Sunday, October 7, 2007
We shipped the majority of our herd in early August, selling all the heavier cattle 750 lbs and up. The prices were still good compared to now, about 10 to 15 cents/lb higher than present. We used the remainder of the cattle to clean areas up which would be tricky to make hay or silage of, and then shipped them in the second week of September, for similar prices as the earlier bunch. We then decided to make hay or silage on all available ground with enough worth cutting. It has been a wet fall here so we held off cutting till the end of third week in September. It was still dull and damp so we decided to make "haylage", this is large round bales of grass/alfalfa that is too wet for hay but has been left several days to wilt. Once wrapped and tied the bale moves to the back of the baler where it is wrapped twice in plastic, much like saran wrap, so is air tight, and thus pickles like silage.
Although this was our 4th or 5th cut as some fields had been grazed 3 or 4 times, our yield was great and we now have 131 bales safely stacked in the barn, or about 100,000 lbs of feed. The same gentleman that did the baling also hauled and stacked the bales as they require a special attachment to the loader that does not puncture the plastic. I can feed them with my own tractor as at that point breaking the seal will be done anyway.
As to what we will do with all this feed. research and several Wotbs(for you Ranching for profit guys and gals) will be done. It may be used for next spring to feed incoming cattle before the grass is ready, or to feed a flock of sheep or goats as planning dictates. In Canada we only produce half the lamb and goat that is consumed so there is room for expansion with out the treat of politics and dollar fluctuations that has messed up the cattle industry these past few years. Time will tell, I'll keep you posted.