Monday, April 23, 2018
Corn Stalk Bedding
As another Lame Cherry exclusive in matter anti matter.
I was talking to Bugsy our old neighbor the other week in town, for I think it was an hour in the grocery store and he mentioned about his calving yard, he had scooped up some shit to make a mound for them to lay on and I immediately said, "Bugs I will tell you what you need", and he finished with "corn stalk bales".
I said he was right, but this is for the urban dwellers who think shit just happens by magic and all is sun and dandelions calving out cows.
See back in the day my old man pioneered grazing cattle on corn stalks left in the field. You almost had to back then as with M tractors and 12 foot discs nothing could get through that roughage, even with ploughing it under. The boys lately have been bailing up that stuff and that is interesting as Bugs has a New Holland bailer which my dad told Bug's dad to buy, but Bugs said that bailing stalks is too hard on them in busting the teeth out. Odd as our old Vemeer 605A bailed logs literally as the old man had me bailing some shit that a dufus raked up and it had cottonwood logs in it bigger than baseball bats, so what the hell maxwell, on bailers as I was thinking about getting a chain bailer (New Hollands in the older ones had chains instead of belts) but now I don't know.
Back in the pioneer days the farmer just ran the cows in the Indian corn they planted when pasture ran out, as Oscar Will noted in North Dakota, and they called it hogging it off, as pigs did the same thing.
So Bugs said he was going to buy some like I did from his cousin. Corn bales have been a mystery to me as they are kind of cows chewing on shit and not doing the best. The cousin got them baled wet this year and mine turned into black smoking shit, but when it is all there is to eat an they are froze that is all there is. The thing is they eat that stuff, will eat black tobacco looking alfalfa too, although it is not recommended, but they will pick through it.
What I discovered this year, is I just had my neighbor sit those bales not in the feeders, but out in the yard, and the cows would dig around on them and they would get enough of them ate. I did it for bedding, but it astonished me when they ate the first one, as all they would do is pick on them in the feeder.
The thing is I have around an 8 foot tall pile now and the cows are laying on it all the time as Bugs says them corn stalks absorb a hell of a lot of moisture. It is something to keep in mind as we were always taught that oat straw was best, and cows love eating it, but there was no nutritional value in it. The old man tried it one year and the cows looked fat, but got weak and went down. Best to mix it with grass for alfalfa, and let them pick at it.
No one raises oats now though, so it went to wheat straw and cows will eat that shit, but is not their first choice as they do it with grudge. Straw is more inside the barn though, as it gets wet and does not hold up well to cattle stomping on it.
So that come back to corn stalks and Mount Cherry. If it would damn well quit snowing things would dry out and all would be warm and toasty here. It is though a reality that I think I bought 20 of those shitter bales and they helped, but they also gave a nice bedding outside for the cows and we got hit by a few snowstorms and that mound cleared off sooner than the rest of the lot.
Is my plan to include those bales in my repertory when we get our place as they are the best thing going for outside bedding of cattle. I see too many of these boys in calving lots, shit up to the cows shins and that just ain't it. You got to get cows so they can wander around a bit on grass. I know coyotes are the problem in keeping things close, but calves now get more shots than a human, and that is not necessary if you can rotate them onto a clean calving ground every few years.
Once you get the scours or that shit started it is a yearly disaster to keep treating for that stuff. Just best to get them outside and going on clean ground and corn stalks help on that.
This is a post that actually matters to me and what I would prefer to be doing instead of all of this other mass market political bullshit, as that soap opera is one of noting what endless crooks or liars they all are, and that gets old, while the scent of baled hay or fresh baby calves is always a pleasant thing.
I just save that picture for my files as those big ass trailers with 6 wheels are hauling 14 bales of hay each. I need something loaded like that. Still want something bigger in the 25 if I can build one.