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Re: Why do you buy cake?

Posted: Tue Nov 28, 2017 8:45 am
by Big Swede
I've got 2nd cutting alfalfa orchard grass for sale. No rain on any hay this year unfortunately. I've sold about 2,000 bales so far but have a little left.

Re: Why do you buy cake?

Posted: Tue Nov 28, 2017 11:50 am
by Faster horses
Big Swede wrote:I've got 2nd cutting alfalfa orchard grass for sale. No rain on any hay this year unfortunately. I've sold about 2,000 bales so far but have a little left.


Ranchers in SE Montana have been crying for hay. Send me a PM of where you are and how to contact you and I'll let some people there know.

I read this thread from start to finish. It was interesting all over again.

I still maintain alfalfa is a better buy than cake; you know what is in it; you get some dry matter along with alfalfa (we are finding out more and more how important digestible dry matter is). Hay sure hasn't kept up with the price of other protein supplements. I also know that alfalfa hay needs to be put up right to be good. Mr. FH bales almost all our hay at night, or early morning. He likes to put up good hay.


I can't speak about DDG's as we have never fed those; but they seem to be a good deal. You may need to check your mineral formula and feed a less phos mineral with DDG's; depending on how much of it you feed per head per day. DDG's contain quite a bit of sulpher that may cause problems down the road and the right mineral formulation can help with that. Besides that, lower phos mineral is cheaper because phos is the most expensive ingredient in mineral.

I agree with Brad S. Alfalfa hay can be fed every other day or maybe even every third day and it will work just fine.
If you feed higher than 20% protein cake, it probably contains urea. Too much urea takes energy to digest. I've had customers tell me about feeding cake with a high % urea in the winter and the cows actually were shivering. He thought it was because of all the energy needed to digest the cake with urea.

Testing your hay could save thousands of dollars by not purchasing un-necessary protein. Feed companies have made a lot of money selling protein. 10% protein hay will meet a cows nutrition requirements; they just need plenty of it. We have never fed cake, only grass hay and much of it marginal in nutrition, and mineral and we got by just fine. We fed enough hay that there was some left over that the cows went back in the afternoon and cleaned up. We didn't have the rangeland to feed cake on winter grass, but I know those that do and they feed plenty of cake, they don't short the cows. They get along fine too. Protein is pretty easily met, it's energy requirements that are hardest to meet in the north country. There is a place in Miles City that makes a cake of alfalfa and corn. People that buy from them are very happy; that mill has a very good reputation. The cake looks really good and has the right consistency to hold up well.

We just tested some standing grass for a customer and it came back 2% protein. Cows can't eat enough of that to meet their requirements in digestible dry matter, protein or energy, so they need supplemented soon for sure. Mild temperature helps and that those cows aren't yet in the third trimester. Things change when entering that third trimester as nutrition requirements go up.

Re: Why do you buy cake?

Posted: Tue Nov 28, 2017 9:22 pm
by Soapweed
Big Swede, we are starting to feed more alfalfa in place of cake. What are you asking for yours? I might be interested in some.

Re: Why do you buy cake?

Posted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 8:27 am
by lavacarancher
As usual I'm coming in way late on this topic but here's my two cents worth. First, living where I do alfalfa just isn't available. It's usually hot and dry in S. Texas and no one even tries to grow alfalfa. I know a couple of ranchers that have it hauled in but at $3000 for trucking alone (don't know the price of the hay) it makes it hard to pencil a profit out of your cattle. Second, I use cubes (cake) as a supplement to hay. I try to feed 1-2 pounds of cubes per head per day IN THE WINTER when the cattle are on hay. Third, we call cubes "cow crack". The cattle love it and will take you down for a cube. So with a bag of cubes you can move your cattle where ever you want them (like in the pen) just by opening a bag and spreading it around the corral.

I know this is off topic a little but I also supplement with molasses and medicated lick blocks.

Re: Why do you buy cake?

Posted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 1:12 pm
by Big Swede
Soapweed wrote:Big Swede, we are starting to feed more alfalfa in place of cake. What are you asking for yours? I might be interested in some.


My 3rd is all gone. I'm getting $135 for 2nd.

Re: Why do you buy cake?

Posted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 4:23 pm
by TexasBred
lavacarancher wrote:As usual I'm coming in way late on this topic but here's my two cents worth. First, living where I do alfalfa just isn't available. It's usually hot and dry in S. Texas and no one even tries to grow alfalfa. I know a couple of ranchers that have it hauled in but at $3000 for trucking alone (don't know the price of the hay) it makes it hard to pencil a profit out of your cattle. Second, I use cubes (cake) as a supplement to hay. I try to feed 1-2 pounds of cubes per head per day IN THE WINTER when the cattle are on hay. Third, we call cubes "cow crack". The cattle love it and will take you down for a cube. So with a bag of cubes you can move your cattle where ever you want them (like in the pen) just by opening a bag and spreading it around the corral.

I know this is off topic a little but I also supplement with molasses and medicated lick blocks.

Lava that's the way most of us in the warmer parts of the country feed. Mention alfalfa down here and folks think "dairy" and that's just about the only folks that can afford them. Plus most of us have more than enough grass hay to take care of our needs. Nutritionally cubes will be equal to if not better than alfalfa, they just come out of bag and lack the fiber content of the alfalfa but are fully fortified with vitamins and minerals. Some of the folks around here (and I've done it as well) feed 38% cubes which are all natural protein and nothing more than pure cottonseed meal with just enough molasses pellet binder added to make the cubes hard. Producers can feed half as much as the 20% cubes and get the same amount of crude protein . A few companies do make cubes with urea but seems most folks avoid them even though 99% of them contain 20 lbs. per ton of urea are less so the cow is consuming very little of it. Urea works better in high energy diets anyway or if fed in conjunction with molasses as in tubs or liquid feed. As for alfalfa in a cube, anytime you see alfalfa being sold in anything but a bale (round or square) there is a reason. It was usually cut late, got rained on, tested low on protein and digestibility. Companies buy it cheap, dehydrate it, grind it super find and resell it. Makes a beautiful dark green pellet or cube but it is almost never guaranteed over 17% crude protein, and has extremely high ADF and NDF and low TDN. But cubed and bagged and they make a killing off of it.

Probably the biggest problem we have down here is people unwilling to have their hay tested if they grow there own or if they are buying it, thus have no real idea if the hay needs supplementing and as Faster Horses said it can be pretty low quality and a cow will starve to death with a belly full of it. That's when you hope they have enough sense to pay attention to other warning signs like loss of body condition, failure to breed back in a timely manner, and raising an unthrifty calf because of a lack of milk production.

Re: Why do you buy cake?

Posted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 8:25 pm
by Soapweed
Big Swede wrote:
Soapweed wrote:Big Swede, we are starting to feed more alfalfa in place of cake. What are you asking for yours? I might be interested in some.


My 3rd is all gone. I'm getting $135 for 2nd.


Thanks. I'll keep it in mind.

Re: Why do you buy cake?

Posted: Mon Dec 11, 2017 1:03 pm
by littlejoe
Faster horses wrote:
Big Swede wrote:I've got 2nd cutting alfalfa orchard grass for sale. No rain on any hay this year unfortunately. I've sold about 2,000 bales so far but have a little left.


Ranchers in SE Montana have been crying for hay. Send me a PM of where you are and how to contact you and I'll let some people there know.

I read this thread from start to finish. It was interesting all over again.

I still maintain alfalfa is a better buy than cake; you know what is in it; you get some dry matter along with alfalfa (we are finding out more and more how important digestible dry matter is). Hay sure hasn't kept up with the price of other protein supplements. I also know that alfalfa hay needs to be put up right to be good. Mr. FH bales almost all our hay at night, or early morning. He likes to put up good hay.


I can't speak about DDG's as we have never fed those; but they seem to be a good deal. You may need to check your mineral formula and feed a less phos mineral with DDG's; depending on how much of it you feed per head per day. DDG's contain quite a bit of sulpher that may cause problems down the road and the right mineral formulation can help with that. Besides that, lower phos mineral is cheaper because phos is the most expensive ingredient in mineral.

I agree with Brad S. Alfalfa hay can be fed every other day or maybe even every third day and it will work just fine.
If you feed higher than 20% protein cake, it probably contains urea. Too much urea takes energy to digest. I've had customers tell me about feeding cake with a high % urea in the winter and the cows actually were shivering. He thought it was because of all the energy needed to digest the cake with urea.

Testing your hay could save thousands of dollars by not purchasing un-necessary protein. Feed companies have made a lot of money selling protein. 10% protein hay will meet a cows nutrition requirements; they just need plenty of it. We have never fed cake, only grass hay and much of it marginal in nutrition, and mineral and we got by just fine. We fed enough hay that there was some left over that the cows went back in the afternoon and cleaned up. We didn't have the rangeland to feed cake on winter grass, but I know those that do and they feed plenty of cake, they don't short the cows. They get along fine too. Protein is pretty easily met, it's energy requirements that are hardest to meet in the north country. There is a place in Miles City that makes a cake of alfalfa and corn. People that buy from them are very happy; that mill has a very good reputation. The cake looks really good and has the right consistency to hold up well.

We just tested some standing grass for a customer and it came back 2% protein. Cows can't eat enough of that to meet their requirements in digestible dry matter, protein or energy, so they need supplemented soon for sure. Mild temperature helps and that those cows aren't yet in the third trimester. Things change when entering that third trimester as nutrition requirements go up.


I've been getting 3rd with a little rain damage laid in ---40 ton loads, 120 mile haul, for 125$.

3 x 4 bales which feed lots nicer with a pitchfork than 4x4, weigh about 1400. testing over 20% protein.

my bale handler will pick them the wide way==hydrabed. then back into a stack butt and cram 'em all the way ahead.

hay's between townsend and I 90

pm me if you want phone number---I hate to just put it online w/o permission

I think there's quite a bit of hay in that area.....

Re: Why do you buy cake?

Posted: Mon Dec 11, 2017 4:00 pm
by Faster horses
Thanks, littlejoe. I'll pass it along. Trucking kind of kills it having to go that far from SE Montana--but that's their decision, not mine.

Re: Why do you buy cake?

Posted: Fri Dec 15, 2017 6:19 pm
by sandhiller
You are not taking into account the extra energy in the cake.
I do not feed much if any cake but an feeding some ddg. My experience us when I start feeding hay, cows tend to want to quit grazing cornstalks. They hear a tractor or pickup going down the road and go stand along the fence begging to be fed. Good alfalfa delivered would usually be well over $100 a ton, even grass hay is often over 100 a ton for a short haul. Those truckers seem to want to be able to eat, pay for their trucks and fuel and still have some left.

After I start feeding full or nearly full feed if hay, I do feed alfalfa if I have enough but don't usually buy any.

Re: Why do you buy cake?

Posted: Thu Dec 21, 2017 5:36 pm
by Brad S
When I feel like cows are lazy and waiting for handouts, I consider they need more protein to drive them to roughage