Saturday, September 29, 2012

Update from the Feed Yard

When Jake and I bought the feed yard we worked with several of our wonderful neighbors to by feed on an as needed bases.  Jake would make a call and have hay, corn, distillers or really whatever he wanted within 24 hours if need be.

Things are changing very positively at 4+ Feeders.  The feed yard is currently full at just over 3000 head.  The positives of a feed yard in a drought is that we have no drainage water to properly dispose of in an environmentally constructive way.  The other plus is that there is grass in very few places in this country, forcing most of the cow/calf owners to wean early and conserve grass for their cows.  This sent an early run of calves to the yard.

The negative to the drought is from the nutritional side.  It doesn't matter how wonderful our neighbors continue to be, the feed sources and options are just not available.  I found myself in Washington DC talking with personal chefs this summer.  I would explain the drought as a feed yard owner similar to the third night after you really should have went to the grocery store - you have to be very creative. You start using pancakes as hot dog buns. We will just say the testing of unusual feed sources has started.  Items like corn hay are becoming a new feed source.  Places where corn did not produce an ear big enough to combine (non irrigated ground), is now being baled as a form of forage/roughage. In a non drought year, corn hay is not an option.

The other challenges that occur during a drought year is the planning, financing stock piling and storing of these additional feed sources/options.  One might also consider and plan for, when will it rain next and when will we get original feed sources back. Well we do know we have 8-9 months before we grow anything else and cattle will need fed. So we have some nuts stored away for the winter. Okay we have a lot of things stored for the winter, but no nuts - yet.

Corn Hay

The Shotkoski Hay Company that comes to grind our hay and cobs. This company bales and grinds hay  all through the valley and are a top notch business and a friendly family.  They were one of the first to welcome us to town.

Corn Cobs

   Pictures taken by Gail Martin

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