Like many livestock people, we are dealing with forage shortages. Drought and high commodity prices combined in 2012 to put a squeeze on our favorite modes of nutrition – grazing in the summer and small grassy bales in the winter. We usually do just fine with frequent pasture rotation in the summer. For the winter, we make our own small bales and buy them from long time suppliers.
However, last fall the drought cut our pasture time short and the supply of small grassy bales petered out. To fill in, we bought large grassy bales from our neighbors. That is how we came to have The Pile.
The Pile is left after a herd of horses gets done eating, sleeping and generally living in a 1200-pound hay bale. There are many products on the market to cut this waste but they are all either too expensive for temporary use or seem dangerous for horses.
Once the snow started falling and we went back to feeding small bales, I was able to forget all about The Pile. However, as our the facilities manager, Ron, could not forget.
Can you see the smoke coming out of the bucket?
So last weekend, he got the tractor out, lit The Pile and went to town. What a great day to burn. Lot’s of billowing white steam contrasting with the bright green John Deere. Midwinter fun at its very best!