One of the most challenging and costly aspects of beef cattle production in Kentucky is winter-feeding. Many producers complain about the time required to feed stored forages, the mud, the drudgery that it creates for the operator, and the decline in production. The intense traffic associated with winter feeding on unimproved surfaces causes mud, compaction, erosion, and loss of desirable vegetation, often resulting in annual pasture renovations to address areas impacted by winter-feeding practices. Fenceline feeding systems offer an alternative to traditional in-field bale feeding during the wet winter conditions that Kentucky often experiences. These structures can be utilized to reduce the impact of winter-feeding on pastures and improve the operational efficiency of a winter-feeding area. The volume of wasted hay can also be reduced, compared to traditional practices. These structures are designed so that the tractor never has to enter the field to load hay bales into the structure. Eliminating the tractor traffic in a field greatly reduces issues with mud, rutting up the field, and the frustration of feeding hay in the mud. Fenceline feeder systems are also excellent options for mobility limited or disabled producers. The major advantage of this practice is the savings in time, but it also prevents compaction of soils and having to interact with cattle/calves while trying to feed.
To the left is a picture of the area before fenceline feeders were installed on Eden Shale Farm.
Five designs were developed and installed at the fenceline feeder demonstration site at Eden Shale Farm. Each design has pros and cons that should be considered during the planning process. The given dimensions and quantities of materials needed are for the specific designs installed at Eden Shale Farm. Each design is scalable to the size of your hay bales and the needs of your operation. The design was built to accommodate 5½ foot diameter round bales.
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Eden Shale Farm 245 Eden Shale Rd. Office: (859) 278-0899 Owenton, KY 40359 Fax: (859) 260-2060