still offer free choice mineral)
The company we buy cake from bags most of the fines right off the back of the truck. We just feed them to odds and ends in the corrals, but alot of people make them take the fines back and subtract off their bill.
Both cake and alfalfa have their place, and everyone's operation is set up to work in a different way, but for us, 9 times out of 10 caking sure works better for us as we are usually short of time, short of help, and the cattle are spread out 20-30 miles.
Also, I might add just as a side note, we sample quite a bit of our native prairie hay, and this year for example, our protein levels ranged from 5 to 9%.
Just my opinion FWIW