Posted 5/10/2022 15:32 (#9655339) Subject: Talk a guy through switching from stuffers to tmr for holsteins-long post
Trying to get the rest of manure from winter spread now that we're finally drying out so I'm getting some windshield time to think. I feed holstein and holstein Angus crossbreds from newborn to fat, they get whole shelled corn and pellets from 9 weeks old until fat with their only roughage being their bedding. I have 2-300 total on feed and plan to grow more. I work full time off farm with a somewhat flexible schedule, my wife works full time and we have a 4 month old and a 20 month old. I've built my operation from scratch, so the stuffers have worked well for my gradual growth and crazy schedule. I've thrown around the idea of switching to tmr before, but always decide against it. However, im planning a fairly large expansion in the next couple years and think that may be time to make the switch. Ive got several questions I would like to discuss and I'll lay them out as best I can.
1-what sort of feedstuffs? Being holsteins, I know they will need corn and a lot of it. I have a neighbor who feeds holsteins and they feed hmsc, grind it going into their upright silos. I believe they feed wdg and ground hay also but I haven't asked them to be sure. Ive done some research and it seems like guys really like snaplage. I find the part about an early harvest appealing because it makes baling cornstalks a lot easier than in November or December. The fast harvest, zero drying costs and greater pounds of feed per acre are also big bonuses.
I also grow soybeans and alfalfa/grass hay I feed my small herd of beef cows and sell some so that could be ground unto the ration as well. Having fewer numbers of animals on feed, I would like to keep the list of ingredients fairly short to keep faces of bags/piles fresh and keep initial infrastructure costs (commodity shed) to a minimum
2- would you start them on a tmr right away like I do currently with the corn/pellets at 9 weeks or feed the corn/pellet up to say 4-500#? Ive read and seen it both ways but im undecided there.
3- equipment and feed storage? Part of what brings this up now is that like I said earlier I started from scratch. I don't own a combine yet but was planning on buying something in the next couple years (currently pay dad custom rates but he's getting older and so is his equipment so doesn't want to keep doing mine forever) I have 18k worth of storage for dry corn now, but I recently bought 2 used bins (12k bu each) to tear down and put back up that will give me enough storage and a little room to grow. Right now I usually wait until corn is 20% in the field and just put air on it to dry the rest of the way down in the bins. It works ok for now, but eventually I'll need to buy a dryer/wet bin/ augers because it won't always work out as good as it has especially once I get doing more. So if I do a snaplage or hmsc based tmr, I could get by with bags for a couple years and put up bunkers or a pad eventually. As far as the equipment goes, ill need a combine regardless eventually, but I could get by with a smaller/older one if only doing 10-15k of dry but would need something with some more power/capacity to do both dry and hmsc. Or just go with a smaller/older combine and dryer and either hire or buy the equipment to do snaplage.
4- with either hmsc or snaplage, what is a safe amount to use in a finisher ration and what kind of yields do you expect?
I averaged 212 at 15% last year as a reference.
I apologize for the novel and the million loaded questions but I'm just trying to gather all my thoughts and get some opinions