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Broke Cowboy

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Pencil it out and I bet the added fertilizer, negated manure spreading and less fence requirements bring the cost to less than feeders and some lost hay.

We put out the bales, feed all the cattle and do not even bother to close gates or worry about fences once the snow comes - they will stay beside bales until they are all gone.

NR - when was the last time you bought fert for your pastures?

Then listen to the costs spent by those down south on their fert costs.

I can honestly say we have not put fert on a hay field or a pasture in over five years since we started this.

We have had excellent weed control since we started doing this and we have seen a noted improvement in all pastures since we started this - all compliments of the cattle.

Last winter we did not use a tractor once to feed cows - no wear and tear and no fuel costs. Some folks down south roll out hay every day with their tractors and tell me it is because they do not want to waste hay?

That "no machinery" has to be worth something.

I have two feeders - solid and capable of handling about 20 head at a time each - stored inside - anyone want them - come and get them - we will likely never use them again.

I am a convert to bale grazing and will likely never go back.

Best to all

BC
 

Silver

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Northern Rancher said:
You know I've had about fifty guys tell me I had no choice up here too. Waste is waste whether it's pulled out of a feeder or not-I'm not about to invest in 35 bale feeders and the diesel to move them around in the field every week-that's just not canny. There's richer, smarter and thriftier ranchers than me don't use them so I just follow their example. One thing I find amazing is guys fighting snow to haul hay in-to feed in a pen so they can haul crap out. The fields are right by the buildings its a lot easier to trail cows out to the feed and run a hot wire if you so desire. One guy I met bales half his ground every year with no twine-bale grazes it that winter than pastures it the next summer. The next year he bales it again -the pasture year has taken care of all the manure breakdown.

I feed in the field too, but it has to be hauled out daily and I roll it out. End of story. Unless of course you'd like to come out and guard the hay with a rifle :lol: . There's a reason it's under game fence all winter. Elk will chase a cow right off the feed pile too, so bale grazing is out. As much as I would like to be able to, I can't. There's been guys thought they were pretty clever and tried it, then bought hay and went back to the 'old way'.
Not everything works for everybody. :wink:
 

Grassfarmer

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Pencil it out and I bet the added fertilizer, negated manure spreading and less fence requirements bring the cost to less than feeders and some lost hay.

We put out the bales, feed all the cattle and do not even bother to close gates or worry about fences once the snow comes - they will stay beside bales until they are all gone.

NR - when was the last time you bought fert for your pastures?

Then listen to the costs spent by those down south on their fert costs.

I can honestly say we have not put fert on a hay field or a pasture in over five years since we started this.

We have had excellent weed control since we started doing this and we have seen a noted improvement in all pastures since we started this - all compliments of the cattle.

Last winter we did not use a tractor once to feed cows - no wear and tear and no fuel costs. Some folks down south roll out hay every day with their tractors and tell me it is because they do not want to waste hay?

That "no machinery" has to be worth something.

I have two feeders - solid and capable of handling about 20 head at a time each - stored inside - anyone want them - come and get them - we will likely never use them again.

I am a convert to bale grazing and will likely never go back.
BC - I've penciled it out - and it doesn't work for me. Common myths with bale grazing:
1. There is a belief that somehow bale grazing can mystically generate extra nutrients - it can't. Bring in 100 bales from elsewhere and either bale graze or feed in rings and the net nutrients imported will be the same whether it goes through the cow or not. If you are counting the benefit of adding litter and getting good manure/litter/soil contact that certainly has a value but it is not adding extra nutrients - this effect can be reproduced cheaper by feeding or bale grazing some straw. We don't use fertiliser either and get considerably more bang for our buck by adding legume seeds to our cattle minerals and reseeding the place that way.
2. The "no machinery" part is another myth - you still place every bale out in the pasture just like I do. You may get it done on a custom basis or with your own tractor, in one day in the fall or daily all winter but the bales get handled with machinery just the same. In fact because the wastage with bale grazing is higher you will actually have to handle more bales with a tractor to compensate for the wastage and ensure your cows get adequate feed.
I really liked the article in Stockmangrassfarmer last month by Steve Kenyon - one of the biggest advocates of bale grazing and swathgrazing. He used neither this winter because they didn't pencil - hay was too dear and grain prices looked too high in the spring for his grain farming neighbor to rent him a crop to swath graze. I think that is an important message - we must continue to use a pencil rather than just pick a system we like and run with it. I have looked, and will continue to look at all the options, bale grazing included but thus far it does not pencil for me.
Should I be taking advice from someone called "Broke Cowboy"? :? maybe "wealthy rancher" is the guy I should listen to :lol: :lol:
 

Northern Rancher

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I guess you just need crappy enough hay the elk won't eat it-I know not funny!!! That's a pretty good sign when your buying hay if the deer are into it-they don't go after the crappy stuff. We haven't seeded new grass or fertilized in 15 or 20 years-it's so long ago that I can't remember-rotational grazing and feeding out on the pastures seems to do it. Do I get maximum production-Not At All-do I grow enough grass for my cows-YUP. When we took an HRM course we had as many Animal/days/acre as anybody else. Lots of areas can be improved on for sure. We have enough feeders to feed the yard cattle and that's about it. Silver do you feed alot of wild meadow hay or is it all tame-just curious.
 

Silver

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Northern Rancher said:
I guess you just need crappy enough hay the elk won't eat it-I know not funny!!! That's a pretty good sign when your buying hay if the deer are into it-they don't go after the crappy stuff. We haven't seeded new grass or fertilized in 15 or 20 years-it's so long ago that I can't remember-rotational grazing and feeding out on the pastures seems to do it. Do I get maximum production-Not At All-do I grow enough grass for my cows-YUP. When we took an HRM course we had as many Animal/days/acre as anybody else. Lots of areas can be improved on for sure. We have enough feeders to feed the yard cattle and that's about it. Silver do you feed alot of wild meadow hay or is it all tame-just curious.

We don't have any native grass worth haying, although in drought years we will head into the sloughs and get some ripgut. Any port in a storm.
I really like the idea of bale grazing, and would do it for sure if I could.
We try to cover the poorer ground when we feed in the fields too, and it sure seems to help.
 

Northern Rancher

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I was thinking that the wildies would leave the wild hay alone if you put some of it up. There are some pretty productive wild meadows in our country if you can get it. I've seen 600 bales go from excellent quality hay to under water in one weekend when a big summer rain hits. Alot of cattle winter on slough hay and nothing but up here.
 

Silver

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I've thought about that, and some people have tried putting out poor quality hay out in the bush to keep the elk back with some limited sucess.
Problem with slough grass is you can only get in a drought year, which means you need it.
I have a neighbour who is managing a chunk of land (about 20 sections) for a Texan. The Texan has no cattle, allows no hunting, and considers his place an elk preserve. He has his manager grain feed the elk all winter. Problem is that after they eat the grain they go on the prowl for ruffage, and 500 elk can consume a lot of it.
I was thinking though that the solution may be to buy (or rent) a fertalizer spreader like he uses, drive out into one of my fields with it and honk the horn like he does. Enough folks with the right fire power could do a lot of damage :shock:
 

Northern Rancher

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usually guys put their best hay back aways to keep deer back-I was thinking wild hay would work best for bale grazing because the wildies don't get in it as bad-up here anyway.
 

mrj

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What is the annual precipitation you fellows get? While we haven't tried that method of feeding hay, actual don't feed much anyway. it is interesting but I can't believe it would work well if at all, with our measly 12" to 15" ANNUAL precip. Fortunately for us much of it does come during our 90 to 120 day growing season......in the rare years we are not having a drought.

We have mostly native grasses, with not a lot of land level enough to safely farm due to wind and rain erosion that hits farmed ground pretty hard.

We did feed cows some hay most of March, but were able to stop last week.....unless it snows again we are done with that. Have quite a bit of old hay and feed cake a couple of times a week for some additional nutrition.

It just seems we should be able to get more production out of our land, but don't want to compromise it by overgrazing, either.

mrj
 

George

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I thought we had cut into the deer numbers but when I looked at the herd yesterday I think the deer out numbered the cattle - - - - It is quite a pisser but what do you do?
 

Denny

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mrj said:
What is the annual precipitation you fellows get? While we haven't tried that method of feeding hay, actual don't feed much anyway. it is interesting but I can't believe it would work well if at all, with our measly 12" to 15" ANNUAL precip. Fortunately for us much of it does come during our 90 to 120 day growing season......in the rare years we are not having a drought.

We have mostly native grasses, with not a lot of land level enough to safely farm due to wind and rain erosion that hits farmed ground pretty hard.

We did feed cows some hay most of March, but were able to stop last week.....unless it snows again we are done with that. Have quite a bit of old hay and feed cake a couple of times a week for some additional nutrition.

It just seems we should be able to get more production out of our land, but don't want to compromise it by overgrazing, either.

mrj


I think I would just keep doing what your doing..
 

Denny

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George said:
I thought we had cut into the deer numbers but when I looked at the herd yesterday I think the deer out numbered the cattle - - - - It is quite a pisser but what do you do?

Keep shooting them.
 

kolanuraven

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Nicky said:
kolanuraven said:
mrj said:
our measly 12" to 15" ANNUAL precip.


We got that much in the last 6 wks alone!!!!

It could take us two years to get that :shock:


It was supposed to dry off today....but nooooooooooooooooo, it's POURING outside right now.

This is getting old....................
 

Soapweed

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kolanuraven said:
Nicky said:
kolanuraven said:
We got that much in the last 6 wks alone!!!!

It could take us two years to get that :shock:


It was supposed to dry off today....but nooooooooooooooooo, it's POURING outside right now.

This is getting old....................

Try to remember how dry you were last year. This helps to make rain a much more fun experience. :wink: :)
 

Mrs.Greg

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kolanuraven said:
Nicky said:
kolanuraven said:
We got that much in the last 6 wks alone!!!!

It could take us two years to get that :shock:


It was supposed to dry off today....but nooooooooooooooooo, it's POURING outside right now.

This is getting old....................
Try being happy about it rainin all night just to look outside and that rains turned to snow.... :?


We're in the same boat Nicky is,IF we get 7" in a year its a pretty wet yr.
 

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