From the Publisher …
As much as I’d like to think every issue we print makes for a great read; I know some are far better than others. I think the content of this one is better than many. I think you will want to set aside some extra reading time. We were able to land some interesting news and information stories. The front-page stories from the Tri-State Livestock News I found particularly interesting.
I ran a couple of extra of some of the regular columnists as I thought they had some very good stuff this month and I didn’t want to choose only one at the loss of the other. I also have picked up what I think will be a regular column for us on page 13. The Agribusiness Freedom Foundation led by Steve Dittmer is a think tank promoting free market principles. I find their positions interesting and often thought provoking. I find some of their positions agreeable and some of their ideas rather disagreeable. I find value in their prospectives and what they put forward in policy debates.
As I get into the new work and printing rhythm, I can envision a positive result. Fingers crossed. I think this issue reflects just a bit of the possibilities moving forward.
In the last issue, we were in some of the worst of the drought. After printing the August issues, some general rains fell in much of our trade territory. This was a huge benefit, but for many it came too late. We are still seeing many good cows come to town to be slaughtered. Corn crops and pasture are still set back from their normal potential. Livestock producers are still scrambling to secure feed to get through another year.
I have been scrambling myself to secure feed. I have tried several things to much different results. I no-tilled in some Sorghum Sudan grass and broadcast and harrowed some Teff Grass in a couple pastures early. Both failed.
I tried again with some Sorghum Sudan later in the summer that caught the moisture just right, so that attempt looks like it will be successful in generating a lot of feed later.
I had intended to grow some corn for silage on a renovated creek bottom field. As the drought looked to set in early, I changed plans and drilled the field to milo, thinking it had a better chance during the dry spell. We had difficulty in setting the drill and put on twice as much seed as needed. It turned out thick and nice, but instead of harvesting the grain, we are mowing it to “wet bale” and wrap it in plastic to feed this winter. It looks great and is producing a whole bunch of feed. I looking forward to seeing how this works.
The other major project I have going presently is a bunk silo. I was going to use this to chop and pack the corn I raised. My nutritionist said something that caught my attention. It was something to the effect of if you ever thought you might want a silo for silage this is the year to do it, “with the price of hay, it could be that silo will pay for itself this year.”
But since I switched plans during the drought and grew no corn of my own, I had a halfway built bunk. I told neighbors it was my version of A Field of Dreams, “build it and they will come.”
Sure enough I continued to build the silo and the silage will come next week. I found a neighbor with corn he is willing to sell for silage and what seems like a reasonable price.
I have never fed silage, but I have had several friends and acquaintances that have all encouraged me to give it a try. The general idea is that if you get set up for it few crops can give you the same quantity and quality as consistently as corn silage. The key to the silage as best as I can gather is the set up. A bad set up makes for a struggle to feed it.
The need for concrete was a common theme from several I talked to. That was a HUGE expense for an experiment in feedstuffs. However, my fallback position was that if the whole silage thing didn’t work out…. I would have a heck of a start on a perfect machine shed/shop. The concrete would be of value no matter what happened.
We have one of the worst droughts in years and the funny thing is I may go into this winter with more feed put up than I ever have before. The problem however that isn’t so funny… the expense of an inventory to feed is going to be a hurdle. Interest and risk are all up. At least while this thing holds together the value of the pounds gained sure is worth a lot more than my cost to put it on. At least that is my plan.
Like I said, plan on spending some extra time with us this month as this issue is packed with what I feel is really good stuff.
Thanks again for reading and your support in what we do….
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