Bale feeders for shredding green feed into

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Bale feeders for shredding green feed into

Mar 9, 2017 | 17:30 1 Been on a kick to build a feeder which a guy can shred bales into. First one seems to be working. I'll post a picture later if anyone is interested. Working on another with a sloped in top rail so it's easier for cows to access the feeder. Why I'm doing this is to address the problem of waste when feeding grew feed. Anecdotally what I've seen so far is a substantial reduction in waste. With hay I'd rather roll it out or put in a feeder. Shredding wrecks good hay. Reply With Quote
Mar 9, 2017 | 18:41 2 I have a feeder also has gate you open drive to and shred bale in only problem cows stand with head and feed blows in face hard on eyes so we chase cows out fill feeders then leave cows back in Reply With Quote
Mar 9, 2017 | 19:20 3 I could see that happening. So far I shred a bit on the ground so they stay back. Here is a picture of the one I'm working on.
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Mar 9, 2017 | 21:39 4 Have you figured the cost of "the waste" feeding greenfeed in rings or whatever? Does it exceed the cost of running a bale processor to put the same bale back into a different feed container in loose form bearing in mind if you're feeding on pasture the "waste" is being returned directly to the land or if you're feeding in corrals it's supplying bedding. Cows aren't stupid, they're not usually wasting the good stuff. Reply With Quote
Mar 9, 2017 | 22:42 5
Quote Originally Posted by grassfarmer View Post
Have you figured the cost of "the waste" feeding greenfeed in rings or whatever? Does it exceed the cost of running a bale processor to put the same bale back into a different feed container in loose form bearing in mind if you're feeding on pasture the "waste" is being returned directly to the land or if you're feeding in corrals it's supplying bedding. Cows aren't stupid, they're not usually wasting the good stuff.
Good point Grass. Cows are being fed in the field barley greenfeed. I have one group I'm using a bale ring for greenfeed. Waste isn't near what it is shredding on bladed off ground that is for sure. Cows tramp a good bit on the ground. Earlier this winter we had our heifer calves in the corral and dad thought it would be interesting to see if they would better utilize the feed if it was shredded and put into the bale feeder. I thought it was a silly idea but they cleaned it up so much better than putting a bale in the feeder. Years ago I seen an article in cattleman about bale shredder waste and reducing it by using a feeder ring much similar to a bottomless silage feeder except 7 feet wide. I built one but found you couldn't get much in nor keep the cows from getting in. So this winter I added a bunk rail to it and a solid end. I know a bale ring would probably be adequate but shredding into a 30 foot long feeder gives more access for the cows. That was a big reason we went to a shredder in the first place was to spread it out enough so the wimps wouldn't get pushed away. This feeder will easily handle 30 plus cows at a crack. As well in a big snow year if you put it in a feeder like this you're not having to plow a bunch of snow to put out windrows. My thought is every time you feed you push the feeder 40 feet and spread the manure. Though Grass your points are valid and until I can substantiate concrete numbers this is just my anecdotal findings. One interesting thing is I feed every 2 days and on my non feeding day the cows are hardly feeding on the windrows but are still happily eating at the feeder. Your reply will be greatly appreciated as I respect your opinions. Reply With Quote
Mar 10, 2017 | 10:18 6 In my older age, I have left the shredder parked, and do as little as possible...;-)
(Wished I had done this earlier...)
Feeding large triticale bales, 10 per week, but 5 at a time, 2 days a week. This is for 63 cows. Twine is already off, I grapple and move into a section, and when the bales are out of the next section, the cows go in and clean up what I dropped. I can make them clean up by not feeding them a little less, but with the colder weather, I like a bit of bedding. The "wastage" will be disked in...I do move the
spots I feed, so never feed at one spot.
Had used feeders a couple of years ago, but had too much buildup right around the feeder which was harder to deal with in spring...although I could have moved feeders more regularly and problem would have been solved.
For me, this has been the simplest, cheapest way I have found....although mid April calving instead of Jan/Feb has made this possible.
Did like a feeder a fellow from Alder Flats makes...it has door at end, but bottom of feeder panel swings in as feed is used up. Good luck with your project.....

http://www.kijiji.ca/v-livestock/red-deer/swing-feeders-for-cows-bulls-or-swing-feeder-for-calves/1214648653?enableSearchNavigationFlag=true

http://www.kijiji.ca/v-livestock/medicine-hat/self-adjusting-round-bale-tub-ground-bale-balefeeder/1152845754?enableSearchNavigationFlag=true Reply With Quote
Mar 11, 2017 | 23:18 7 The swing feeder looks interesting. I would like to see one in action. I was interested in building a cone feeder because they were reported to waste the least. However further reading on studies said when it came to sloppy greenfeed waste wasn't much less than a ring. Besides the least waste was tight tied good quality hay with strings on placed in a ring feeder. Reply With Quote
Mar 13, 2017 | 17:36 8 Everybody worries about starting a tractor if you got livestock you will need a tractor if you have a shredder and blow into feeder cattle will clean it up better. If your feeder big enough you can take a poor bale shred in then put greenfield on top old cows clean it up put poor bale in feeder they waste even if put in field they waste not everybody gets perfect feed so mix good with bad and works Reply With Quote
Mar 28, 2017 | 20:53 9 I finished the feeder and took it out to the cows. Here's a picture of it after feeding out of it for a week.
Beauty of this is you can feed a bunch of bales in it or blow in 1 1/2 bales of greenfeed. I would really like to know the exact amount of waste compared to feeding on the ground but it looks substantially less. Reply With Quote
Mar 29, 2017 | 06:36 10 Really? the waste looks about 30% from the picture but maybe it gives a false impression. Reply With Quote
Mar 29, 2017 | 08:25 11
Quote Originally Posted by grassfarmer View Post
Really? the waste looks about 30% from the picture but maybe it gives a false impression.
There is a bit over 8 days of feeding barley yellowfeed in this feeder. So about 8 bales of greenfeed there. My dads been back feeding now and don't move feeders lol. Now our calving ground is wet and we're feeding into one of these types of feeders and some ring ones. A good means to see what waste looks like compared. Greenfeed is a tough one to get them to clean all of it up. Doesn't matter what you do there'll always be substantial waste compared to hay. As long as it's going back on the land someway its not a real waste. Reply With Quote
Mar 29, 2017 | 12:17 12 WiltonRanch what was the analysis of that feed? Lots of times people are feeding straw and grain instead of greenfeed. I've never fed yellowfeed and don't plan to - don't you think the treatment it had may cause palatability issues?

I don't like these big feeders where guys can put several days worth of feed as it inevitably leads to increased wastage particularly where they stack two bales high. I think also that # of cows per bale per day is crucial to clean up. We fed the whole herd greenfeed last November in one big group, fed every day in rings with them moved to a new spot each day. I'm guessing there were animals eating 20 hours out of every 24 and there was very little wastage. I'll take a picture of the residue the next day I'm past there. Again you have to put a value on your time to feed daily vs weekly and how that relates to wastage prevented.

While it's true that any litter returned to the land isn't real waste the process of getting it there can be expensive and it's real dollars spent. If you can manage your forage resources so that you need to make less greenfeed and graze more of whatever type of forage you will always come out ahead. Trampling litter while grazing it is so much cheaper than cutting it, baling it, hauling it, feeding it out with a bale processor then having the cows trample it around a feeder. Of course you realize that or you wouldn't be building the feeder - the challenge is one of management given the climatic conditions we have and I certainly don't have all the answers. Reply With Quote
Mar 29, 2017 | 17:36 13
Quote Originally Posted by grassfarmer View Post
WiltonRanch what was the analysis of that feed? Lots of times people are feeding straw and grain instead of greenfeed. I've never fed yellowfeed and don't plan to - don't you think the treatment it had may cause palatability issues?

I don't like these big feeders where guys can put several days worth of feed as it inevitably leads to increased wastage particularly where they stack two bales high. I think also that # of cows per bale per day is crucial to clean up. We fed the whole herd greenfeed last November in one big group, fed every day in rings with them moved to a new spot each day. I'm guessing there were animals eating 20 hours out of every 24 and there was very little wastage. I'll take a picture of the residue the next day I'm past there. Again you have to put a value on your time to feed daily vs weekly and how that relates to wastage prevented.

While it's true that any litter returned to the land isn't real waste the process of getting it there can be expensive and it's real dollars spent. If you can manage your forage resources so that you need to make less greenfeed and graze more of whatever type of forage you will always come out ahead. Trampling litter while grazing it is so much cheaper than cutting it, baling it, hauling it, feeding it out with a bale processor then having the cows trample it around a feeder. Of course you realize that or you wouldn't be building the feeder - the challenge is one of management given the climatic conditions we have and I certainly don't have all the answers.
True. I don't analyze any feed or what not. Should really do. As far as yellowfeed this is pretty much grain and straw. Lol. Sprayed at what I thought was early dough but more like mid dough. Still though we vaccinated the large group today and they appear in great condition. I'd say a bcs over 3. Maybe too fat. Yeah I've had them clean other greenfeed better. Best cleanup I've had is a mix of wheat oats and barley. I'll go that way again once I get some more seed oats grown. Reason I've done barley yellowfeed is on account of shitty harvest weather. Silage is a no go and this is the least labour and time intensive option for me. Reply With Quote
Mar 30, 2017 | 00:02 14 I agree that greenfeed is the hardest stuff to get the animals to clean up. Last winter we wrapped 1800 bales of oats @25% moisture that we couldn't get dry. It never fermented and we fed all of them through 3 bale feeders that we moved every day. This was done on our grazing alfalfa and I was sure we were going to kill it from too thick of waste (probably 20%) and for how chewed up the ground got in the warm spells. We were wrong and the alfalfa came back better than ever. Here's a shot of the feeders on a warm day.

This year we chopped the same fields and I would figure waste under 4%.

We generally don't set out to grow grain for greenfeed/silage (but had to due to a conflict with a landlord ) as we feel alfalfa is cheaper to grow and easier to feed. Would alfalfa be an option for you since it could bale graze easier? Reply With Quote
Mar 30, 2017 | 06:39 15
Quote Originally Posted by woodland View Post
I agree that greenfeed is the hardest stuff to get the animals to clean up. Last winter we wrapped 1800 bales of oats @25% moisture that we couldn't get dry. It never fermented and we fed all of them through 3 bale feeders that we moved every day. This was done on our grazing alfalfa and I was sure we were going to kill it from too thick of waste (probably 20%) and for how chewed up the ground got in the warm spells. We were wrong and the alfalfa came back better than ever. Here's a shot of the feeders on a warm day.

This year we chopped the same fields and I would figure waste under 4%.

We generally don't set out to grow grain for greenfeed/silage (but had to due to a conflict with a landlord ) as we feel alfalfa is cheaper to grow and easier to feed. Would alfalfa be an option for you since it could bale graze easier?
I like that idea. Straight alfalfa or a mix? Reply With Quote
Mar 30, 2017 | 20:37 16 Generally we plant a fairly high percentage alfalfa with orchard grass or Timothy. My brother has been pushing the fertilizer (P K S) to it pretty hard but the yield has definitely been worth it. Last year was an exceptional year and we got 10 Tonne/acre on first cut and 5 Tonne/ acre on the second of silage on our newer fields. We just bought a tedder to try and get dry hay. Last summer it rained every two days so most everything got chopped instead.

I know guys around here that set all their bales, pull the net wrap, and string electric wires before the snow for grazing but we do it a little different. Two or three of us go out once a week and set enough bales for the next week and pull the wrap that way we don't use any electric string. I don't seem to have luck with fencers. Between hills, snowdrifts, moose, and grumpy cows the odds seem stacked against me. That way if you have lots of snow your bales aren't buried in a drift.


Here's the new "tool" and hopefully we can bale instead of chopping. It makes life so much easier in more ways than one. Reply With Quote
Mar 30, 2017 | 21:17 17 WR, your mention of the good condition your cows are in brings up another aspect of this equation. Giving more feed and allowing cows to select the best out of it always puts them in better condition. You don't want to put excess condition on the cows but if they are in better shape rather than to the leaner side that might negate a lot of the cost of "wasted feed".

Woodland your idea of setting the bales out once a week makes sense in that it gives you some flexibility if weather conditions changed and you had to move the cows elsewhere. Winters like we just came through re-enforce the need for flexibility in these extensive feeding systems!

We have been seeding alfalfa/grass stands here to silage the first cut then regraze in late fall. We've been getting 8 T/acre silage then 30 cow days/acre grazing and leaving a lot of litter behind. Economically we are way ahead as custom seeding a cereal crop every year with cost of seed and fertilizer soon adds up plus you have less fall grazing opportunity. Reply With Quote
Mar 31, 2017 | 21:17 18 Our goal is to reseed all our pastures to grazing alfalfa over the next couple of years to crank up the production. We can't find anymore land and are losing some every year to the coal mine beside us so we feel it's our only option. We used to swath graze 30 years ago when I was a little kid but too many harsh winters killed that idea. I'm toying with the idea of trying three cuts of hay to make the windrows lighter and quicker to dry. I know a dairy by spruce grove does that and might have to talk to them about it. I appreciate the different ideas that float around here vs lots of guys that do the same thing year after year and have nothing but negative attitude. Reply With Quote
Apr 3, 2017 | 10:43 19
Quote Originally Posted by woodland View Post
Our goal is to reseed all our pastures to grazing alfalfa over the next couple of years to crank up the production. We can't find anymore land and are losing some every year to the coal mine beside us so we feel it's our only option. We used to swath graze 30 years ago when I was a little kid but too many harsh winters killed that idea. I'm toying with the idea of trying three cuts of hay to make the windrows lighter and quicker to dry. I know a dairy by spruce grove does that and might have to talk to them about it. I appreciate the different ideas that float around here vs lots of guys that do the same thing year after year and have nothing but negative attitude.
What kind of fertility are you pushing on your alfalfa? Potash isn't limiting here but phosphate and sulfurare usually needed. Reply With Quote
Apr 3, 2017 | 15:50 20 Name:  IMG_3101.jpg
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Here is a picture of where we fed greenfeed last November. Used single rings, moved every day with a lot of cattle per ring. Very little wastage and good manure distribution. About 400 cow days per acre of manure/urine applied by the animals themselves.

It's part of our redneck rejuvination efforts on one of our poorest pastures. Because there was no snow cover it was barked off very short but was already dormant. Will go in soon and broadcast 40lb P and 2-3lbs of Norgold sweet clover seed and harrow in. Leave till fairly late in the fall and graze it off - 3lbs pretty much gives you a solid stand of sweet clover even into established sod it seems. Spring of next year it should produce a huge biomass of primarily sweet clover so we'll heavily graze and trample that. After that allow nature to complete the renovation but expect there is a plentiful and diverse seed bank in the soil, the sweet clover roots will break open any hardpan as well as fix enough N to feed the grasses present. Growing a big volume of forage and getting it back into the soil through manure and trampling kickstarts the soil micro-biology. Reply With Quote
Apr 3, 2017 | 16:48 21
Quote Originally Posted by grassfarmer View Post
Name:  IMG_3101.jpg
Views: 233
Size:  95.8 KB

Here is a picture of where we fed greenfeed last November. Used single rings, moved every day with a lot of cattle per ring. Very little wastage and good manure distribution. About 400 cow days per acre of manure/urine applied by the animals themselves.

It's part of our redneck rejuvination efforts on one of our poorest pastures. Because there was no snow cover it was barked off very short but was already dormant. Will go in soon and broadcast 40lb P and 2-3lbs of Norgold sweet clover seed and harrow in. Leave till fairly late in the fall and graze it off - 3lbs pretty much gives you a solid stand of sweet clover even into established sod it seems. Spring of next year it should produce a huge biomass of primarily sweet clover so we'll heavily graze and trample that. After that allow nature to complete the renovation but expect there is a plentiful and diverse seed bank in the soil, the sweet clover roots will break open any hardpan as well as fix enough N to feed the grasses present. Growing a big volume of forage and getting it back into the soil through manure and trampling kickstarts the soil micro-biology.
That looks good. What did you use for greenfeed and when did you cut it? That is great utilization there. Like I mentioned before I want to put a few oats into my greenfeed mix for 2018 when I hopefully grow some more seed. I have a bunch of norgold and a pooped out hay field we fed a bunch of feed on. I should do that. Reply With Quote
Apr 3, 2017 | 18:09 22
Quote Originally Posted by WiltonRanch View Post
That looks good. What did you use for greenfeed and when did you cut it? That is great utilization there. Like I mentioned before I want to put a few oats into my greenfeed mix for 2018 when I hopefully grow some more seed. I have a bunch of norgold and a pooped out hay field we fed a bunch of feed on. I should do that.
It was Haymaker forage oats with some under-seeded hairy vetch. Cut the last week of July. Was disappointed with the quality - 55%TDN and @9% protein. We had hoped to cut early and get higher quality but that was about the only dry week all summer. If the alfalfa is played out in your hayfield you might want to seed some of it too as the Norgold will only get you the 2 years. Reply With Quote
Apr 3, 2017 | 20:10 23
Quote Originally Posted by grassfarmer View Post
It was Haymaker forage oats with some under-seeded hairy vetch. Cut the last week of July. Was disappointed with the quality - 55%TDN and @9% protein. We had hoped to cut early and get higher quality but that was about the only dry week all summer. If the alfalfa is played out in your hayfield you might want to seed some of it too as the Norgold will only get you the 2 years.
Good point. My problem on hay fields are the pocket gophers. Generally get 4 years before fields get rough. Can float all I want but they keep digging. Even so these fields are needed for grazing and renovating with clover would really help. Want to rotate alfalfa through my crop land as a rotation and hay source. Figure a 4 year deal, spray out after and seed direct. Looking at nutrient removal if a guys planning for 2.5 t dry matter removal wow she's hard on pks and calcium but I need something different growing there. Reply With Quote
Apr 3, 2017 | 21:46 24
Quote Originally Posted by WiltonRanch View Post
What kind of fertility are you pushing on your alfalfa? Potash isn't limiting here but phosphate and sulfurare usually needed.
We are using a blend of 10-18-18-8 and figure on about 100 lbs of product a year. Aiming to soil test every few years to check it out so it's not depleted when it's rotated back to grain.


Grassfarmer that is a very good cleanup on that greenfeed. Our cows would have better bedding I guess from the higher waste. Reply With Quote
Apr 12, 2017 | 15:47 25 I hate greenfeed, for so many reasons, but beside that, hay saver feeders do help a lot, we've built or modified most of ours to be more effective, anything to make it difficult to pull their heads out. Plain rings are bad, tombstones are worse than useless. Bale grazing would work really well if hay was free.

I like to feed many days at a time, but still want them crowded into the hay feeders enough that they don't waste it. So I'll feed the same # of bales of really good hay, some decent hay, something poor, and straw bales. They crowd into the really good hay for a day or so, then move to the next, then the next, and whatever they don't eat of the straw or poor hay, I spread around for bedding. Move the feeders everytime i feed, move windbreaks regularly. I usually feed 4 days at a time, but can go up to a week.

With good hay I'd say a couple percent waste, with straw, probably 30 to 60 and greenfeed ~5%. I choose the feeder by the type of feed. fine grass goes in the best hay saver feeders, slough hay or straw goes in rings. Reply With Quote
Apr 12, 2017 | 21:05 26 I inherited a bunch of beaten up old rings with the place here, just the 1" tubing type that had never been sheeted at all. I bought some old mine belting and put a 26" strip around the outside of the rings and it's worked really well. Reduces wastage and protects the ring itself from further abuse by the cows. Reply With Quote