Janet (bale grazing) Refresh My Memory

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Janet McNally
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Postby Janet McNally » Fri Jan 04, 2008 8:40 am

Hi Dave,

yes our waste is higher if we get frequent heavy snow storms that bury the piles. They do clean it up later, but never quite as well.

Janet
Janet McNally
Tamarack Prolific and Ile de France crosses
Minnesota

PJungnitsch
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Postby PJungnitsch » Sat Jan 12, 2008 12:49 pm

Hi there.

I've been doing a trial the last few years comparing feeding livestock out on pasture over the winter versus feeding them in a corral and spreading the manure by machine.

Found an interesting thing, big gains of inorganic soil nitrogen (commercial fertilizer N) in the soil under where we fed the bales. This was additional to what was found on the surface in the manure, leftover feed, etc.

Here's what nitrogen levels looked like in the spring, in a small section where two bales were fed:

Image

And here's a scale for the colors, nitrogen levels in lbs/acre:

Image

Janet McNally
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Postby Janet McNally » Sat Jan 12, 2008 5:08 pm

Hi,

could you explain more about the photo, and about the amt of N it represents?

The photo mirrors what we see in vegetation growth, except the colors are not quite as vivid :D

Janet
Janet McNally

Tamarack Prolific and Ile de France crosses

Minnesota

Bill Fosher
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Postby Bill Fosher » Sat Jan 12, 2008 6:05 pm

Last time I saw anything like that was at a Grateful Dead show in Augusta, Maine, back in October of 1984 or so. :>)

It looks like it's indicating a high concentration of nitrogen where the bales were fed -- not a big surprise there. What I'm not sure I can get from the picture is a question of the size of the hot spots. Would these more or less correspond to the area of trash where the bale is consumed, or does the nitrogen travel into a wider area?

In other words, are these red and purple blobs 15 feet across or 150?
Bill Fosher
Westmoreland, NH

PJungnitsch
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Postby PJungnitsch » Sun Jan 13, 2008 12:56 pm

That rectangle is 40 ft X 66 ft. The centers of the circles are roughly where the bales (one hay and one straw) was placed.

Should add that those nutrients are not what was found in the manure/straw/uneaten hay on the surface, this is just what was in the soil.

On average I found a gain of 104 lbs/acre in inorganic (commercial fertilizer type) soil nitrogen where we winter fed. That's the pretty map up there. From what I can make out, it is a map of urine distribution by the animals.

Then there was an additional 171 lbs/acre in the manure, uneaten hay, etc.

What I've found out is that ruminants keep about 10% of the nitrogen they eat, and most of the rest comes out in the urine, in the form of urea, AKA 46-0-0 mixed in water.

So a cow or a sheep is a very good machine for converting feed into commercial liquid fertilizer.

However corrals are great at taking this urea and boiling it off into the atmosphere as ammonia, whereas feeding animals their winter feed out on pasture captures a big chunk of it.

Janet McNally
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Postby Janet McNally » Sun Jan 13, 2008 1:16 pm

can anyone take a stab at what that fertilizer value is in $ per bale?

janet
Janet McNally

Tamarack Prolific and Ile de France crosses

Minnesota

PJungnitsch
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Postby PJungnitsch » Sun Jan 13, 2008 1:38 pm

On my trial the fertilizer value of the hay was:

1384 lb round bales contained 27lbs N, 2.6 lbs P, 25 lbs K, 2.8 lbs S.

The value of all that in Canada (June 7th, 2007) was $26.50 CDN a bale. $16.00 of N, $2.50 of P, $7.50 of K, and $.61 of S.

Then there would be additional value to the Calcium, Magnesium, etc.

However if fed in a corral and hauled onto the grass I only got a capture in the grass of 1% of the N and 2% of the P, so in that case the fertilizer value doesn't mean much.

If fed on the pasture however I measured a capture of 34% N in the grass and 22% of the P, about the same as trials with commercial fertilizer.

The moral of the story seems to be that if you winter feed your animals directly on pasture you can look at the nutrients in your stack of bales as equivalent to their value in commercial fertilizer, in addition to feeding your animals.

If you feed them in a corral though they pretty much feed your animals only. The nitrogen that the plants can use is vented into the air as ammonia.

Mind you though this is only one trial, but ties in with what I've seen in farmers fields, and what little there is in the literature on the subject. Most testing concentrates on intensive livestock operations and views nutrients excreted from the animal as a disposal problem.

Heh, if anyone can tell, I'm editing my thesis on the subject at the moment, hence all the numbers.

Island Shepherd
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Postby Island Shepherd » Sun Jan 13, 2008 3:31 pm

So if I got all that right it is not the chaff and waste hay rotting down that is doing good it is the manure, and especially the urine. So it would still make sense to either use feeders that are effcient or management techniques that minimize the amount of hay that doesn't go through the sheep. Such as Janet's recommendation that after they have fed all the bales down flat give them another 10 days, then use another class of stock such as horses or cattle to clean up even further. The moveable headgate bale feeder that I like best is on a platform on skids, and can be easily moved around the pasture. The light weight type feeders like Premiers can be used and just set the bales in a different place every time. Good info. It's what we always knew or suspected, but nice to have the science to back it up. Good luck on the thesis. When you get it done, I'll bet Allan Nation would like to run the story in SGF or some of the other grazing or sheep magazines.

Dave

PJungnitsch
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Postby PJungnitsch » Sun Jan 13, 2008 4:17 pm

The urine provides immediately available nitrogen, the manure provides slow release nitrogen (and the phosphorus), while the uneaten feed and bedding provides slow release nitrogen plus a mulch layer that cools the pasture surface, conserving moisture and enhancing the capture of urine nitrogen from grazing.

Up north in the Peace region of Northern Alberta (where I am from) the benefits to winter feeding on pasture have been promoted for a while:

http://h1.ripway.com/Paul%20Jungnitsch/ ... tility.wpd

The farmers up there winter feed their animals on pasture in as many different ways as there are farmers. Some go for the highest efficiency of hay consumption, some go for the easiest methods, some go specifically for pasture buildup (especially if they get ahold of a lot of cheap, poor quality hay).

Like you say, most livestock producers either knew or suspected what was happening, but there was no research to explain things. Once there was a bit of an explanation it caught on fast.

The results fall nicely into 1) everybody hates paying for fertilizer 2) everybody hates hauling manure 3) most are not really fond of starting up the tractor all the time to feed 4) fertilizer, fuel, and machinery prices just keep going up

I've put up a bit more info on my website, I'll upgrade that with better info and pictures when I have a minute. Want that to be a place to get the 'gist' of it, with links to the complete final report.

http://www.angelfire.com/trek/mytravels ... ement.html

Always thought it would be a shame to see all this info (it cost me a lot of work and money!) sit as a dust covered report in a university library, as thesis tend to do.

Bob Corio
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Postby Bob Corio » Mon Jan 14, 2008 10:27 am

I am feeding round bales(oats hay) they are 4x5 net wrapped for the first time this winter. My problem are the ewes eating the middle out and then the bale falling over and falling on top of a sleeping ewe. Any ideas on how to stop this other then putting the bales in feeders.

thanks
bob
south daktoa

Janet McNally
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Postby Janet McNally » Mon Jan 14, 2008 10:51 am

Hi Bob,

the tipping problem is a function of the size of the bale. I'm guessing these are 5 foot high, but only 4 foot wide, so they are tippy? Possibly 1200 lbs?

I prefer to stick to 800 lb bales that are < 5 foot high. then tend to collapse in, rather than tip over and are safer.

The other solution is to be vigilant, as I do sometimes have to buy 1200 lb bales..so do daily rounds and push over any that are close to tipping over.

Janet
Janet McNally

Tamarack Prolific and Ile de France crosses

Minnesota

PJungnitsch
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Postby PJungnitsch » Tue Feb 26, 2008 11:17 pm

Updated the website with a few photos:

http://www.angelfire.com/trek/mytravels ... ement.html

I'll try and put up a 'fertilizer value of feed' spreadsheet in the next few days.

Hairsheep Hill Farm
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Postby Hairsheep Hill Farm » Thu Feb 28, 2008 8:18 am

PJungnitsch wrote:Updated the website with a few photos:

http://www.angelfire.com/trek/mytravels ... ement.html

I'll try and put up a 'fertilizer value of feed' spreadsheet in the next few days.


You've done a good job ! Thanks for the information and hard work.

Melissa
Kentucky

Island Shepherd
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Postby Island Shepherd » Thu Feb 28, 2008 3:09 pm

PJungnitsch wrote,

"Forage was then harvested for the next year and a half on the pasture, and the nutrients extracted by the grass were measured.
In a year and a half the grass extracted approximately 177 lbs/acre (200 kg/ha) of extra nitrogen from the winterfeeding site, approximately doubling what was found in the soil test. Only 25 lbs/acre extra was extracted by the grass where compost was spread, and 19 from the raw manure treatment."

Wow!

Dave

Janet McNally
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Postby Janet McNally » Thu Feb 28, 2008 9:02 pm

So can anyone help me put a price on that N?

Janet
Janet McNally

Tamarack Prolific and Ile de France crosses

Minnesota


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