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"Wide Loads"

SRBeef

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I was working with my cattle today and noticed they seemed to have put on a lot of width in the past 2-3 weeks or so. Many of them look like they should have a trucker's "wide load" sign on the back! Here's a photo of a couple coming over to drink from the waterer. I apologize for the angle but it shows the point.



They have been off of the corn and hay only since late January. Bull was put in July 4th. Which should mean calving about mid April unless I am mistaken.

Is it normal for cattle to really put on width this far (6-7 weeks) ahead of calving?
 

Brute 23

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I like the guard rails but it needs one more on top... our cattle would clear that and click their heels as they went over. :lol2:
 

jedstivers

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Brute 23":1uynsxy7 said:
I like the guard rails but it needs one more on top... our cattle would clear that and click their heels as they went over. :lol2:
If yours are like sweet gentle Brahma crosses I had 20 years ago they could stand flat footed right next to it and never touch it as they went over.
 

Jogeephus

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Nice looking cattle. Pen too. No expert on snow but that is some awefully clean looking snow to be in a cow pen.
 

SRBeef

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That is used guard rail around the waterer and I would highly recommend it. But it didn't start out that way! This pad is part way down a slope and had to be built up. It has a 2% slope down hill to the left in the photo. The railroad tie posts were too short on the down hill side and placed 8 ft apart for treated lumber by the incompetent crew I had put the posts and some fencing in. They put some cheapo treated soft lumber rails up and even I could almost push through them. Spacing is also dead wrong for prepunched standard guard rail. Finally decide to make the change to guardrail and do it myself. This is not a project you want to do more than once.

It's not really a pen but a split central watering area. The cattle come and go as they please with different groups on each side. This is the only water for them on the farm. Lanes converge so I can rotate pastures but they can always get back to this area. I never confine them there. The corral is much higher.

Guard rail: 1) make sure you get the true highway grade guard rail, not the cheapo lightweight new looking stuff with poor galvanizing. 2) make sure your posts are setup for standard guard rail punched hole spacing (6'-3") and lengths (12'-6" or 25'-0). Life is much easier! As you can see I had to plate up the too short rails and cut and drill a lot. Because I didn't think of guardrail from the start it took me about 3 times as long to complete. Here is a link with dimensional info on std highway guardrail:

http://www.southernguardrail.com/guard_rail.html see the "W" rail spec at the bottom.

2) About height - in a corral I would agree they need to be 6 ft to the top. However around the waterer here I think this is about 4-1/2 ft. IF there is one of my cows or even a bull that even looks like he is thinking of jumping that fence he will be hamburger as soon as I can back up the trailer! I don't want cattle like that.

Wide loads - I appreciate the comments that they look about normal for Herefords due to calve in about 7 weeks. I don't remember the group as looking that wide in the past but maybe I just wasn't watching as close as I am this year.

Snow - keep in mind this is Wisconsin. We had 4-6" Fri night and Sat. It was about 20 deg F high today and windy. It is 11 deg F outside as I type this. I like snow and cold. It's Wisconsin! I don't like mud! I'd like the weather to go from 10-20 deg F and snow cover to 65 deg F and green grass to graze in about one week! It may look nice but this time of year there is a lot of bovine fertilizer under that nice white snow.

I can't type too much but here are some more photos from today. Added another bale feeder for the heifer yearlings. I like the Common Sense cradles but needed more bale feeder spaces. I bought a Bexla feeder to try. I noticed on my standard rings they eat the bale from the top down and often never eat the bottom. This one makes them eat from the bottom in a head down position. We'll see how it works. This is the first bale in it. Looks like it might be more flexible in tight locations than the big cradles.

We posted earlier about bale sleeves and packing bales tight or loose end to end etc. This time of year last year I had an enormous amount of bale spoilage on netwrap only July bales. Even I was coughing and had red eyes from removing the netwrap and 6-12" of moldy outer layers.

This past summer I put black plastic bale sleeves over the bales as I brought them in and packed tight end to end based on a suggestion here. As you can see the bales on my tractor, the sleeves and end to end tight worked beautifully! Almost no waste. A lot of green showing even on the outer layer of these bales wrapped in July. I purchase all hay so I need to minimize losses.

Grazing standing corn has also been something I got into by accident. As a Feb update, I pulled the cows out on advice from Angie and Knersie a couple weeks ago. Steers and bull are still in the corn. Steer #76 is about 10 months old and about 1000 lb. I am thinking I'd like to harvest him and a couple others at about 1100 in a month when the frost goes out and they need to come off so I can strip till more corn in between these rows.

They have eaten most of the ears in the area I opened to them. They are now eating husks and leaves and stalk tops along with whatever ears they can find. The steers and bull have hay available to them but have barely touched it in the past two weeks. Which is fine by me.

I'll start with the grazed corn pics and add a photo of the same general area from Oct when I started this experiment.

View attachment 2

View attachment 1



More to follow
 

SRBeef

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Bale quality with sleeves

View attachment 2

New Bexla feeder

View attachment 1



I'm not promoting this feeder. It looks interesting and may be better for yearlings and calves. The sheeting could have been a bit heavier duty and welded more but we'll see how it works.

It was cold today with a biting wind but sort of pretty with the clean snow. The cattle loved the sun after getting their fresh hay.
 

SRBeef

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Brute 23":347fw6fb said:
I like the guard rails but it needs one more on top... our cattle would clear that and click their heels as they went over. :lol2:

This ground slopes down hill to the left in the photo. It took quite a bit of dirt and concrete work to get this pad where it is. The problem with height is that I need RR ties maybe 12-15 ft long to get another rail on. Std RR tie length is 8'-6 if I recall correctly. If I had it to do over again I'd probably use some steel well casing for posts in this waterer area.

This height is really ok if you don't try to confine them. The only reason for even going to heavy duty guard rail is that there can be a whole group in there geting a drink. Just normal pushing would have broken the wood 2x6's/8ft post ctrs that I originally had in there.

The cattle have learned to take a drink a couple at a time. I've got it split in half to water the cows and heifers on one side and the steers and bull on the other. Plan is to keep them separate through mid-April calving and until rebreed time in early July when I will take the dividers down until weaning.
 

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