Cattle Feed Bunk Ideas

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Sam Schipani loves pollinators, fresh herbs, and learning how to live more sustainably in small spaces. She has previously written for Sierra, Smithsonian, Earth Island Journal, and American Farm Publications.
Before you begin construction, determine where in your garden they will be kept. You’ll want to ensure you have the proper amount of sunlight. At a minimum, they’ll need about 6-8 hours of direct sunlight.Here are some awesome upcycle ideas for the garden from a few of my blogger buddies. You’ll definitely want to save this list and come back when planning your home garden. These ideas are super creative!

How high should a cattle feed bunk be?
For post and rail barriers, the feed curb should be 21 to 23 inches (53 to 58 cm) high on the cow-side of the bunk for Holstein cows and 18 to 19 inches (46 to 48 cm) for Jersey cows with the feed manger side elevated 3 to 4 inches (8 to 10 cm) above the cow alley.
Before I used these old feed bunks as a garden bed, my husband gave it a little more stability with some extra screws. These bunks have seen their share of use around the ranch and I’m so thrilled to give them new life as a raised garden bed.And since I’m keeping it simple this year, I filled the beds with a variety of tomatoes, peppers, and herbs from my favorite place to order seeds and transplants, Seed Savers Exchange. Another thing you’ll want to make sure that you don’t overcrowd your space by adding too many plants. Consider each plant’s growing needs and their roots. Laura made these raised garden beds by salvaging galvanized metal roofing from a shed on their property. The galvanized metal with the old log corner pieces give it a perfect rustic vibe.

We are waiting on our new home to finish up so we are temporarily staying at the family ranch. In the meantime, I still wanted a bit of a garden until we could get to creating our own more permanent design.
My friend, Laura shared her upcycled raised garden bed design with me. And these garden planters are adorable. I’m thinking that I need to go hunting for some old galvanized metal to make some!While we have been patiently waiting on the new home to wrap up, our garden plans have been scaled way back. But I still wanted to make sure I had a few essentials growing.Disclosure: Boots & Hooves Homestead may earn a commission for purchases made after clicking links on this page. View our disclosure policy for details. If you are looking for unique raised garden bed ideas, you’re in the right place! I’m all for finding ways to reuse and repurpose things that we already have around the home and ranch. So, we are doing a couple of small (ish) planters out of old cattle feed bunks that my husband found on the ranch. I am sharing what we are doing with the bunks and I also have a few other upcycled planter ideas that you’ll love!

Limiting feed on a per head basis is best done with the help of a nutritionist to ensure your cattle maintain the proper body condition and meet their nutrient requirements. Success with limit-feeding is entirely dependent on having adequate bunk space.
When given free choice access, cattle waste a significant amount of the hay available. Round bale feeders are a staple of feeding hay, but producers should consider limiting access to the feeders to reduce waste.Storing hay indoors is the best option for avoiding spoilage. But if you cannot keep all of your hay inside, other strategies can also help reduce spoilage. Reducing spoilage reduces waste, so it is important to remember that the outer portion of a bale contains a large proportion of the total hay in the bale.

Hay is expensive, even if you make your own. Avoiding waste can mean you don’t have to buy hay and could mean you have excess hay you can sell. Either way, using your hay efficiently results in more money in the long run.
Measuring your forage quality allows you to target nutritional goals more effectively by matching forages to animal requirements. This targeted approach improves efficiency and gives insight into the need for supplementation. Work with your nutritionist to develop the most efficient plan.The choice between a post and rail feed barrier and headlocks in lactating cow pens is not clear with strong proponents for each. While post and rail bunks allow greater freedom of movement, research shows that there is more wasted feed and more aggressive displacements between dominant over subordinate cows at the bunk with post and rail barriers than with headlocks. Headlocks also have the advantage of facilitating animal handling in critical pens such as the pre- and post-fresh pens and sick cow pen.

Headlocks are generally available in 24-inch (61 cm) and 30-inch (76 cm) wide options. The latter is recommended for close-up and post fresh cows. At peak bunk utilization in pens with 24-inch (61 cm) wide headlocks, it is typical for only 80% to be filled (graph below). When planning facilities, it is important to realize that one headlock does not necessarily equal one feed space.Headlocks can be mounted on an 18- to 20-inch (46 to 51 cm) high feed curb for Holsteins (15 to 16 inches (38 to 41 cm) for Jerseys), so the height of the upper edge of the lower headlock rail is 21 to 23 inches (53 to 58 cm) above the cow-side feed alley for Holsteins and 18 to 19 inches (46 to 48 cm) for Jerseys. Angle the headlock toward the feed to increase the cow’s reach.This pen shows a typical pattern with 24-inch (61 cm) wide headlocks where only 80% are filled at peak bunk utilization. While a feed space potentially exists in the picture, the cow cannot locate it. In some pens, such as the prefresh pen, where heifers are learning to compete for bunk space with mature cows, it may be wise to include a section of a post and rail feed barrier to provide animals with a choice of eating area. Feed rails 2 inches (5.1 cm) in diameter should be mounted 48 to 50 inches (1.2 to 1.3 m) above the cow-side feed alley with the rear edge of the bar 8 to 10 inches (20 to 25 cm) forward of the cow-side of the curb. The rail needs to be supported every 8 to 10 feet (2.4 to 3 m) with a vertical post.For post and rail barriers, the feed curb should be 21 to 23 inches (53 to 58 cm) high on the cow-side of the bunk for Holstein cows and 18 to 19 inches (46 to 48 cm) for Jersey cows with the feed manger side elevated 3 to 4 inches (8 to 10 cm) above the cow alley. The curb should be 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 cm) wide.

The feed delivery alley should be 18 to 20 feet (5.5 to 6.1 m) from feed curb to feed curb in order to accommodate feed delivery without driving on feed or causing injury to cows.
Graph of the proportion of feed spaces filled through the period 90 minutes after fresh feed delivery. Headlocks were spaced at 24 inches (61 cm) on center (from Mentink and Cook, 2006).However, headlocks should not be introduced for the first time to naïve animals during the transition period as this may significantly impact dry matter intake at this crucial stage. It is preferred that heifers be exposed to headlocks during the rearing period if they are to be housed in pens with headlocks during transition and lactation. Some producers focus on minimizing handling in the pen, preferring a sort gate and work area over the use of headlocks in pens.

The manger surface should be 36 inches (91 cm) wide and smooth to encourage feeding activity. Ceramic tile or high-strength concrete performs well with silages which tend to etch concrete over time.
Choose a headlock design with a down-cow self-release mechanism. If you have large Holsteins, look for a headlock with a larger or adjustable width to provide a neck pivot point of 7.5 to 8.5 inches (19 to 22 cm) between the pipes when closed.To help reduce hay losses, there are several things you can do, starting with storage. Hay stored outside usually has more spoilage during storage and lower palatability than hay stored inside. The best way to prevent losses from storage is to store all hay in a barn or shed. If that is not possible, the next best options, according to University of Tennessee research, are net wrapping your bales, or storing them covered on tires. High quality hay is a great source of energy for your cattle. Intakes will increase in the winter, so purchasing and storing high quality hay is crucial. To ensure adequate nutrition, have your hay sent in for a forage analysis. Match animal nutrition requirements to the quality of your forage. For example, heifers and thin cows require a more energy dense diet, compared to older or fleshy cows. Sorting animals into groups based on body condition allows you to feed the available forage more effectively. LINCOLN, Neb. — Hay production has been reported to be 50% of average or less in many areas of Nebraska. The U.S. hay supply is at a 50-year low (Table 1). Couple this information with rising costs (Figure 1) and it becomes prudent to plan fall, winter, and next spring’s hay needs sooner rather than […]

ST. CLOUD, Minn. — Proper nutrition during the winter months is crucial for all livestock, including beef cattle. It’s estimated that winter feed makes up more than half of the annual cost of keeping a beef cow. Let’s talk about some best practices for feeding your cattle in the winter months, and how you can minimize costs.

On top of poor storage, improper feeding practices can also waste hay. To minimize waste, feed hay in small amounts or in a feeder. When fed a limited amount of hay at a time, cattle have less opportunity to trample and soil the hay. Also consider feeding hay in well-drained areas, as keeping hay dry also reduces waste. If you intend to feed hay in a single location all winter, provide a footing such as crushed gravel or concrete to help minimize mud. It may be more cost effective to move hay-feeding areas around the farm to minimize the damage to any one area of the pasture. Lastly, if you have hay stored indoors and outdoors, feed the outside hay first.
MINNEAPOLIS — A lot of time and energy is spent harvesting quality hay and silage. Up to 50% losses in dry matter can occur in some instances for hay and silage. This is the equivalent of leaving half of your acres unharvested! Losses up to 20% can occur without even noticing. In a year when […]SEDALIA, Mo. – Escalating costs for hay and supplements has many cattle producers concerned, especially in the face of very poor pasture conditions and limited hay supplies in some areas of the state. Current feed costs have been run through the University of Missouri Extension Beef Cow Feed Cost Dashboard spreadsheet to estimate daily feed costs for […]
LINCOLN, Neb. — Drought conditions are challenging producers to be creative as they think about options for maintaining the cowherd through the summer with limited summer pasture forage projected to be available. Several research studies conducted at the University of Nebraska have shown that cows can be managed effectively utilizing a limit fed ration. In […]
SEDALIA, Mo. – Escalating costs for hay and supplements has many cattle producers concerned, especially in the face of very poor pasture conditions and limited hay supplies in some areas of the state. I thought it was an opportune time to run current feed costs through the Beef Cow Feed Cost Dashboard spreadsheet and get […]
Energy requirements increase in the winter, so before you think about energy-dense feed, think about what you can do to decrease those needs as much as possible. The energy requirement of beef cattle increases about 3% for each degree that the wind chill is below 59 degrees F, and increases even further in wet conditions. Make sure you are providing your cattle protection from the wind and precipitation to help reduce their energy requirement.
Grains are composed largely of starch rather than fiber. The populations of rumen microbes that most effectively break down fiber and ferment starch vary and prefer different rumen pH levels. As increasing levels of grain are fed rumen pH drops and a resulting decrease in the breakdown and digestion of fiber can occur. The negative effects are greatest with low quality forages and higher grain levels which may result in reduced forage intake. The reduction of forage intake and substitution effect of grain is of minor concern when hay is being severely limited to stretch supplies and grain is being substituted as a primary feed source. However, if grain is being fed to meet a marginal energy deficiency while maximizing the use of forage, grain levels should be limited to avoid offsetting supplementation effectiveness through corresponding decreases in forage digestibility and intake.In situations where the forage supply is adequate but quality is too low to meet nutritional needs, the ration may be supplemented with a low level of grain. The objective is to allow cows to get maximum utilization and nutrition from forage while using grain to make up a marginal deficiency for energy. By limiting grain to a few pounds per cow, the negative effects of starch fermentation on fiber digestion are small. The small contribution of protein from the grain will be inadequate to correct significant shortages if forage protein is low. It will be important to simultaneously supplement protein if this is the case to stimulate high forage intake and digestion and meet protein needs. This strategy is best implemented before cow condition has greatly suffered or over a significant time period to gradually recondition cows.

Grains are high in carbohydrates and fed primarily as a source of energy. The protein content of grains is moderate, and while contributing to meeting protein needs, may not adequately supplement protein when fed with low quality forage. Grains also tend to be low in some minerals, especially calcium, and tend to have low vitamin A activity. Therefore, if cow rations are made up primarily of low quality roughage and grains it will be important to also supplement protein, vitamins, and minerals. This can be done by separate supplementation or inclusion of minerals, vitamins, and high protein supplements as canola or soybean meal into the grain mixture as needed to provide a balanced, adequate ration.In situations where forage is in short supply, costly, or unavailable, grain may be fed to partially replace roughage. While grain usually costs more per pound then hay, it is fed in smaller amounts due to its higher nutrient composition and can sometimes be more economical. Table 2 lists the amounts of various hays that can be replaced with various grains based on differing energy values. It is advisable to substitute grain for only a portion of the roughage for several reasons; 1) some roughage is needed in the diet for proper rumen function, 2) heat produced from fiber breakdown is beneficial in maintaining body temperature, 3) fill contributes to satiate, and 4) there are feeding and management problems associated with limit feeding high concentrate rations. Under cold conditions a minimum of ¾ to 1 pound of hay per 100 pounds of body weight is suggested along with grain being fed. In addition to feeding higher levels of grain as a substitute for hay, heavy grain feeding may be appropriate when relatively high rates of gain are desired for reconditioning thin cows.Digestibility of grain is generally improved by mechanical processing such as rolling or grinding to break the seed coat. Improvements in efficiency for barley and wheat will most generally offset additional costs. Depending on processing costs and the level of grain being fed, the advantage to processing oats and corn may be marginal. It is preferable to coarsely process grain. Shattering of dry grains as they are ground fine contributes to small dusty particles that can contribute to feeding losses if feed is delivered on the ground and in the wind. Fines also contribute to faster fermentation in the rumen and a greater potential for digestive problems.

Beef cows are generally wintered most economically on rations consisting primarily of roughage. Grain, however, provides a concentrated highly digestible source of energy that can be fed when roughages are in short supply, and high priced relative to grain, or when forage is inadequate in quality to meet cow needs to maintain desired condition. Various grain processing by products such as screenings and mids can also be well utilized in cow rations.Choice of grain generally depends on local availability and price per nutrient provided. Table 1 lists the nutrient composition of various grains and an approximate equivalent price per bushel based on energy content. Barley, however, is often the least-cost grain in most areas of North Dakota and has the advantage of a higher protein content than corn. Corn has the highest energy value and is likely the most economical grain in corn-producing localities. Corn, oats, and barley are the primary grains fed to cattle. Oats, which has a lower energy value due to its high fiber content, is considered the “safest” grain in regards to potential digestive disturbances. Wheat and rye are sometimes fed when the price is competitive as may be the case with discounted, damaged, or inferior grades. Rye tends to be less palatable than other grains, and wheat should be limited to small amounts or fed in mixtures with oats or corn to minimize digestive problems. The nutrient value of sprouted grains remains high, and vomitoxin in grain appears to be well tolerated by cows in good shape. Grain that has gone out of condition with obvious mold growth may cause adverse health effects.

North Dakota State University is distinctive as a student-focused, land-grant, research university. NDSU Agricultural Affairs educates students with interests in agriculture, food systems and natural resources; fosters communities through partnerships that educate the public; provides creative, cost-effective solutions to current problems; and pursues fundamental and applied research to help shape a better world.
Grain should be fed to cows on a regular daily schedule and must be delivered so each animal gets an equal opportunity to eat. Depending on herd size, and level of grain being fed, a variety of delivery and handling methods can be used, including pails, loaders, feed wagons, and a variety of home built and commercial feed dispensing hoppers. Grain can be very effectively incorporated into mixed rations where silage and chopped forages are being fed with a mixer wagon. When grain is fed alone it is best be placed in bunks if possible to minimize waste. When clean frozen or snow covered ground is available grain may be spread in small piles on the ground. Where facilities are available, sorting the herd into smaller nutritional need groups will help limit the amount of grain needed to meet total cow herd requirements.

What is the cheapest way to feed cows?
“Corn residue is one of the lowest cost forages on a cost per pound of energy. That’s why mixing a high energy and protein feed like distillers’ grains with a low quality forage like corn stalks is so cost effective. Distillers’ is often a low-cost source of both energy and protein.
Grain should be slowly introduced into rations when cows have been on forage and are not accustomed to eating grain to allow microbial populations to adapt to grain. This is accomplished by limiting grain initially to a few pounds per cow per day and then increasing in small steps with four or five days between steps if additional grain is desired. Cows that over eat on grain may encounter digestives disturbances as rumen acidosis with the associated problems of founder and diarrhea. If the grain is introduced gradually and delivered so all cows have an equal opportunity to get their share, these problems are generally minimal due to high levels of roughage often being fed with small amounts of grain. If grain feeding is discontinued and later resumed a similar step up is needed.It’s still one of the best ways to reduce winter feed costs. For spring-calving cows, mid-gestation comes when corn stalks are usually available. “We did the research here in Nebraska for five years,” says Drewnoski. “Cows that got supplemental feed while they were grazing corn stalks and cows that didn’t get supplement performed the same for calving performance and rebreeding. They may need supplemental vitamins and minerals, but they can get all the protein and TDN they need.”

Drewnoski is an advocate for using distiller’s grains to economically feed beef cows in the winter months. But exactly how you do that can make a difference in costs. Here’s how she talks you through the choices, and comes to her preference. If your cows spend the winter in confined spaces, you can be even more stingy with their feed. “We often find that confined cows need less feed than we calculated,” says Drewnoski. “We suspect that their inactivity in confinement further reduces their energy needs, and we fail to take that into account.” If you bale corn stalks after harvest for cow feed, you can add significantly to its protein and TDN by ammoniating it with anhydrous ammonia. Cover the stalk bales with a tarp, then inject the gas to permeate the bales. Drewnoski says ammoniated corn stalks are about equal to good quality grass hay with this method. Crude protein can be bumped up to 9%, and TDN to 55%.

How much space does 1 cow need?
Cows require a considerable amount of space when compared to other livestock. “You want at least an acre per cow,” Robbins said. “If they’re going to have a baby, you want two acres for a cow-calf pair. That’s the minimum amount of land.”
“Not all brome hay is the same,” she says. “You can guess at its feeding value, but why guess? Spend the $20 to get it tested at a lab. Extension offices can tell you how to do it, and they even have hay probes you can borrow for collecting samples.”How much feed does a beef cow need to get through the winter? Probably less than you think, says Mary Drewnoski, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension beef specialist. Here are her 10 tips.Title: Contributing Editor, Successful Farming and Resides in: Mount Vernon, Iowa Hometown: Bayard, Iowa Education: Iowa State University Expertise: Cattle Industry, Other Livestock Industries, General Farming, and Agricultural Business Summary After 33 years on full time staff at Successful Farming, now in semi-retirement covers stories and topics as assigned on a freelance basis, with emphasis on the beef industry, and other general story assignments on a variety of agricultural topics. Career background: After college started as Swine Editor for a Minnesota-based magazine for five years, then accepted a position as Swine Editor at Successful Farming. Remained on staff there for the following 33 years in various editorial positions: Swine Editor, Farm Management Editor, and Managing Editor. In semi-retirement now, continues to write freelance stories for Successful Farming.. Professional Involvement Has been a member of the American Agricultural Editors Association for entire career, winning several writing awards from that organization and also serving a term as President. Education B.S. in Agricultural Journalism, Iowa State UniversityGenerally, the higher the yield, the more carrying capacity of stalks. “200-bushel corn will provide twice as much grazing as 100-bushel corn,” Drewnoski says. She adds that when cows are grazing a stalk field, she keeps an eye on the corn husks. When they’re gone, it’s time to move. Don’t bother counting corn cobs. Most cows don’t like them anyway.

In almost all cow-calf business records comparisons, the most profitable farms are the ones with the lowest costs per cow, she summarizes. “Ask yourself, ‘Where are my competitive advantages?’ Then, make your system fit your resources. And don’t be afraid to try something new or different.”
Nebraska has an online tool called the Feed Cost Cow-Q-Lator. You can enter numbers for the hay you are considering, and it will give you the best value hay, not just the lowest cost hay. “If you price it based on its crude protein and total digestible nutrients (TDN), you ensure you’re getting the best deal,” says Drewnoski. “Frankly, this is one area where people waste a lot of money.”

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“Corn residue is one of the lowest cost forages on a cost per pound of energy. That’s why mixing a high energy and protein feed like distillers’ grains with a low quality forage like corn stalks is so cost effective. Distillers’ is often a low-cost source of both energy and protein. In fact, it is often lower cost per pound of energy than even baled corn residue.

“Feeding free-choice forage and providing supplemental energy or protein is not always the lowest cost way to feed a beef cow. It may be when forage is cheap, but forage is not always cheap. Right now it is quite expensive.
“Thus, making a nutrient dense diet that has 40% to 50% distillers’ with the remaining being residue, and feeding a limited amount that meets a cow’s needs, is cheaper than maximizing her intake of residue and using the distillers’ to supplement any extra protein and energy she needs. This approach is often the one I see producers start with. But once you do the math, limit-feeding a high distillers’ diet is cheaper.

What is the most efficient way to feed cows?
Processing or grinding hay is the most efficient method for limit-feeding, but rolling out bales on frozen ground is also an option. Monitor body condition scores and adjust feed accordingly to maintain cows at a body condition of 5/9 and heifers at a body condition of 6/9.
“For instance, a mid-gestation cow could be fed free-choice corn residue (or CRP hay) and supplemented with distillers’. Right now low-quality hay/corn residue bales are going for $60 per ton and modified distillers’ is around $75 per ton. So free choice, she would eat 24 pounds dry matter of residue or hay, but would need 1.8 pounds of distillers’ (DM) to meet her energy/protein requirement. That would be at a total feed cost of $0.86 per day. If you have a mixer wagon, a mixed ration of baled corn residue and distillers’ grains can make a very good cow ration. Limit-feeding it is often a low-cost option. “Distillers’ fed with a low quality forage like corn stalks is so cost effective because distillers’ is often a low-cost source of both energy and protein,” says Drewnoski. “Or I could limit-feed her 8 pounds of hay or residue and 7.5 pounds of distillers’ to also meet her needs, at a cost of $0.80 per day. The difference – 6 cents – does not sound like much but it adds up. For 100 cows that is $6 per day for a 90-day feeding period. That’s $540 for the herd. This impact is even greater if you look at more expensive hays.”

It costs about $25 per ton to ammoniate corn stalk bales, says Drewnoski. Interestingly, she adds, cows seem to like ammoniated corn cobs. (Full instructions for ammoniating corn stalks are available in a Nebraska Extension bulletin.)
The big differences are between mid-gestation and late-gestation. “In mid-gestation the calf is not growing much, so the needs are considerably less,” says Drewnoski. “Then they pick up in late gestation. And, lots of people miss the higher nutritional needs of early lactation. Don’t fudge then if you want cows to rebreed.”Cows fed dried distillers’ grains on the ground waste up to 40% of it. But in a bunk, it’s usually about 5% waste. “Bunk feeding always makes sense if you can do it,” Drewnoski says.

What is the best feed for cattle in the winter?
High quality hay is a great source of energy for your cattle. Intakes will increase in the winter, so purchasing and storing high quality hay is crucial. To ensure adequate nutrition, have your hay sent in for a forage analysis. Match animal nutrition requirements to the quality of your forage.
Grazing is an important distinction, she adds. When cows graze, they selectively eat leaves and husks, the best parts of corn residue. Baled stalks don’t give them that choice.

Another useful design component, irrespective of grant aid being sought, is a forcing pen. It should be funnel-shaped with one side straight and the other at a 300 angle to the race to encourage the free movement of cattle.Handling facilities are vital to the efficient running of any livestock enterprise. Good handling facilities reduce stress on the animal, prevent the risk of injury and also encourage regular handling of animals for management practices such as administering health treatments and weight recording. For grant purposes, the floor area of the crush and race and an area extending to at least 600mm outside of this must be constructed with a 125mm thick concrete slab, which has been laid over a hardcore base of at least 150mm thick. The surface of the floor must be finished with a non-slip finish or diagonal grooves at intervals of 100mm to prevent animals slipping and provide for stress-free movement. A slope with a 1:60 fall shall be incorporated into the floor to prevent water buildup, with suitable drainage channels to receive runoff from the floor. The rules pertaining to how cattle handling facilities can be constructed are detailed in the Department of Agriculture building specification S137 (May 2018); minimum specification for cattle crush, race and enclosure. This specification is also a useful guide for anyone erecting such facilities without looking for grant aid.Installing a sliding or hinged gate at the rear of the crush, as demonstrated in Figure 2, is advised. This can then be used in conjunction with the swinging gate at the front of the crush to access the animal.

The floor of the pen should also be a 125mm concrete base laid on a 150mm hardcore base. Concrete should also be finished with a non-slip finish or diagonal grooves with a slope of 1:60 also in place. Where the unit is not cleaned following use, drainage channels to collect runoff must be in place. The design of channels is 75mm wide by 75mm deep with the edges tapering slightly inwards.

The other option in this regard is to have suitable notches on the middle rails of the race (and wall if the crush is erected along a solid wall) to hold a retaining bar.
The 200m2 figure is for these structures as a single entity. A second consideration states that the gross floor space of the proposed structure or any other such structure situated within the same farmyard complex or within 100m of the farmyard cannot exceed a total of 300m2 gross floor space. If it does, planning permission is required.

A clean water diversion shall be in place for when the floor area is clean. Tanks must be built referring to S123, Minimum Specification for Bovine Livestock Units and Reinforced Tanks.
Where the structure is cleaned after each use, there will generally not be any need for effluent/slurry storage. If storage facilities are being included, then they must be sufficient to store one day’s waste and have the necessary channels to collect all runoff and divert to the tank when deemed soiled water or to a safe clean water outlet when not in use.The reader loyalty code gives you full access to the site from when you enter it until the following Wednesday at 9pm. Find your unique code on the back page of Irish Country Living every week.

Understandably, the advice is to pay due regard to how animal penning divisions located in sheds and feed passages can combine with the unit. When the cattle crush and race is sited within a building, the crush needs to be faced towards light.All of the rails or sections in the race must be fitted with a quick-release mechanism so they can be removed quickly and safely. In double-sided races, this quick-release mechanism only needs to be fitted on one side although the Department’s advice is to fit them on both sides if possible.

Upright posts should be set in a 300mm x 300mm x 450mm concrete base at no more than 2.4m centres. It is also strongly recommended that the post closest to the skulling gate be no more than 1.8m away from the gate and depending on the gate type possibly 1.4m. This spacing allows for the inclusion of a small swinging gate in the first section, which is highly recommended.
There are a number of aspects that should be borne in mind when designing cattle handling facilities, irrespective of whether grant aid is being sought. The first of these is determining if planning permission is required.

The crush length, which is defined as the first section joined to the head gate is recommended to be 1,4m in length where a skulling gate is in place, and 1.8m where a plain gate is in place. The head gate should be at least 1.6m in height and contain a quick-release mechanism. The minimum length of the race is 3.4m, while it is recommended to erect a race with a minimum length of 5.4m. As a guide, a 9m race is described as typically holding five to six mature animals.

What height should feed bunks be for calves?
According to Harner and Murphy, the recommended bunk space for backgrounding feedlots (500 to 700 lb calves) is 18 inches per head. Younger cattle are more likely to eat together which requires more bunk space compared to finishing cattle.
Gates must be fitted with a heavy closing bolt. The bolt should be designed so it can be fully retracted into the gate frame. The maximum length of a gate is 4.6m, while ideally it is recommended that gates are no longer than 3m.Catwalks are not mandatory but are advised. Where installed, the specification states a height of 300mm to 400mm and a width of at least 1.1m to facilitate a safe working area. It is also permissible to have variable-height catwalks. It is strongly recommended that at least 1.2m width of area along either side of the crush and race is excluded from any enclosure so as to provide a safe working area along the crush and race.

What height should a cattle crush be?
Crush dimensions The head gate should be at least 1.6m in height and contain a quick-release mechanism. The minimum length of the race is 3.4m, while it is recommended to erect a race with a minimum length of 5.4m.
Where availing of grant aid, the specifications state that there must be a minimum space of 4m and preferably 6m between the front end of the cattle crush and any facing wall, solid barrier or door that is less than 3m wide to allow cattle to exit the crush easily. Where a door is greater than 3m wide, the specifications state that the crush should be designed so that the door can be fully open when in use.The space between the railings is recommended at 405mm which leaves a 440mm space from the bottom rail to ground floor height. All side rails, retaining bars or steel sections used in gates must be at least 48mm OD x 3mm thick or 50mm OD x 2mm for tubular steel and 50mm square sections x 2.5mm thick for box-type sections. Handling facilities are classified as a Class 8 structure under exempted development planning rules. Other structures in this class include roofless cubicles, open loose yards, self-feed silo or silage areas, feeding aprons, assembly yards, milking parlours or structures for the making or storage of silage. These structures must have an aggregate gross floor space that does not exceed 200m2 and also provide for effluent storage, where required. If the crush is to be used for caesarean sections and it runs alongside a wall, it is strongly recommended to run the crush from right to left so that there is free access to the left side of the animal. The height of the top bar of the race section is recommended at 1.4m above ground level. Where again availing of grant aid, the minimum specification for uprights is tubular steel with an outer diameter (OD) of at least 76.1mm and thickness of 5mm or hollow-section boxed steel uprights measuring 80mm x 80mm x 4mm thick. Variations in size are permitted to suit different animal types, with 500mm recommended where the crush will be used exclusively for calves, 650mm to 700mm for dairy stock and up to 750mm for larger-framed beef animals.There is a happy balance to be achieved to aid cattle flow, with long races holding 12 or more animals not recommended due to difficulties in encouraging animal flow. The standard width of the race is 650mm to 700mm.

In terms of the siting of the crush, the specifications state that the crush and race can be free-standing, located alongside a mass concrete wall (a block wall is not sufficient), at the side of a suitable building or alternatively situated in an animal house or feed passage.
These structures cannot be constructed within 10m of a public road without planning permission, while no such structure can be constructed within 100m of any house (excluding the house of the person providing the structure), residential building, school, church, etc, without the written consent of the owner or, if appropriate, the occupier or person in charge.

Existing walls or fences can form any part of the enclosure as long as they are at least 1.4m high and constructed of at least 150mm reinforced mass concrete for walls. For steel posts and rails, the post spacing cannot exceed 2.3m centres with at least three rails present. Where gates form part of the enclosure, they shall be constructed of a circular hollow section steel with at least a 48.3mm OD and 3mm thickness or square hollow section steel of 50mm x 50mm and 3mm thick.
Develop an understanding of beef production as a system and be exposed to alternative production practices that may enhance profitability and stewardship.Weaning season is right around the corner for producers. However, some producers do not think about how their management techniques can affect calves when entering the feedlot. These techniques can affect how calves are managed when received at the feedlot and subsequently, can determine the number of head in a pen during receiving. This article will review the difference in bunk space requirements between calves that are weaned and shipped immediately to a different location compared to calves that are preconditioned before entering the feedlot. Preconditioning is defined by calves that are vaccinated, have a nutritional background, and have had time to adjust to weaning before being shipped to a new location.

How much bunk space per calf?
Bunk Space Per Animal Recommended bunk space for backgrounding feedlots (500–700 pounds) is 18 inches per head. Younger cattle prefer to eat together and require more bunk space than finishing cattle. Finishing cattle operations have a bunk space of 9–12 inches per head.
Water consumption is another factor that can aid in calf health. Cattle can consume 8 to 20 gallons per 1,000 pound animal unit. This will vary depending on the weather and time of the year. Having fresh clean water for calves is important for rumen development. Calves should have unlimited clean water at all times.

Rumen development cannot be overlooked while a calf is being weaned. Rumen development is extremely important for calf health because it takes 4 to 6 months before the rumen is completely developed. Feeding high starches (grains) can increase the rate of rumen growth and development. Calves that are preconditioned could potentially have had access to long stem forages and grains which would aid in gut health. The calves that have access to forages or grains could also potentially be bunk broke because the dams may have taught the calves what is in a feed bunk. This can also affect bunk space in a feedlot for calves that are preconditioned or weaned.
The issues listed above, can affect the number of calves in a pen at a feedlot. According to Harner and Murphy, the recommended bunk space for backgrounding feedlots (500 to 700 lb calves) is 18 inches per head. Younger cattle are more likely to eat together which requires more bunk space compared to finishing cattle. However, one needs to consider the differences in bunk space for preconditioned calves and weaned calves in a feedlot. Finishing cattle have a bunk space of 9 to 12 inches per head. These differences in bunk space are due to the factors described above.Another concern to be aware of is pathogens. Pathogen loads could vary in preconditioned calves’ versus weaned calves. Preconditioned calves could potentially have a built up immune system against pathogens because of the social interaction prior to entering the feedlot. Weaning, change of diets, transportation, and change of housing can all be stressful events for calves, thus suppressing the immune system which weakens its ability to fight pathogens present in feedlots.

What is the most efficient feed for cattle?
Corn has the highest energy value and is likely the most economical grain in corn-producing localities. Corn, oats, and barley are the primary grains fed to cattle. Oats, which has a lower energy value due to its high fiber content, is considered the “safest” grain in regards to potential digestive disturbances.
Caring for cattle is an important responsibility for any livestock farmer. You can ensure that your herd receives the best nutrition with the right feed bunks. In this article, I will discuss my top 10 premium feed bins for cows that are sure to provide your livestock with the highest quality sustenance.If you want to run an automated system that can move large quantities of material while minimizing manual labor requirements, conveyor belt systems are ideal. Conveyor belt systems allow material such as grain or pellets to be directly into a bunker, which can then be distributed evenly across multiple locations in seconds—saving loads of time compared with manual methods!

I remembered starting out on my own ranch and had yet to decide what kind of feed bunk to get. I spent hours searching for different types and brands of items online before finally determining the one that best met my requirements. After downloading it, however, I quickly realized this wasn’t quite what I wanted; luckily, there are plenty of excellent options available today that are both affordable and effective!

Make sure to place your feed bunks near water so they can stay within meals and hydration breaks. Also, keep them in shaded areas so they don’t get overheated while eating. You can counteract that by placing them on an elevated surface, aiding drainage if it rains or snows frequently in your area.As famed rancher jack McEntire once said: “the first step in proper care is to provide excellent feed tailored specifically for each species. With so many options available now compared to just a few years ago, wooden bunks lined with metal bars or concrete blocks and steel mesh grids – there are countless choices!

These stackable round bale feeders are preassembled and ready for use – meaning less work for busy farmers like me who don’t want to fuss much when feeding their livestock! They have adjustable heights so they can comfortably accommodate nearly any type of round hay bale inside without being overcrowded – leaving plenty of room around each bale so air can pass freely and reduce molding caused by the deterioration of hay over time.There are numerous factors to consider when shopping for a feed tank. The feeding area must be easily accessible and, ideally, provide enough space for all your animals. Additionally, you want to ensure that the feeder is constructed from high-quality materials such as treated wood or galvanized steel since this will help it last for many years. When comparing different models and prices on the market, remember to look in detail at the size of the feeder and its capacity if you intend to acquire more cattle soon. The importance of good cattle feed bunks must be balanced. With the right herd selection, you can ensure your cattle get adequate nutrition and enough space to eat comfortably. We believe in providing you with the most accurate assessment possible, which is why we’ve identified 10 of the best available offerings and presented a unique range of features for each version. One more benefit of vertical auger systems is their ability to shovel large volumes of grain or other commodities directly into storage bins without involving humans (lessening contamination risk). These systems also help reduce labor costs because they run nonstop without needing someone constantly monitoring them as other machines do.Creep feeders are ideal for calves, allowing them access to food without competing with larger animals in the herd. These feeders are designed with adjustable gates that can be opened or closed depending on the size and age of the calf, allowing them to access only when needed.As a cattle farmer, I know the importance of having top-notch feed bunks for your livestock. Not only does it provide nutrition for your animals, but it can also make or break their overall health and well-being. One of the most critical aspects of successful ranching is keeping your cattle fed, which makes getting the feed bunk right crucial!Stackable feed bunks are perfect if you need a lot of storage space but only have a little room on your farm. These bunks stack up on each other, giving you plenty of storage while taking up minimal space. They also come in different sizes, so you can find one that fits your needs perfectly! Wall-mounted feed bunk systems provide an easy way to store and dispense food without taking up too much room on your farm. These systems usually come with adjustable flow rates so you can control how much food is released into each bunk, ensuring that your cattle get exactly what they need every day! Plus, these systems often come with sensors that alert you when food levels get low, so you know when it’s time to refill them again. I have advice for other ranchers: do your research and find the best feed bunk for you and your livestock. You have every right to ask questions and seek advice if you think it is needed – as the old saying goes, “you can’t put a price on happy cows”! Doing proper research beforehand will ensure you have everything you need to keep them healthy and content.Remember that you need to be mindful of how often and how much you are feeding; if done too frequently over a long period, it may lead to digestive distress and obesity.

What is the feeding slope to cattle?
A land slope of 2 to 5 percent is recommended. Soil with 25 percent or more clay is preferred to sand or fractured rock structures. Allow approximately 1 acre of land per 100 head for pen space, alleys, and feed roads. The distance from the bunk to back side of the pen will vary between 150 feet to 250 feet.
Troughs give easy access to food for cattle, while round bales provide more nutrients which may be stored outdoors or in a barn. Self-feeders allow cattle to eat as much as they want without competing with other animals. At the same time, bunk silos are large containers used for comprehensive storage solutions. Gravity feeders also offer convenient storage options but require manual filling and refilling due to their shape.Round bale feeders are perfect for farmers who need to store large amounts of hay at a time. This type of loft (with easy access doors) makes it easier for cows to get their feed without having to search through piles of straw first – simply making mealtime faster than ever before! Some round bale feeders even have built-in water tanks, so you don’t have to refill them all the time.

Cattle feeders provide cattle ranchers and farmers with several benefits. They offer a clean, convenient and efficient way to feed cattle on pastures or in feedlots. Feeders keep the animal’s nutrition consistent by limiting access to certain areas and enabling easy segregation of animals with different dietary needs. Feeders are also easier to clean than individual troughs, reducing stress levels among cattle while preventing disease transmission.
What’s flexible tubular cattle fencing? This differs from traditional barbed wire fences since these tubes bend easily into any shape while retaining strength and durability even under extreme conditions. An economical option is suitable for any size farm!Homemade cattle feed bunks are a great way to save money while providing a safe and comfortable place for your cattle to eat. They are relatively easy to make and can be constructed from various materials. With a little time and effort, you can create a feed bunk that will last for years.

The double-duty cattle feeder: as it suggests, this double-sided feeder offers twice the capacity of a single-sided model – making it ideal if you have large herds of cattle who need lots of food! A strong build also means that this feeder will not degrade with repeated use, which will give you peace of mind knowing your creatures will get sustenance when they need it most.
In addition, we have self-feeders which are great for farms with limited labor resources or those who need more flexible feeding times than traditional cavities provide. As well as the stationary and portable ones, you can choose from self-feeders suitable for your farm’s needs. They are also ideal for reducing labor expenses because they require minimal human intervention—just run ’em once a day or week, depending on how much feed your herd needs!Next on our list is the round hay feeder, which helps keep hay off the ground and away from moisture—making it last longer and fresher for your cattle. It also helps prevent wastage by allowing your animals to get maximum nutrition from each mouthful they consume!Finally, plastic is another option for homemade feed bunks. It is lightweight, easy to work with, and relatively inexpensive. However, it is less durable than wood or metal and is not as resistant to the elements.Inspect the feeding troughs for objects such as pine cones or rocks during cattle feeding, which may cause choking injuries if cows ingest them. Also, keep an eye out for rotting or spoiled food, which should be promptly removed! When selecting a feedbox, there are several factors you should consider. Buffalo can adjust their height to the correct level for a better eating experience! Suppose you intend on using your bunk outdoors. In that case, you’ll want to evaluate factors such as durability and ease of cleaning/maintenance, which are essential components when considering long-term use and cost savings over time. My experience has taught me that different brands vary significantly in terms of quality, so you should do a good deal of research before purchasing – read customer reviews and view images of various models online before making your final choice! Cattle feed troughs are an essential part of any farm, and with so many designs to choose from, it can be difficult to decide which is best for your herd. That’s why I’ve put together a top 10 list of my favorite cattle feed troughs to help you maximize nutrition from each bite!

Homemade feed bunks are a great way to save money while providing a safe and comfortable place for your cattle to eat. They are also relatively easy to make and can be constructed from a variety of materials. The most common materials used are wood, metal, and plastic.
We also have round hay or feed bale ring components designed to be fed with round hay or other feeds such as silage or straw, saving time because you don’t need to divide a big hay or feed bale into smaller pieces before feeding them. Round bale rings are ideal if you need an efficient way to get maximum nutrition from whatever you’re feeding them since they offer easy access points around the edge of each ring!Gravity-feed bunks are great if you’re looking for an efficient way to dispense food quickly and evenly across multiple bunks at once. This type of system uses gravity (or pressure) to push food out into each bunk – meaning there’s no need for manual filling or refilling. These bunks often come with adjustable flow rates, so you can customize how much food is released into each one at once!

A hay rack design is one of the most popular feeders, as it promotes better digestion and provides a more natural way for cows to eat without bending down or reaching far into the feeder. These designs also help keep the ground drier by lifting hay off, minimizing mud and mess on your farm.
Cattle feed troughs come in several popular brands and designs. These include steel galvanized troughs, plastic polyethylene models, and concrete bunk designs. Each style has its own advantages and disadvantages regarding durability, cost, ease of installation, and shelf life, among other factors. When selecting the best cattle feeding trough to suit your livestock needs, these details must be considered.Quality should be the top priority when investing in any type of equipment; we want our cows to have the best possible nutrition after all! Many farmers believe that properly constructed feeding stations reduce stress among their herds, eliminating the need for fighting over food or waiting for hours until somebody finishes eating first!).When buying cattle feed bunkers, you must ensure that the model you settle on will accommodate your herd size and provide maximum nutrition. If you have a small number of animals, you should be okay with one that holds enough food for your whole herd.