How not to build temporary windbreaks
For the next instalment in my how to series, it will be how not to instead.
Needed more temporary wind breaks for where I am feeding cows this winter, only have 160 feet of portable metal frame windbreaks. Feeding on crop land to get the manure etc. where i want it directly. The more windbreak they have, the better they stay where I want. feeding silage directly from the pile into feeders across the fence, so windbreaks don't need to be portable, just temporary, and easy to remove in the spring when time is at a premium.
While I was hauling straw bales this fall, I found one with about 50 wraps of net wrap, it is solid blue and pink, quite pretty really. Not sure what went wrong, neighbor was baling on shares, but it gave me the idea that cows probably can't eat a bale through the net wrap, and can't even rub through that one. So I hauled a load (32 bales), made a semi circle of net wrap wheat straw bales 2 high on end, placed a portable windbreak on each end to keep the cow traffic away. Voila, instant temporary windbreak, and come spring, I can just use the bales up with nothing left over to remove. And no more work than hauling and stacking the bales anywhere else would have been. Made sure there were no ends exposed or damaged net wrap.
Feeding silage and wheat straw full of alfalfa and grass(underseeded), whereas the straw in the windbreak is just pure wheat straw. But apparently, it is tastier than anything else, so tasty that they ate it right through the netwrap, and proceded to undermine the bales. Afraid top bales will fall and crush someone. Rather than admit defeat and just unstack them, decided to wrap snowfence around the entire stack, 2 rolls high, held up with posts tied to each other through the stack, and broken crop lifters stabbed into bales to hold it up, the theory being that they can't eat through it. Would have worked fine with wood and wire snowfence, I hadn't been around the plastic stuff before, turns out plastic snow fence has all of the integrity of a politician, calves actually managed to pull straw out through the snowfence which quickly turned into eating holes in the snowfence. Meanwhile there is a dozen of the tastiest straw bales in and out of feeders, and another 10 hay feeders with silage. But the forbidden straw is tastier. Kept patching the broken snowfence with pallets so they can't get through, but they even managed to get that ripped and knocked down.
Almost all of the steel panels on the farm were tied up around the silage pile, but finally got a few freed up as the pile got a little shorter, set them up beside the straw, then drug out every old wooden panel that would hold together, and built a fence around the straw just to keep them out. So much for cheap and easy. Now have a bunch more stuff to remove in the spring, wasted money on snow fence, wasted way too much time. And so far this winter, there has been a total of about 5 minutes of wind, and more days above zero than below( I think September was opposite...) So haven't even needed any shelter. Very strange winter, very powerful Chinooks, but dead calm. Even while southern Alberta has been blowing away.
But what possessed cows with feed everywhere to try that hard to eat straw? Best I can think is maybe one combine had the concave not set right for a few passes and a few bales had some grain left in the heads. Can't find any unthreshed heads, but maybe the cows can smell it. Also a different variety of wheat, so might be tastier too.
Could have easily built windbreak fences on posts and disassembled them in the amount of time this shortcut has taken. Or I should have traded a few extra bales in exchange for putting a few extra wraps on some bales, only had slightly more than one wrap. Net wrapped bales from another baler have 4 wraps and they don't bother them at all.
Justin Trudeau, accomplishing miracles since 2015, making Pierre Elliot look smart, competent and western friendly.