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Done feeding cows

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RSL

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I finished feeding cows for the winter today.
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And another spot
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Some of our swath grazing (14' rows)
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Rake bunches
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We are doing the bale grazing as an experiment with AESB (PFRA). They have taken soil samples from our site and we buried 3 of these a couple of weeks ago.
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They record moisture at 18, 9 and 3" and soil temperature at 3 and 9" every hour for the next 3 years.
Feed tests should come back this week. I have been running some bale grazing economics and the results are pretty staggering.
It took me 6.25 hours to place 320 hay and 70 straw bales. I put out 17,488 cow days of feed (1250 pound cow at 2.5% of body weight). This is a herd of 150 cows for 117 days.
I valued labour at $15 and tractor at $50 per hour. Total cost $406.25.
Feeding traditionally takes us 2 hours per day ($130 using above costs). Total winter cost for 117 days $15210 the traditional way.
It takes me 1/2 hour per week to move wire over the 17 weeks. That works out to $1778 an hour for moving wire.
These are economic values and not cash costs, but they were pretty staggering. The feed cost and trucking was the same whether they put them in the yard or scatter them in the field.
Even if we have a 20% waste we are way ahead. The fertilizer value will be determined by all the testing they are doing, but AB Ag suggests it is $15 per bale. This would drive the cost down further yet, and no corral cleaning bill.
 

young rancher

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The bales look good and I am sure your math is right. However, I have a few questions:

1. The UofS has realized that by turning the bales on their sides instead of their ends it increases utilization by about 25 to 30%. Are you marking the bales that are on their sides to determine the difference in utilization and fertilizer too?

2. I believe this study has been done at the WBDC in Saskatchewan for two years and in Alberta at the Leduc research station too. What is the difference between your study and theirs? What do you hope to achieve?

3. I have seen results from bale grazing and there is definitely a huge increase in soil fertility. However, I have seen the damages too as if the waste is too great it can and will kill the grass. What kind of pasture are you bale grazing on?

4. How long is this study going to last? Of course, the time taken for the "waste" to decompose into fertilizer may take longer than one year to break down, which could cause an huge increase in the first year, and minor increase from first to second and finally, a decrease in the third year.

5. Is there any emphasis on the type of forage you are using? For example, alfalfa to grass ratios or protein values to carbohydrates.

Look forward to your answers and results from the study.
 

Brisco Beef

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I have been keeping an eye on this feeding method too and look forward to your results. Don't forget to factor in removing twine. Deer and elk might be a problem in some areas.
 

PATB

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Why turn the bales on end? The moisture here would destroy the hay or freeze it solid. I set bales out on there side as it will shed rain and snow better with less waste in my enviroment.
 

RSL

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young rancher said:
The bales look good and I am sure your math is right. However, I have a few questions:

1. The UofS has realized that by turning the bales on their sides instead of their ends it increases utilization by about 25 to 30%. Are you marking the bales that are on their sides to determine the difference in utilization and fertilizer too?

2. I believe this study has been done at the WBDC in Saskatchewan for two years and in Alberta at the Leduc research station too. What is the difference between your study and theirs? What do you hope to achieve?

3. I have seen results from bale grazing and there is definitely a huge increase in soil fertility. However, I have seen the damages too as if the waste is too great it can and will kill the grass. What kind of pasture are you bale grazing on?

4. How long is this study going to last? Of course, the time taken for the "waste" to decompose into fertilizer may take longer than one year to break down, which could cause an huge increase in the first year, and minor increase from first to second and finally, a decrease in the third year.

5. Is there any emphasis on the type of forage you are using? For example, alfalfa to grass ratios or protein values to carbohydrates.

Look forward to your answers and results from the study.

1. I have done both to see the difference. They are endwise as it is actually a replication of work done at U of M.
2. It is actually more of an applied research project with AESB to demo the results and also show the soil fertility effects and the duration of those effects. Also to show the waste of nutrients for those who bale graze the same ground year after year. I am not worried about killing the grass, as there isn't much growing here anyway.
3.The pasture is our sacrifice pasture. Primarily quackgrass, and redtop. It is our very worst paddock on our entire farm.
4. The study is to last 3 years with soil testing and monitoring over that time frame.
5. no emphasis on particular forages, however there is detailed feed analysis.

The twine has to be removed no matter how we feed, but I have a couple of kids that will work for $0.50 per bale.

The deer will eat it in the stackyard or in the field, so it is a non-issue. At least this way they don't jump on the stacks and wreck a bunch of bales at once. Besides, they are tied up in our swath grazing right now. :lol:
I think if elk move in that would be a real problem.
 

Hayguy

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i believe that originally bales were put on end to make twine removal easier when adverse conditions arrived. pulling twine from froze down bales is no fun, why do you think they invented bale processors :lol: :lol: ooops did i say that, oh well.
 

Gomez

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I agree, i wish there was an easy mechanized way of removing twine. This is on the menu for tomorrow. We have a bunch done, but got 600 to do tomorrow. That's a full a for a couple of guys.
 

burnt

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Well that sure looks fascinating and hopefully it meets all your objectives. I can see that it sure will save a lot of trips out into nasty weather come winter. It sure will be interesting to see the long-term results as they accumulate over the life of your project. You are documenting scientifically what Northern Rancher has done experientially!

t must be a reflection on your winter conditions - here in Southern Ontario, if we were to set bales out like that, they would be a block of moldy ice by New Years day! Too much fall rain and freeze/thaw until into January. Then we can get 2 or 3 feet of snow (or more in the hollows) . . . :roll:

I've seen where some guys here let a few cows at a row of bales over the winter and within a few weeks the cows were reaching into a black, frozen hay tube to get at edible hay in the centers of the bales!

So your climate must be more favorable than ours for that system to work.
 

Larrry

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That is the worst thing just as you get it all figured out how it will work, mother nature throws a curve ball at you. But heck thats life.
 

loomixguy

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I just started 130 pairs on LOOMIX yesterday who are running on a section of grass that was swathed and baled with an old Allis Roto Baler. :shock: Those little round bales are EVERYWHERE. Since that's what Dad baled with while I was growing up, it was deja vu all over again! I see no reason why the little round bale deal won't work, and work well, as long as the snow doesn't get too awful deep.
 

gcreekrch

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Gomez said:
I agree, i wish there was an easy mechanized way of removing twine. This is on the menu for tomorrow. We have a bunch done, but got 600 to do tomorrow. That's a full a for a couple of guys.

Use sisal twine. :wink:
 

RSL

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burnt said:
Well that sure looks fascinating and hopefully it meets all your objectives. I can see that it sure will save a lot of trips out into nasty weather come winter. It sure will be interesting to see the long-term results as they accumulate over the life of your project. You are documenting scientifically what Northern Rancher has done experientially!

t must be a reflection on your winter conditions - here in Southern Ontario, if we were to set bales out like that, they would be a block of moldy ice by New Years day! Too much fall rain and freeze/thaw until into January. Then we can get 2 or 3 feet of snow (or more in the hollows) . . . :roll:

I've seen where some guys here let a few cows at a row of bales over the winter and within a few weeks the cows were reaching into a black, frozen hay tube to get at edible hay in the centers of the bales!

So your climate must be more favorable than ours for that system to work.

I am already convinced that it works. One of our commitments is to participate in some field days, so that is exciting as the documentation may help others to investigate the option.
Our falls can be wet, but basically our winter is cold without freeze/thaw/rain cycles. Our friends at Yorkton all bale graze on the side because of that very reason.
The other thing for us is that we run older equipment with our only tractor being a 1982 4240. The risk of a breakdown in cold weather when cows need to eat is greatly reduced. That risk for us is larger than a weather risk.
We have set out bale grazing in the past, but have never made it as far as using it, as our grazing system has often allowed us to graze straight through winter without getting into our bale stacks. We have historically backgrounded calves in the corral, but will be moving them into open fields with portable windbreaks. That will drive our backgrounding costs down a bunch as well. Bale grazing should work pretty well for that.
 

Hayguy

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loomixguy said:
I just started 130 pairs on LOOMIX yesterday who are running on a section of grass that was swathed and baled with an old Allis Roto Baler. :shock: Those little round bales are EVERYWHERE. Since that's what Dad baled with while I was growing up, it was deja vu all over again! I see no reason why the little round bale deal won't work, and work well, as long as the snow doesn't get too awful deep.

pictures i need pictures :lol: have'nt seen those little bales for a long time. Uncle kept one baler well into the 80's to use in a wet year. lots of years ended up turning the cows in to find them in the snow. we always thought he was so far behind but maybe he was first :wink:
 

Hayguy

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gcreekrch said:
Gomez said:
I agree, i wish there was an easy mechanized way of removing twine. This is on the menu for tomorrow. We have a bunch done, but got 600 to do tomorrow. That's a full a for a couple of guys.

Use sisal twine. :wink:


do you not still have to remove sisal twine? how else do you get rid of it, i know that it will rot down eventually but that takes awile
 

Lonecowboy

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hayguy said:
loomixguy said:
I just started 130 pairs on LOOMIX yesterday who are running on a section of grass that was swathed and baled with an old Allis Roto Baler. :shock: Those little round bales are EVERYWHERE. Since that's what Dad baled with while I was growing up, it was deja vu all over again! I see no reason why the little round bale deal won't work, and work well, as long as the snow doesn't get too awful deep.

pictures i need pictures :lol: have'nt seen those little bales for a long time. Uncle kept one baler well into the 80's to use in a wet year. lots of years ended up turning the cows in to find them in the snow. we always thought he was so far behind but maybe he was first :wink:

As long as you are running with the leaders, it doesn't matter which lap you are on! :D
 

3words

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I have also tried baling grazing for the first time this year,and i can't believe how simple it is,and how much the cows clean up.I'm doing it like Northern Rancher told me to do it,and putting out enough feed to last the cows for 2 weeks.No electric fence no feeders just turn the cows out into all the bales at one time.Last week the temperature was down as low as minus 30,snowstorm for a day and a half and really windy all week.Cows averaged 40 pounds of feed a day,and that is coming off the pasture and the cows filling themselves up.I sure can't complain about.Thank you for the advice Northern Rancher,now if i would only switch to may calving you might make a rancher out of me yet. :D RSL keep us updated on all the progress and results.
 

gcreekrch

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hayguy said:
gcreekrch said:
Gomez said:
I agree, i wish there was an easy mechanized way of removing twine. This is on the menu for tomorrow. We have a bunch done, but got 600 to do tomorrow. That's a full a for a couple of guys.

Use sisal twine. :wink:


do you not still have to remove sisal twine? how else do you get rid of it, i know that it will rot down eventually but that takes awile

We roll our bales out with the sisal twine still on them. there is very little twine noticable when we are haying and I don't find much rapped around the modules on the discbine.

The only thing I may do is cut the twine on the bales if eartag retention is something you are concerned about.
 

NUFFIELD

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You guys have it made if that works.
Would you think it would be worthwhile having ring feeders to drop over bales to reduce waste,
i know you would probally need the loader to move them .

your land should benifit from 5 months muck concentrated in one area.

There are some farmers here doing similar to you useing saved up grass or forage crops and feeding bales that are wrapped in plastic . Saves a lot of work compared with indoor housing however it only suit dry land
 

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