Elliotts busy making hay at Tri E Simmentals
AP

Elliotts busy making hay at Tri E Simmentals

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Elliott cows

Part of the Tri E Simmentals cow herd on pasture this past summer.

GALESBURG, N.D. – With corn silage chopping wrapped up, Mike Elliott and his son, Kurt, are now working on getting some additional hay put up at Tri E Simmentals. The corn silage is really chopping mainly the ears and piling that for feeding later, so it wasn’t too critical that the corn plants had become fairly dry after the freezing temperatures.

“We got the earlage into the pile and tarped it, so it has plastic over it and tires to hold the plastic down,” Kurt said prior to the Thanksgiving holiday. “The earlage is mainly used in the feedlot rations.”

Now the Elliotts are working on baling a prevented plant crop made up of a combination of peas and oats as hay.

“We planted that crop this spring on some prevented plant acres and it finally froze enough so we could put that crop down,” Kurt explained. “We are trying to get those swaths baled before the snowstorm they are predicting to hit after Thanksgiving comes. But things don’t always work well when it’s cold.”

“I hope the snowstorm misses us,” Mike added. “Let’s go with that.”

“It has been a good forage crop and would have been this year, but Mother Nature didn’t cooperate and it was just too wet to get it hayed when it should have been hayed, but we are still working on it,” Kurt explained.

The Elliotts would normally need to wait until Nov. 1 to put up that hay, but USDA changed that regulation earlier this year, so with the new regulations, they would have been able to hay that acreage right after Sept. 1.

The soybean harvest is now basically done, however, there were a few wet spots that they needed to skip over and will probably not be harvested, according to Kurt.

“With a few warmer days recently, we started all over again with mud flying around,” Kurt said.

The corn for grain still needs to be harvested, and that might take a while to happen, according to Mike, since the elevators have set limits on the moisture content, test weight and foreign matter in order for them to accept any corn.

“The neighbors have combined some corn and the moisture is running from 22 to 27 percent,” Mike said. “They have a lot of requirements now before you can haul the corn to the elevator and that is something different than ever before – mainly because of the propane shortage we are seeing. They want 49-pound test weight, less than 10 percent foreign material and the moisture must be 25 percent or less.”

With those restrictions, Kurt said there might be a lot of corn left standing in the field over the winter months, which will result in a little higher test weight and lower moisture content. 

On the cattle side of the operation, the feedlot is about one-third full right now and there is no hurry to add more to the feedlot until they are able to take a scraper in the lots and level out the frozen chunks that make it difficult to walk through right now.

The commercial cattle have now been brought home, but the purebred Simmental herd is still out grazing on crop residue. As long as the weather remains somewhat nice, there is no hurry to bring those cows home over the next couple weeks.

“It is better for them to be out and foraging around rather than being shut up in a pen,” Kurt said. “They are turned out on a section, so they get a little exercise.”

However, Kurt said if they do get a lot of snow, they’ll have to move up the date for when the purebred herd needs to be moved home.

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