New to diet feeders - advice needed!

Rattie

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Cambs
We bought a used Kuhn 20m³ twin auger feeder this week, have no prior experience!

We are very short of silage and moderately short of straw, hence the decision. Up until now we've always fed ad-lib silage at the rail, hard grub on top for the store cattle.

We run 35 Organic suckler cows, Angus and Shorthorn, we spring calve (Feb / March) and keep the weaned stock (weaned this week on housing all cattle) until the grass market is good in April time, selling at 12 - 14 months approx. We keep 6-8 replacement heifers and one Bull. Peak stock would be 105 animals in March / April.

At the moment I have 30 cows in calf in one group. 35 stores and 8 heifers in another and 5 cull cows with Bull in a 3rd pen.

We have silage of various qualities from straight rye grass, to multi species clover rich ley, lucerne and clover ley etc. Mix of 750 - 1000kg 5' rounds of approx 60% dry matter.

Straw is in 350kg rounds, Oat and wheat. Slso have 15t of milled mixed cereals.

How do I get the best use of this lot?! Thinking we could mix a decent ration for stores, then add straw to thin it out for the cattle, but causes headaches for adding grub? Incidentally, cows are fat, having been on clover leys all summer...constant issue and causes calving problems.

Any advice appreciated, thanks.
 

kill

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
South West
Cows on straw, save the silage for your growing cattle. sell the wagon to buy any extra feed you need.
Or am I being too simple.
KISS
Intake per animal definitely increases with silage that’s been through a diet feeder but wastage will be significantly lower.

really the best advice with bales into a wagon is not to let blades get too dull as fuel usage will increase due to time taken to mix also feed can be mashed/ bruised instead of being cut and makes it considerably less palatable.

And be prepared to play around with your mix a little until it suits you as it’s YOUR stock being fed.
 
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capfits

Member
Get a smaller mixer for starters. 10 m would have been big enough for those numbers.
Look at feed opportunity costs ie substitution, can you get say organic waste potatoes, carrots etc.
When mixing put light stuff in first and heavy stuff on top to get mixing.
Other than that keep the machine in good order.
 

vinnie123

Member
Location
dorset
Buy a lorry load of bales and aim to carry over some silage stocks. You’ll be forever chasing your tail grub wise unless you carry over a little. Get a derogation on welfare grounds ?

Straw- just be bloody tight with it! That said If you can’t pick up a bit extra in Cambridgeshire then the Cornish boys are buggered! Bedding straw does not need to be organic
 

Sid

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
South Molton
Short of forage?
Get rid of the cull cows.
Feed the silage to the stores.
Feed straw and buy some hay for in calf cows.
What you do with the corn I don't know as never dealt with suckler calves. Would it push them on too hard feeding that to them this year?

Anything you put into the wagon make sure there is nothing a bit iffy as all you will do is contaminate the whole mix. Sounds like you can't afford any waste this year.
We feed both bales and clamp to milkers and get a lot less wastage on bales than clamp.

On intakes, different forages will increase intakes whether mixed or not.

Personally I'd forget the wagon this winter and KISS
 
We bought a used Kuhn 20m³ twin auger feeder this week, have no prior experience!

We are very short of silage and moderately short of straw, hence the decision. Up until now we've always fed ad-lib silage at the rail, hard grub on top for the store cattle.

We run 35 Organic suckler cows, Angus and Shorthorn, we spring calve (Feb / March) and keep the weaned stock (weaned this week on housing all cattle) until the grass market is good in April time, selling at 12 - 14 months approx. We keep 6-8 replacement heifers and one Bull. Peak stock would be 105 animals in March / April.

At the moment I have 30 cows in calf in one group. 35 stores and 8 heifers in another and 5 cull cows with Bull in a 3rd pen.

We have silage of various qualities from straight rye grass, to multi species clover rich ley, lucerne and clover ley etc. Mix of 750 - 1000kg 5' rounds of approx 60% dry matter.

Straw is in 350kg rounds, Oat and wheat. Slso have 15t of milled mixed cereals.

How do I get the best use of this lot?! Thinking we could mix a decent ration for stores, then add straw to thin it out for the cattle, but causes headaches for adding grub? Incidentally, cows are fat, having been on clover leys all summer...constant issue and causes calving problems.

Any advice appreciated, thanks.
Are you sure the wagon is big enough ?
 

Rattie

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Cambs
Cows on straw, save the silage for your growing cattle. sell the wagon to buy any extra feed you need.
Or am I being too simple.
KISS
We've been thinking about feeders for a while, fat cows on Silage from our clover leys a problem, easiest way to water down the energy and protein levels in our situation?

Silage is relatively cheap here as well, costs us about £25/t baled at 40- 60% DM. Organic straw can be sold at harvest for £95/ton on contract easily, so I often sell excess of the field, plus cows on straw alone need a lot of concentrates / cereal etc?
 
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Sid

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
South Molton
We've been thinking about feeders for a while, fat cows on Silage from our clover leys a problem, easiest way to water down the energy and protein levels in our situation?

Silage is relatively cheap here as well, costs us about £25/t baled at 40- 60% DM. Organic straw can be sold at harvest for £95/ton on contract easily, so I often sell excess of the field, plus cows on straw alone need a lot of concentrates / cereal etc?
Know of suckler boys that make one clamp of silage, its tio good for cows and not good enough for finishers.

Huge difference in quality from 2nd week may to 2nd week of june in SW
 

Rattie

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Cambs
Analyse your silage.
This weeks job! Did a lot in 2017 for an AHDB project, but have been lazy the last couple of years. As lib silage at the rail, so they got what they got!

Now we've the ability to control their intakes It seems the most fundamental information to have. Does anyone bother sampling values from different straw varieties? Oat, barley and wheat available. Was planning on feeding the oat and barley, bedding the wheat.
 
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Rattie

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Cambs
How much feed could you of bought for the cost of the wagon tractor sat on it extra time and fuel used
I take your point and have agonised over it.

We run a closed shop, as all of our cattle are on rotational leys on arable ground. We don't import any (straw or silage) weeds, particularly grass weeds and wild oats as all of our cereal production is for seed.

Wagon is big, but was refurbished and reasonable value. Should take enough gear to feed out for two days on a mix, plus labour is more expensive than diesel round here, early to say, but costs should be similar.
 
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Rattie

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Cambs
Know of suckler boys that make one clamp of silage, its tio good for cows and not good enough for finishers.

Huge difference in quality from 2nd week may to 2nd week of june in SW
We keep several stacks of silage, different cuts from different fields so we can pick and choose. Will get them analysed in the week, start from there I guess.
 

Sid

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
South Molton
Cheers, fairly crudely what I've started out doing. About 40% straw in the mix, the cattle are going at it pretty well.
I guess it depends on feeding system as well.

If you have enough room to feed the cows silage twice a day and then let them top up from a feeder with straw what they dont eat can be used as bedding.
Or you chop the straw and put it through the wagon.
2nd option adds cost but maximises use of organic feed straw with less wastage.
Can then buy in conventional straw to bed up on.

Seems you are working through it and have lots of options which is always good
 

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