Posts Tagged ‘Vertical mixer wagon’

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


Bunk Feeding with Vertical Mixer Wagon

IMG_6847 IMG_6869 One of the joys in the life of a farmer is getting a big project completed. My farmer hubby has been dreaming, planning and researching this bunk feeding project for months. While I surfed facebook in the evenings, he was browsing the web looking at other farmers’ ideas and equipment, trying to figure out what he wanted, was economically feasible and would work best for his situation. We have approximated 150 plus brood cows plus young stock. For years we have been using round bales feeders  but the cows make a terrible, muddy mess around the  feeders in the winter which means there is hay that gets wasted.  Gene felt he needed to have a something different before this winter. Finally the pieces began to fall together and this weekend he completed the bunk and it was ready to use.


I climbed up on that ladder and looked inside…..


There were some serious looking blades inside the mixer.



The mixer will grind and hold 2 round bales at a time.  It takes about 20 minutes to grind a load and he can grind on the go.





The mixer grinds the round bale into small pieces and mixes it all together; the best with the not so best of the hay.

This keeps the cows from wasting hay-they eat it all and all the cows get to eat the same thing. The more timid cows who stand back and wait will get the same mix of hay as the more aggressive ones. They say you save about 30% doing it this way.  Last year he baled 1900 bales and this year he only got 1200.  He had to figure out a way to stretch the hay!

You can also mix feed supplements such as Purina Superlix, corn or other commodities such as brewers grain with the hay.


At first the cows paid no attention. They were laying out by the hay rings waiting on their supper!

Suddenly one cow who was off in the woods on the side caught on to what was happening. She came out with her calf and started bawling-alerting her herdmates that food was now on the table!


It wasn’t long until the whole herd was bawling and coming to the bunk.

(We even had a neighbor email and wonder what the ruckus was about with the cows tonight and if everything was ok!)


Gene talking to his cows as they came to the bunk.


The first to the bunk!


It wasn’t long until they were lined up munching away.






My view from the house.

It took 2 batches (4 bales) to fill the 288 foot bunk.


Below is a video of filling the bunks.

A note about the video: First you will see Gene filling the bunk and then you will see a cow from the side figure out supper was being served. She starts bawling and then you can see the other cows start to get restless and start bawling. When Gene calls them they start coming. They know the tractor means feeding time but something different is happening. If you notice they are laying around their empty bale rings waiting for them to be filled.


All fall he has been working hard …..

First there were a few trees to be removed. Our son, Keith, did the tree removal, grading and setting of the bunk.



Gene is removing a fence that was in the way and will be relocated.



Setting the bunks on a good base of ground up asphalt from a highway project.


Graveled the driveway.



The long term goal is to have a roof and a concrete slab but sometimes things have to happen in stages!



280 foot loooooooong! Gene figured he need 2 foot per cow.


Building a fence to keep the cows off the drive through side.


Finishing touches.


Making an electric cattle guard.


He has an electric cattle guard at each end of the bunk. The wires are maybe 6″ above the ground and he can drive over it.

The cattle won’t cross it as they can smell the electricity. They use this method out west on roads where cattle roam the open plain. Time will tell if this works.

Gene says the cattle will tell him what they like and don’t like, what works and doesn’t work and he will make adjustments.

A farmer knows how to interpret the actions of his cows!

Note: When you do something different there are always things to learn.  We are now on day 2 and Gene is very pleased with what he sees happening.  The cows are contented, eating off and on all day and not crowding the bunk.  The four bales lasted 24 hours. He had been feeding 5-6 bales.  We will see how this figures out-whether this trend continues. This evening he added some water and Purina Superlix to the hay as it was mixing. He really liked the results. Below is an update after a about 10 days of usage.

 Bunk Feeding with Vertical Mixer Wagon-Part 2

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