Improved Calf Weaning Capabilities
Grant Award: $3,000
David is increasing the profitability of his cattle operation while enhancing the health and performance of his calves with the purchase of key pieces of equipment: a bulk feed bin, self watering tanks and heavy duty portable panels. These improvements help David work efficiently and therefore wean and retain calves early in the fall, giving them time to get in the right body condition for winter months. That precious window of time opens up ways to market his calf crop in a variety of new ways.
The self watering tanks are installed in lot areas where animals don’t currently have free access to water, therefore minimizing daily watering. Calves can now be kept near cows, reducing stress for the animals through the weaning transition. “Having a clean, non-contaminated source of water increases the feed intake of the calves, supporting a higher daily rate of gain,” David said. The tanks also reduce stream pollution, he said.
The bulk bin, which David is anchoring with a concrete slap foundation, stores feed from corn grown on the farm. He can also make bulk orders from local supply stores, saving feed costs. The bulk feed bins provide a convenient method of storing feed while also reducing spoilage and rodent infestation.
Heavy duty portable Priefert panels create safe, durable sorting areas. They connect to an existing stocks and chute system, improving the design of the alley to accommodate larger numbers of cattle working together. They also better facilitate loading and unloading as well as crowding into chutes for medical care.
“The components of this project combine elements of healthy, efficient performance and safe handling,” David said. “Using sound weaning practices and upgrading my current facility will open up numerous possibilities of how I can market my calf crop and retain high quality replacements for improving herd genetics.”
He currently sells his calves directly off cows at local markets, but is considering strategies such as stoker/yearling production, bred heifer sales and value-added feeder calf production through local beef producer cooperatives.