Matt van Ankum

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since Jan 17, 2013
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We run a mixed farm with a couple hundred acres of workable land, big on trees, multi species grazing, grass fed and "no poisons"
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SW Ontario Canada
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Recent posts by Matt van Ankum

I had a pile of wood cut offs from a sawmill that had been sitting around for 5 -6 years, consisting of a bunch of slabs and small trees of to 10" diameter.  the pile was in full sun  located in river flats down in a nice section of mixed bush,  I had been planning on burning the pile while camping at the property.  I lit it up and while pushing some logs in saw that there was a few baby garters in amongst the really rotted and splintered bits of trees.  This of course made me sad, the pile was full of insects which the baby snakes were of course eating.  So it made me think that ideal snake habitat was a buggy pile of wood in full sun.  who knew?
3 years ago
Attention anyone following this thread , if you are interested in building cordwood style I have the lengths pre cut and pre dried. SW Ont
21" long , dry cedar. 20 years in the wall, must move on. Enough to do 40' by 60' barn
4 years ago
 I've been soaking whole grains for  maybe 5 years, I like corn and barley and wheat, I also think that peas would be really easy to do , but I do not have a lot of experience with them.  Right now I am feeding soaked wheat to a group of 40 - 50 Berkshire's and I like the results.... the wheat ( SRW ) I can grow and store in a bin without drying costs associated with corn.  My set up is fairly simple with a 10 tonne bin and a flex auger going up into the barn where I have 3 big freezers .  With warm temps in the summer time  my soak is between 36 hours and 3-4 days, I rotate through the freezers , it's some shoveling and paling to get it out and right now I might feed 8 pails a day.

In the winter I keep the mix from freezing by using water pipe freeze prevention wrap immersed in 3-4" of cement mix at the bottom of the freezer.

     If you could soak the feed in a container with a straight auger underneath it and then deliver it straight to the pigs that would work.... but the whole grains might bung up on top of the auger and you have to figure out how to water proof it, but it would be good as the feed on the bottom would be soaked for the longest as you add more feed to the top....  I envision a hopper style container for the feed soaker.

I am not getting the gains on my pigs like I would by using conventional pig feed , but my costs are low and it suits my marketing.

If you come up with an idea for the hopper I would love to see it!
5 years ago
Hello R Ranson

  Keep it warm and hopefully you have good nurse reflex on the orphan lamb.  I am feeding 3 right now and they get about a 700 ml bottle 4 times a day split between them.

 So that's not  much more then 200 ml 4 times a day.

Heat pad if you have it inside. Hopefully it gets to walking normally, because it's small it might come with some extra problems

6 years ago
 The combine showed up yesterday and we got the field done in around 1.5 hours.   The  issues we had were increased weediness from burdock , dock , a few patches of thistles . None of these were overwhelming but could increase in # year by year.    

  What  really reduced the amount harvested,  was the wheat going down , falling over, and being eaten by the white clover.  After this happened there was no way to combine it.   The yield was around 20 tonne off the approx. 18 acres .  We figured we lost around another 1/2 tonne per acre from the lodging of the wheat.   Grazing the field now is an option, with pigs , or with cattle.  What I will likely do tomorrow is run it over very lightly with a disc to knock it down and get all the grain heads spread out and hopefully germinate.  Then cut it for hay and wrap it in 6 - 8 weeks.  

 In comparison , my conventional fields yielded close to 3 tonne per acre. Both fields received spring fert, the clover field liquid manure and the conventional , N by fert pellet.
6 years ago

 After reading  Göran Bergkvist 's thesis  from 2003  I went and did some experimentation of my own.  I established a white clover base ( huia white clover ) and after a year of cutting it back to reduce weed competition ,   I no tilled rye in the fall of 2015.  The field of 20 acres suffered competition from burdock , perennial grasses, some thistles but 75 % of it was relatively pure stand.  The rye was harvested for cover crop seed , Aug 2016 at a yield  averaging 1 tonne / acre.  The  clover looks good and has spread and established itself with vigour.  The field was fertilized with composted animal manure , straw based.

  In sept 2016 I rolled the clover back with a  crumbler , 3X  over a span of a week. The clover was crimped and died back.  Winter wheat was planted Sept 2016.  The stand of wheat looks to have decent growth and a better more consistent population then the rye did.  I  believe the no till drill we used for the wheat did a better job of cutting a slot with fluted disks and heavier down pressure.

 I am considering planting wheat again in 2017, do you have any suggestions?  The wheat crop is more easily marketed  and I can see myself growing it for the certified organic market.

Attached is a couple of pics, the one dated apr 4 2016 is the rye stand and the one  dated nov 15 2016  is the wheat stand in late fall.

Thanks so much any input would be greatly appreciated.  I initially wanted to do corn into white clover but switched to small grains  after considering the potential for complete failure ,
7 years ago
If I had that much veg waste I would feed it to my pigs and being as it is winter, I would do it it inside. This would protect the energy reserve from leaching, pigs would love it, they turn it into manure , you compost the manure in the spring and then you have a wonderful resource. I would think you would need a tractor or skid-steer to make this work.
8 years ago
Over the past winter I supplemented the pigs soaked corn with white clover hay. They were very interested in the clover. It is a difficult hay to get dry, the small square bales went in with some moisture but cured well enough and still had some sweet smell when feeding. Compared to 1rst cut timothy alfalfa the pigs definitely enjoyed and ate the clover more readily . Red clover would likely work as well .
8 years ago
It was a very cold winter in Ontario , Canada in 2014 / 2015. Our bank barn with cattle and pigs in it is some what drafty and does not hold heat. The one water bowl froze and the barn had only one working water source, it was insulated and had an electric pipe warmer. Running garden hoses filling gallagher style 150 gallon tubs gets old, especially when it ices up a little more every day. What I was using by the end of the year was old freezers and fridges that were water tight. I have them sitting on there back and they hold quite a bit of water and are cheap to find. The real benefit I found was that because they are insulated on 3 sides ( door removed) , ice only forms on top of the water and it is relatively easy to remove.
8 years ago