|Winter Green House trays of salad greens|
|New trays of salad greens being started|
|Taking a core sample from a bale of hay to test nutritional content|
|You mix three representative cores in bag|
|Then randomly grab a sample to send to the lab.|
After the sampling the hay we cleaned seed for sprouting for fodder and then I had an opportunity to show off my highly overrated barn cleaning skills. Here I am cleaning out the used bedding from the chicken coop.
|Even more fun than shoveling the bedding out of the coop was|
driving the skidsteer to spread the bedding out in the pasture.
Then it was back to the greenhouse to start sprouting some new trays of fodder.
|Trays of fodder at various stages of maturity.|
|The dairy goats really like the fodder as did the cows and chickens|
|Feeding TMR to feed bunk|
These cattle are being fattened up in the feedlot for market. The process is also called finishing. They are being fed a TMR which stands for Total Mixed Ration. The truck has a built in scale and mixer, so they can get each component of the feed ration to the exact proportion needed to provide the nutrition needed to finish the cattle for market. The feed ration consists primarily of beet pulp (which is a byproduct of the sugar beet industry) and distillers grain (which is what is left from corn after making ethanol).
Our next stop was at one of the fields where they were out wintering cattle. Last year this field was a corn field, that Steve used for crop residue grazing on the corn stocks to extend his grazing season. Now he has the field divided into two paddocks on which he alternates feeding the feed ration consisting of chopped hay (see video) and a separate area of sugar beet pulp. They vary the location where the the feed is placed each day in each paddock to better distribute the manure on the field. Then they also rotate paddocks every other day. The system is similar to rolling out bales of hay in the winter or bale grazing (although it probably has better manure distribution than bale grazing). When the truck came to lay out the beet pulp, he drove to the far end of the field and it was hilarious watching the cattle gallop at top speed after the truck. They really like the sweet taste of the sugar beets.
|Feeding ground hay|
|Feeding sugar beet pulp|
As exciting as the visit to Back 9 was Thursday got even better with yet another bonus free lecture from Dr. Prieve. This one was on ruminant anatomy, specifically the cows reproductive system. For this lecture we dissected a cow uterus and also got to learn about and practice artificial insemination referred to as AI).
|working on a cow uterus|
|discovered a calf embryo|
|AI proved to not be an easy task|