Bale feeding is common across Canada for all classes of cattle especially during winter months. There are many different management strategies to deliver bales as feed. To help you determine the best option for you and your cattle, see below for pros and cons of three common bale feeding strategies:
Rolling out bales/using a bale processor and feeding on pasture
When thinking about each strategy for your operation, consider the following: What are the nutritional requirements of your cattle? What is the nutritional quality of your forage? What equipment do you currently have? What equipment do you need? How much time do you have to dedicate to feed management?
Editor’s note: The following is the final instalment of atwo-part series that will help you to evaluate different considerations for bale grazing across Canada. Click here to read part one.
Beef farmers everywhere are looking to reduce costs, decrease their workload, and improve the carrying capacity of their pastures. Bale grazing is a production practice that can help.
There is a learning curve with any grazing method, especially when it’s planned for winter, arguably one of the most unpredictable seasons. Three producers across Canada share their experiences with bale grazing, provide their top tips, and explain why extending the winter grazing period has been a game changer on their farms.
Wallace, Nova Scotia
John Duynisveld operates a beef and sheep farm on 250 acres of pasture land on the north shore of Nova Scotia. He calves his herd of 25 to 30 cattle in May and June, and markets his grass-finished beef directly to consumers.
John says they started doing things differently on their farm after his dad attended a grazing seminar more than 30 years ago. Later, when he was working on his Master’s degree, grazing management became a big focus once again. “As you delve into more ways of trying to extend your pasture and ways to be more cost effective and labour efficient, bale grazing becomes sort of an obvious choice,” he says. They’ve been bale grazing for 20 years and purchase dry hay from a neighbour who sets the bales up in the field for Duynisveld. Continue reading →
Editor’s note: The following is part one of a two-part series to help evaluate different considerations for bale grazing across Canada. Click here to read part two.
Many Canadian producers have taken steps to extend their grazing period and provide forage for cattle outside of confinement and away from corrals. Well planned extensive wintering systems have obvious benefits for reducing on-farm labour and yardage costs, but extended grazing also has environmental advantages for nutrient management and potential forage yield improvements.
Bale grazing enables producers to keep cattle away from confinement, depositing manure and nutrients on the landscape, rather than in the corral. Photo courtesy of Hans Myhre.
Different methods of extended winter grazing may include annual forages for swath grazing, corn grazing, and grazing crop residue or cereals. Perennial forages can also be stockpiled for later grazing. Continue reading →
We’ll soon see cattle out in fields cleaning up swaths or feeding on bales. If you’re planning to feed your cattle this way into the winter months, here are a few recommendations to consider from a recent BCRC webinar.
Extended grazing methods, including swath, stockpiled and bale grazing, have considerable economic benefits over traditional winter feeding systems, such as reduced labour, equipment, feed and manure handling costs.
The related webinar, held last fall, featured Vern Baron, PhD, a Research Scientist for Agriculture Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) in Lacombe, Alberta, and John Duynisveld, a Research Biologist for AAFC in Nappan, Nova Scotia.
They discussed both swath and bale grazing and offered tips for producers across the country, including: Continue reading →