My drought strategy

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wbvs58

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I went to a clearing sale today to buy an Isuzu tipper (dump truck) which I went to $5500 but it sold for $7500, not to worry, I bought some old concrete water troughs, 6 of them about 2.5m long complete with stands for $100. I am pretty pleased with that. I have been clearing 2ha (5acres) in my 600 acre scrub block to make a small feedlot, these concrete troughs I will set up as feed bunks. My strategy for drought or when things go belly up and there is a bit of a gap in the rainfall especially in summer is to put the cows into this 600 acres. It is low quality feed, OK for dry cows but won't sustain them with a calf on them so I feed them a grain mix, the problem is it gets bloody dangerous tipping in the feed so I need an alley way for me to be in and the cows the other side of the feed bunk. I have some steel cable to run over the top of the bunk leaving a gap for them to feed, anyhow I'm pushing ahead with building it and hope I never need it but inevitably I'm sure it will get plenty of use. The cows will always find plenty of roughage in the 600 acres.

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Stocker Steve

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Lots of different approaches here for winter feeding during a drought. A short list:

Sell cows and any hay
Sell young stock
Ship cows out of state
Wait for government to subsidize importing hay
Plant SS or millet and hope for rain
Make silage out of poor corn
Cut hay in low meadows or swamps
 

moses388

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Planning to graze more cropland this fall after the crops are out. More temporary fencing...

No ethanol in your chainsaw. In your fuel/oil mix use pure gasoline - "Premium 91"
 
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wbvs58

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Further out west of here we have "mulga country", banks used to consider it pretty safe country for lending money as in tough times the "cockies" could push over the low shrub like mulga that provided pretty nutritious feed for sheep and cattle and it grew back well ready for the next drought. They can still do it but government regulations limit what can be done and they have to jump through hoops to get their approvals with associated costs often with consultants to answer the questions correctly.

Ken
 

gcreekrch

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A dry year makes our calves heavier and cows and hay machinery just venture fatter into the swamps.
 

Stocker Steve

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No rain in the 10 day. Abandoned my soy beans. Any tips on grazing them out?

Hope to plant an oats mix into the soy bean fields for fall grazing, but I am not buying any seed till we get some rain...

Sorting yearling heifers and pairs today. Another load goes next week. Will have a fancy herd if this keeps up.
 

Nick Wagner

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No rain in the 10 day. Abandoned my soy beans. Any tips on grazing them out?

Hope to plant an oats mix into the soy bean fields for fall grazing, but I am not buying any seed till we get some rain...

Sorting yearling heifers and pairs today. Another load goes next week. Will have a fancy herd if this keeps up.
Cows love soybeans. Strip graze using temporary fence.
 

Stocker Steve

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Called three grain guys to try ordering wheat or oat straw out of the Red River Valley. One called back and thought he could help me. Will have to wean early to winter cows on straw in the artic vortex.
 

BFE

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Called three grain guys to try ordering wheat or oat straw out of the Red River Valley. One called back and thought he could help me. Will have to wean early to winter cows on straw in the artic vortex.
Gas the bales, you can make pretty good feed from them that way I hear. Also can water down molasses, set bales on end, and dump it over them. Cow candy.
 

BFE

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I've never had to feed straw to make it through, but older neighbors have. If I had to, I'd go to the feed mill in Mt. Erie about ten miles away and have them fill 250 gallon totes.

It just hit me, you could do the same with corn syrup. A dairy friend of mine gets it by the truckload, and will sell it to others in the area. I'd have to look for the analysis, but it was approx. 13% protein as fed. I fed it by the bucket, cows love it, but it's a mess. Best way would be to set up a gravity system with totes and run it in a bunk, in a poor boy setup. It was about $70/ ton three years ago, no idea what it is now. Might be more bang for the buck than molasses.
 

Stocker Steve

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Corn chopping is in full swing here. Normally this is done in September. I am holding out for beet tailings to feed on pasture.

I have creep feeders on one grazing system. Three and four weight calves are not eating a lot but they have put a shine on. Guesstimate feed conversion at 7 to 1. VOG on light steer calves is about $1.80 so creep pays for a while even though it is very expensive. I like to creep for a month before early weaning.

Cull cow prices have dropped a little but pair prices are up. I am out of big or ugly cows so selling pairs dollars up higher.
 
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Stocker Steve

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The neighbor I had been buying some hay from for a number of years just bought a new 4x5 baler. Said he was planning to clean up next year selling small bales to horse women with new 1 ton duellies. Sounds like I am out.

First 30 ton load of beet tailings will arrive next week. Book says they average 18% DM. So I need to find an effective way to store and feed it. Any tips on making a silage pile with beets?
 
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Buck Randall

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Unless you've got a good concrete pad and side walls somewhere, I think you're going to have a really high rate of spoilage. Do you have a way to mix in some dry straw or marsh hay and bag it?
 

Rydero

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The neighbor I had been buying some hay from for a number of years just bought a new 4x5 baler. Said he was planning to clean up next year selling small bales to horse women with new 1 ton duellies. Sounds like I am out.

First 30 ton load of beet tailings will arrive next week. Book says they average 18% DM. So I need to find an effective way to store and feed it. Any tips on making a silage pile with beets?
You couldn't find the bean culls I told you about or too pricey? You can bin them.

At that moisture level they should keep, no? We dump loads of ddg's on good ground (silage plastic over the pile for rain) at work and load the wagon w/ a loader bucket. Couple years back we did oat hulls and made a 3 sided shelter for them out of bales stacked on end to keep the wind off.

How you going to feed them?
 

Rydero

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Unless you've got a good concrete pad and side walls somewhere, I think you're going to have a really high rate of spoilage. Do you have a way to mix in some dry straw or marsh hay and bag it?
Interesting idea. You mean a silage bagger? Maybe get a tub grinder and dump the tailings in as the bales shred and bag what comes off the conveyor. Probably be a logistical nightmare lining everything up and getting things to grind, mix and bag at the right rates.
 

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