Feed Lot

MAR 2018

Feedlots and cow/calf operations in the beef industry who feed 500 or more has annually on grains and concentrates; maintain 500 or more beef cows; backgrounder, stocker/grower, preconditioner; veterinarian, nutritionist, consultant

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Tobyne said, "If part of the sys- tem fails, people can get hurt. If the squeeze pops loose as you are stepping up to the chute, you can get hurt real bad. I've seen that hap- pen before." Remove manure and mud from bunk slabs. Fill voids behind the bunk slabs and gateways with dirt, and compact this material to help hold it in place. "If you don't put dirt back in, pretty soon you'll have a cliff to bale down off of everyday. This becomes a safety issue when it's slick. A horse will want to jump off of this, but they can slip and fall," said Tobyne. Level the pens to eliminate holes created where cattle eat dirt. "In a feedlot they're going to eat dirt. If they find a spot they like, they'll eat a three foot hole in the pen floor. What most of us do is dump manure in the hole and they'll quit eating the dirt at that spot," said Tobyne. In addition to the physical facil- ities of any feeding operation, it is productive to review and service the equipment, tractors, and trucks used to feed the cattle. Gregory Eppich, who back- grounds calves and feeds cattle ra- tions milled from lower quality grains raised on his farm near Handel, Saskatchewan, said, "Be- cause much of the equipment must function every day to feed cattle, a lot of maintenance has to be done as problems occur. That being said, we find it valuable to take time dur- ing the spring and summer – it can be challenging to work this in around planting and harvest – to go over the feeding equipment, and c omponents of that equipment, to e valuate the general condition of the equipment." Eppich explained that cold weather brings on problems not as prevalent during warmer seasons. Metal and rubber become more brittle in the cold, and lubricants are not as viscous – causing more wear to moving parts. Eppich said, "Due to the buildup of chaff and dirt freezing on the equipment, we have more trouble detecting structural problems with feeding equipment in the winter and spring. It is a real good idea to thoroughly clean these machines after the weather warms up and look for problems that have been covered up all winter. It's not un- common to find a crack in the frame of a feed truck or processor. Sometimes a small hydraulic leak will be revealed after the dirt and grime is stripped away. Locating and repairing these problems, be- fore they get big, can save a lot of money and downtime." FL FEED•LOT  March 2018 11 Cleaning equipment after winter use can reveal oil or hydraulic leaks or cracks in equipment. Checking hammer-mill flails for wear and proper function helps ensure feed is processed accurately. R

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