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Whole Corn Round Bales
"Cattle go crazy for it," says Marvin Grenz, a Napolean, N. Dak. cattleman who boosted his herd's rate of gain by more than 10% by baling his entire corn crop - cobs, stalks and all - and feeding it "straight" to cattle in round bale feeders.
Grenz got the idea for "whole corn" round bales last year when, due to wet conditions, his irrigated corn still hadn't dried down by early December. Rather than try to harvest the high-moisture crop - it was at 37 to 40% moisture - and pay drying costs, he decided to roll the entire 125 acres of corn into big bales and feed it direct to his steers and 230-head calf crop. It worked so well he says he'll do it again any time he has a wet fall and might do it even under ideal harvest conditions.
Grenz cut the standing crop with a conventional 16-ft. swather. "It was easy to cut. The corn was in 24-in. rows so we took 8 rows at once."
Once cut, he baled the stalks with his 605F Vermeer belt baler without any modification. "At first we made the bales too big and broke some belts. When we scaled them back to about 5 ft. dia. it worked just fine. You have to travel real slow. We baled in the second lowest gear," notes Grenz.
Once formed, the bales weighed about 1,700 lbs. He fed them to calves in round bale feeders along with free-choice rolled barley, and he says they ate about a 50-50 ration of each with some calves even prefering the rolled corn.
"All the cattle loved it. Some of the bales got hot and moldy but they still went crazy for it. It would have been a good-yielding corn crop so there was lots of grain in it. The great thing about it is that there's no bloating and they're never off feed," says Genz, who says overall rate of gain was up more than 10% from his previous rates. "They gained better and I didn't spend any money on drying. If I left the corn in the field I might have lost the entire crop because some of my neighbors never did get their crop harvested."
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Marvin Grenz, RR, Box 53, Napolean, N. Dak. 58561 (ph 701 424-366).

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1987 - Volume #11, Issue #2