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He Bunches Crop Residue For Winter Grazing
When the snow flies, Steve Kenyon moves his cattle from grass pastures to nearby harvested fields to graze crop residue. Thanks to bunchers on the back of his combines, piles of forage are easy to find even in heavy snow. He uses swath grazing, moving a cross fence daily to control his herd’s access to the piles.
  “I prefer bale grazing, but with hay at 10 cents per pound, it’s not an option,” says Kenyon, a custom grazer/feeder in Alberta. “The recent drought sent hay through the roof.”
  Kenyon worked out a deal to graze a neighbor’s pea straw and chaff. In the past he has done the same with oat or barley straw and chaff using a commercial buncher hooked to the back of a combine. Instead of spreading the straw, the bulk of the straw and chaff falls on the buncher’s steel rod fingers.
  As the weight of the pile builds, the back end of the loaded buncher gradually tilts to the ground. In most crops, the stubble sticking up through the fingers pulls the pile of bunched chaff and straw off. That didn’t work with the peas.
  “There isn’t enough pea stubble to pull the pile off,” says Kenyon. “In addition, the pea vines intertwine with what is still in the combine. We didn’t get clean breaks between the piles.”
  Two days later, Kenyon had a solution. It was a ground driven, 2-wheel cart that hooked to the back of the combine. The chain drive is connected to a 2-sided platform made from an old, plastic water trough. With forward motion, chaff and straw were continually collected and dumped in small piles.
  “We reversed the ground drive so the platform tipped forward to dump,” says Kenyon. “As it spun forward, it ripped the intertwined vines apart.”
  While his quick design worked, the piles were half the size of the commercial buncher. Kenyon is now working on slowing the rotation so more material is gathered between dumps.
  The neighboring farmer likes it too. Crop residue is cycled through the cow, leaving manure behind to feed next year’s crop. Plans now are to underseed next year’s crop with white clover or another cover crop to provide more protein and energy with the residue for swath grazing in the winter.
  “This year we are feeding pellets of sprouts from malted grain,” he says. “The sprouts fall off before the grain is roasted. The pellets are high in protein and energy. We tested the pea straw for feed value and are supplementing with the pellets.”
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Steve Kenyon, Greener Pastures Ranching Ltd., P.O. Box 188 Busby, Alberta Canada T0G 0H0 (ph 780 307-6500; skenyon@greenerpasturesranching.com;

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2016 - Volume #40, Issue #1