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Discussion Starter #1
Looking for some pros and cons to feedbunks. And at the same time maybe someone has a idea how to self load loose material into a bale processor.

Got to thinking the other day as I was grinding feed. Been putting a mix of different hay and some straw through my BP into a pile and feeding that to my cows to ration them. Every year I do it to some extent depending on my quality of hay for the year and such. This year I'm tight on feed so been using a pretty good mix of stuff. But I've noticed they've been picking through it pretty good. Seems like a lot of waste to me.

So I started thinking of grinding as I usually do, then if I could make something that attaches to the BP so I can load what I've already mixed from my pile. Figured I could mix it and cut it up finer doing it the second time and also window it into bunks to save myself from going in and out of pens every day, I'm a one man operation most of the time so lots of in and out of the tractor and moving cows back into pens once they're out.

Any tips tricks or advice? Currently just grind into a pile then fill big feeders for them to rummage through.

(Ps, sorry most of my posts seem to be nonsense rambling, trying to get my millions of thoughts out in organized sentences is tough sometimes)
 

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I'm not sure running it through the second time will process it much better. Maybe some fence line bunks and a mixer wagon? If they are picking through it then you're feeding too much, make them clean it up.
 

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A bale shredder won't like loose material going thru for a second pass, can't see it feeding the rotor properly.
As most mixers can't handle longer material, you need to find a forage box with live floor and the beaters with a discharge conveyor. I have two like that, an Allis forage box and a Deere 125 Chuckwagon. Do lots just as you describe some years with either the shredder or tub grinder and then just load it with silage forks and either feed it on its own or sometimes mix with silage. One drawback to those style of boxes, they aren't the greatest for mixing grain into things, even wet silage, so best to not try to add such as they don't really mix it in well enough that you don't end up with amounts of pure grain being discharged.
 

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Alternative to a forage box, was some older manure spreaders could be had with bolt on feeding attachments for silage. Might be able to find one of those. IH, Farmhand and Deere all had them into late 70s.
Even one of them Schwartz or Jiffy silage wagons would work too, all were the same principle but the ones with a conveyor worked better than the ones with the discharge augers.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I had originally started thinking of a mixer wagon or something along those lines. The biggest issue I have with that, and maybe this is just me being pickey, is I don't want to run two tractors to feed and load every couple days. Like I said I'm one person so there would be a lot of tractor idle time. Just seems like I'd be burning extra fuel and hours on a tractor for not much gain. Hence trying to use my BP.

Do cows pick through those feed bunks any more or less than a bulk feeder? Is a bottomless or trough style feeder better, pros and cons of both?

I wouldn't be adding grain in the mix. Usually just pail feed some creep to them.
 

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You don't need two tractors with that style of wagon...its why I use them myself to feed silage as well. A wagon that needs a dedicated tractor to turn it while loading is useless to me.

I use fenceline bunks, large troughs and inside out tires...yes they will pick and sort, especially if there is lots of longer material but waste is way down.
 

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A good TMR mixer is its worth in gold. In years that the qaulity of hay or straw is crappy, you can make it alot more edible, with less waste if you use one. A mixer with a selfloading chute at the back will help a single operator. Just prosecc straw and hay into piles and back up into piles when it is mixing time with mixer and load away.
 

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A good TMR mixer is its worth in gold. In years that the qaulity of hay or straw is crappy, you can make it alot more edible, with less waste if you use one. A mixer with a selfloading chute at the back will help a single operator. Just prosecc straw and hay into piles and back up into piles when it is mixing time with mixer and load away.
Yep like any machine, they work great for some applications but not necessarily all. It depends on what kind of operation you are running and how is best and most economical for that operation. If I was running dairy or feedlot, yes it would fit well, but for cow calf not so much. And they are very pricey. I can achieve the same results as you can utilizing machines I use in other ways, and my investment is a lot less.
 

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We use concrete bunks for the animals we are backgrounding. Have only been using them for grain. Biggest drawback I see is having to shovel them out every time there is a significant snowfall.
 

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We use concrete bunks for the animals we are backgrounding. Have only been using them for grain. Biggest drawback I see is having to shovel them out every time there is a significant snowfall.
yep snow is a bugger and makes for exercise with troughs and bunks. That one thing I really like about the inside out tractor tires, I simply push them with the left front tire on the tractor (2wd) or use the forks, and when you push on the back side, that makes it raise up allowing everything inside to empty out and as it slides forward it plows the snow away so when you crank the wheel to the right and release the tire, its all clean and no snow inside. Do the same when there is frozen lumps and such in them as well.

Seen at a sale for a large local feedlot last spring, they had an gizmo that fit on the bale forks of a tractor and had a hyd motor running a paddle wheel with belting paddles for cleaning their fenceline and freestanding bunks. Not sure how it worked, but it did appear to have gotten a lot of use.
 

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I have been thinking the same thing LittleMountain. Its going to be tight on hay this year. Last time this happened I had my dad to help so I am thinking the best way of doing it this time around. I have a feeling I will end up grinding about 60 bales at a shot, 50/50 into a pile and mixing some snow in there. May sound odd to mix the snow in there, but it is a poor mans silage. The heat from the processing is enough to get some fermentation going in the pile and keeps the cows from picking out the good stuff. I tend to mix it slightly every day when I feed to keep it in check. May sound strange, but it has worked for me and most importantly cows are happy. I know it is not really answering your question, but they do not pick through it or waste any. BTW a good bucket and grapple is a plus.

Seen something similar years ago, wonder if it would work on outside fenceline feeding.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Currently I grind a mix of 3 year old hay that's hit and miss for quality, had lots of rain and was a fight to get into bales. Then a bale of grass/ditch/slough hay, then a bale of straw that has some alfalfa in it from a underserved field, then a good quality first cut hay bale.

So it's a mix of 4 bales, I do three sets of that on 2 different piles and it does me for about a week of feeding. But I do notice them pick the straw out, i think my shredder just isnt breaking the straw up enough which is why i was thinking of trying to put it through again, mainly to mix it better.

They clean everything in the feeder up pretty good. But when you look at the mess around the feeder it's mainly straw. That's where I was hoping that with the feed bunks there might be less "bulk" for them to pick through so they would be forced to eat it all?
 

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I know my highline 7000hd does not like lots of loose material. If you grabbed a bucket at a time and reran it through you would probably be OK. Any more then that it starts to bridge up. Could a guy maybe put some mollasis on the straw before it goes into the processor and make the usual pile?
 

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I know my highline 7000hd does not like lots of loose material. If you grabbed a bucket at a time and reran it through you would probably be OK. Any more then that it starts to bridge up. Could a guy maybe put some mollasis on the straw before it goes into the processor and make the usual pile?
I got a 6600 and where I really notice issues is with round baled straw that is broke up and short from my rotary combines in my soft core bales, once the outer shell is gone and the center collapses either it bridges over the rotor with the paddles spinning pointlessly, and when it does let go, its a huge shot all at once and so hard on everything from the pto clutch to the hammers themselves.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I guess the difference is I have a jiffy, the whole tub/cradle moves back and forth. So I figured it would filter itself through. I've never noticed any issue with loose material before, cant say I've paid attention or have had loose material really through it as well. I did some straw from behind a rotary combine a few years back and I thought the bedding was more uniform cause the bales tore apart easier if that makes any sense.

I've done molasses before on bales, seemed to be more work than what it was worth. They would still pick through it to get the most molasses they could then.
 

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"J" bunks with pipe and cable are heaven sent! No gate no on/of on/off and on/off again. If I could only use them I would.

The place where I got some from that went under in the 80s had had a small snow plow if you will, in each set. Had a cable hooked to I'm guessing an electric motor.(that part was gone) I just hook the cable to the skid loader or whatevers handy and pull it to the other end. Looks homemade and beats the f out of scooping bunks during a blizzard. But have to watch not to hit the cows and bunks have to be perfect or it will catch where the meet. I bondod the cracks with some success.

Why not just do your blending into one pile then feed from that so it's already mixed? When I grind I just put round bales two high 4 wide and 6 long and grind whatever concoction I decide. if I get ambitious can make longer. Kind of a temporary bunker I make next to the silage piles for less moving.
 

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We use concrete bunks for the animals we are backgrounding. Have only been using them for grain. Biggest drawback I see is having to shovel them out every time there is a significant snowfall.
I’ve used fence line bunks and heavy portable steel silage bunks. Basically you need a cement apron along the fence line bunks. I wouldn’t go back to fence line bunks except for intensive feedlot conditions. Too much snow and waste shoveling. Also figuring the cost and losses (to dust ect) of processing feed, try and get the cow to process it. Sometimes processing low quality feed with good feed costs more than you think.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Why not just do your blending into one pile then feed from that so it's already mixed? When I grind I just put round bales two high 4 wide and 6 long and grind whatever concoction I decide. if I get ambitious can make longer. Kind of a temporary bunker I make next to the silage piles for less moving.[/QUOTE]

Sorry should have been clearer. I do a blend of 4 bales. 3 sets of 4 in a pile. For one feeding area. Do another pile the same for a different feeding area. So I'm not carrying that loose fluff all over my yard and loosing a bunch of it on the way. When I do 2 piles (24 bales total) it does me for about a week of feeding so I only have to start my grinder tractor once a week.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
That went surprisingly well. Real test will be tommorow when I see how well they cleaned it up. Just blew it on a windrow on the ground for now.

First pic is 4 different bales ground once in a pile. Second pic is after the second time it went through the shredder in a windrow. Definatly blended it up more and cut it up a bit finer.
 

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