Getting Ready for Winter

Sometimes it feels like we work 8 months of the year for the 4 months of winter.  Starting in May, we gear up for hay season and that goes through most of the summer and into early fall. Gene needs 1200 plus round bales of hay to carry him through the winter. Then there are fences to repair, cows to sort, and the list goes on and on.

For several years Gene has been researching and figuring out how to better utilize his hay and care for his herd of Angus cows.  He has been working at this in phases and this year it really came together for him.

Phase 1:  Last year he purchased a vertical round bale mixer wagon (see blog links at the end of post) and put in a 300 ft. concrete feed bunk. The mixer wagon grinds up the round bales of hay. He can add corn, molasses or other feed commodities such as brewers grain to the mix.  Because all the bale, the bleached out brown on the outside along with the green inside, is ground together, there is very little waste. The cows chow down and eat it all.






Phase 2: This fall he put a 304′ roof over the feed bunk with wings on each end for a hay ring,  maternity/catch pen, and hay & creep feeder for young calves. He also got a bale unroller. This unrolls the bale of hay into the mixer wagon which greatly speeds up the grinding process. He cleaned up his mixing area, and built 2 shed roofs over feeding areas where the cows did not have any protection from the weather. All of this means more gates to hang, fences to repair and extend, gravel to put down and grading to be done.



Starting the project.


The roof is 304 ft. long and 20′ wide over the feeding area!  At each end of the barn is a 40’X64′ A-roof section for a catch pen, creep feeder for calves, round bale feeders, and covered loafing area.


Because of the sloop of the ground, he had to put a step-down in the roof to help the height from getting to tall.


I like this picture. It is taken from a distance and shows both ends of the barn. It looks so long!


Gravel and grading.


New fencing.


Add gates.


  Creep feeder for the calves and their own personal round bale of hay.


Round bale for the cows.


This is a platform he built for the bale unroller. It helps his mixing process go a lot faster versus dropping the whole bale in to be ground up.

He can grind two bales plus add corn or other grain products


This is another area he cleaned up. On the left is where he fills the mixer wagon. The area on the right is a holding area for turkey litter before it is spread on the fields.



Putting water and molasses onto the hay mixture.


The herd hanging out in the barn waiting to be fed.




This is the weaning area for young calves at 450 plus lbs.


 They are fed Purina Precon Starter 30-60 days before they are sold.


For 2 days it is very noisy as the calves adjust to being independent of mama.


Other blog posts:

  1. Bunk Feeding With Vertical Mixer Wagon
  2. Bunk Feeding With Vertical Mixer Wagon: Part II


1 Comment »

  1. Wade & Becky Johnson Said:

    I am very impressed! That project must have been very labor intensive and expensive, but I can see how it should pay for itself with the savings in un-wasted feed and improved access to the feed for the cattle.

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