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Cattle Like Portable Windbreaks
Russ Wilson keeps winter feed costs down by keeping cattle comfortable with portable windbreaks. Mounted to running gears, the 8-ft. tall wind barriers can be moved from paddock to paddock for winter grazing and feeding hay. Moving them around throughout the winter also spreads out manure.
    “I move the windbreaks every day,” says Wilson. “The cattle graze alongside and then tuck back behind the windbreaks to warm up before going back out again to graze.”
    Wilson quotes researchers at the University of Saskatchewan who say that a 25 mph wind at 0 degrees can reduce a cow’s energy by 30 percent. With his windbreaks, he eliminates the wind and the need for extra feed to replace lost energy.
    To make the portable windbreaks, he stretched out 5 running gears to their maximum 16-ft. length. On 3 of them, he mounted 20-ft. slatted fence panels fabricated from 1 by 8-in. rough-cut pine boards. Slatted panels on the other 2 were fabricated from 8-ft. tall, 8-in. wide, 16-gauge steel purlins. Slats are mounted about 4 in. apart.
    “I mounted the panel on the first one with steel braces welded to the running gears,” says Wilson. “On the next ones, I bolted the braces to the running gear.”
    Using bolts allows Wilson to remove a windbreak panel and replace it with a flatbed and 330-gal. totes. He uses it to provide water to cattle on a rented pasture without water access.
    For added stability, Wilson mounted salvaged 16-ft. long, 6 by 6-in. and larger, steel I-beams on each running gear. Combined with the wind-breaking spaces in the panels, the design even stood up to a tornado that knocked down trees in Wilson’s front yard.
    “I figured I would find nothing but twisted steel and broken boards,” says Wilson. “It didn’t even move them.”
    When Wilson does want to move them, they are light enough that he can do so easily.
    “I can use the side-by-side with differential lock until the snow gets more than 20 in. deep,” he says. “Then I use my 4-WD, 45 hp. tractor.”
    Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Wilson Land & Cattle Co., 1532 Stitzinger Rd., Tionesta, Penn. 16353 (ph 814 354-2325; ancattle@gmail.com; www.russwilson.net).

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2019 - Volume #43, Issue #3