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 Snowballs and rabbit turds

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Grassfarmer



Posts : 912
Join date : 2010-09-27
Location : Belmont, Manitoba, Canada

PostSubject: Snowballs and rabbit turds   Sun Dec 18, 2011 4:28 pm

Not sure what you were defining as a snowball and rabbit turd wintering system Dylan but I think selection for winter foraging ability in our climate is very worthwhile.
With a 1350lb cow consuming even .0275% of its weight in feed daily equates to 37lbs of hay. 37lbs of hay when hay is 3c/lb costs $1.11 plus the average stated cost of yardage in Alberta is around 80c bringing a daily cost to just under $2. In a drought year the hay can easily double putting your cost just under $3/day. In this area the conventional winter feeding period is 200 days giving you a wintering cost of $400 in a normal year or $600 in a drought situation.
Contrast that to a system like ours where we feed for only 100 days which drops our cost to $285 in a normal year or $400 in a drought year (based on the same feed costs and the other 100 days costing us 85c in a normal year and $1 (grazing rental) in a drought year). This puts us at a $115-$200 a year lower cost advantage per cow which is considerable especially in recent years when weaned calves were $500 not the $800+ they are today.

This is more than just a system of running/feeding cows though there has to be a genetic component to make it work. Selection for cattle that thrive under this system has easily cost us 50lbs of weaning weight but it still pencils out to our advantage. I was rounding up some cows this morning that had strayed from their winter pasture onto residual that we left after summer grazing a mile away. These cows will survive and thrive where cattle with different genetics might not. We can get “something for nothing” when we rent this pasture by the acre and get increased utilization of species that other cattle would not eat.
As Mike said once before “…….why does a pot-bellied stove put out more heat than a straight sided barrel stove? I bet it`s because you can put more wood in it..”
I agree with that – our pot bellied cows can accommodate more fuel but they harvest it themselves and it is fuel that would otherwise be left unutilized on the pasture.
Sure, our system is not tough in the summer – abundant grass, short distances to water, cool weather make it the life of riley compared to some but that’s where we get our production from – to put weight back on the cows, rear the calves and get bred back all off the lowest cost feed resource – summer grass.
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Dylan Biggs



Posts : 406
Join date : 2011-03-07

PostSubject: Re: Snowballs and rabbit turds   Sun Dec 18, 2011 6:13 pm

Grassfarmer wrote:
Not sure what you were defining as a snowball and rabbit turd wintering system Dylan but I think selection for winter foraging ability in our climate is very worthwhile.
With a 1350lb cow consuming even .0275% of its weight in feed daily equates to 37lbs of hay. 37lbs of hay when hay is 3c/lb costs $1.11 plus the average stated cost of yardage in Alberta is around 80c bringing a daily cost to just under $2. In a drought year the hay can easily double putting your cost just under $3/day. In this area the conventional winter feeding period is 200 days giving you a wintering cost of $400 in a normal year or $600 in a drought situation.
Contrast that to a system like ours where we feed for only 100 days which drops our cost to $285 in a normal year or $400 in a drought year (based on the same feed costs and the other 100 days costing us 85c in a normal year and $1 (grazing rental) in a drought year). This puts us at a $115-$200 a year lower cost advantage per cow which is considerable especially in recent years when weaned calves were $500 not the $800+ they are today.

This is more than just a system of running/feeding cows though there has to be a genetic component to make it work. Selection for cattle that thrive under this system has easily cost us 50lbs of weaning weight but it still pencils out to our advantage. I was rounding up some cows this morning that had strayed from their winter pasture onto residual that we left after summer grazing a mile away. These cows will survive and thrive where cattle with different genetics might not. We can get “something for nothing” when we rent this pasture by the acre and get increased utilization of species that other cattle would not eat.
As Mike said once before “…….why does a pot-bellied stove put out more heat than a straight sided barrel stove? I bet it`s because you can put more wood in it..”
I agree with that – our pot bellied cows can accommodate more fuel but they harvest it themselves and it is fuel that would otherwise be left unutilized on the pasture.
Sure, our system is not tough in the summer – abundant grass, short distances to water, cool weather make it the life of riley compared to some but that’s where we get our production from – to put weight back on the cows, rear the calves and get bred back all off the lowest cost feed resource – summer grass.

Ian, just snowballs and rabbit turds.
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Grassfarmer



Posts : 912
Join date : 2010-09-27
Location : Belmont, Manitoba, Canada

PostSubject: Re: Snowballs and rabbit turds   Sun Dec 18, 2011 7:03 pm

Dylan Biggs wrote:

Ian, just snowballs and rabbit turds.

scratch
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