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Cheap Bedding for Cattle

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Maple Leaf Angus

Well-known member
Feb 10, 2005
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Southern Ontario
Last week we tried something that is starting to catch on in this part of the province. We raked last fall's corn stalks into windrows and rolled them up with the round baler.

They seemed to break down enough over the winter that they didn't hurt the old New Holland side rake that I still use, other than having to replace a handful of teeth.

The stalks break up pretty fine and make better bedding than wheat or maybe even barley straw. Awfully dusty, though. Got about 6 - 4x5's per acre.
We round bale corn and bean stubble in the fall. They have to be dry so not to heat. Works great in the hay buster. Know what you mean about being dusty!
Guys that chop and bale them here in the fall have to wrap them like haylage or they turn pretty musty. Some say that the cows eat the stover bales like silage and what they don't eat makes a pack for them to sleep on.

The corn stalks seldom get dry in the fall in this part of the country. We don't get the growing season that you guys do.
We baled some last fall and luckily they turned out for as wet as everything was here. Had most of em fed by late January, good hay extenders. Noticed some of the people around here are baling stalks now too. With the weather we've had till now I'd bet it's some good stuff. Especially the ones that just combined, must really be dry.
In the early 70's I returned from Texas and Colorado. When I bought one of the first Hesston Hay Stakcers in the state a lot of neighbors thought my Dad had spent a lot of money for a college degree in Animal Science for nothing!! I stacked everything but the barn cats! I soon learned that where I stacked corn stalks the weed problem in the soybeans next year was minimal. The same went for the bean stubble I stacked.....the corn had less weed pressure. As for Corn Stalks......they make no better bedding. We pile the Stacks together and make a heck of good mound. About every 3 years we haul the mound out and start over. I think a Hesston Hay-Stock-Trash Stacker is the best money one can spend. You get a lot LESS Hay spoilage than those darn round bales. I have never owned a round baler and that is only half the story....I WON"T! I just started buying 3X3X8 big squares the last two years......I have died and gone to heaven.

I have a couple stackhands, and stack about 1/2 pivot a year. I use a 12' MC rotary scythe to windrow right behind the combine. I like to stack corn with alot of crabgrass. also stacking right after combining keeps quality up ok. I bought a 13 X 28 stackmover with a hydrafork off of the old Star ranch at Lakeside Nebraska that I feed with. I'd rather stack the old non bt corn as it seems the bt corn is rougher.

If you rotary scythe at $2/ton and stack at $2/ton you have pretty cheap feed, and then rotate into wheat for the cost of seed and drilling, the stacking game makes money.
The best bedding I've seenis canola straw it seems not to get as wet and packed down as cereal straws do-kiln dried shavings work great too they really stay dry and cattle on't eat their beds then.

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