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Ben Walter

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since Mar 19, 2011
Deland, FL
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Recent posts by Ben Walter

I would check out sweet potatoes (greens), lab-lab and cowpeas for more drought tolerant forage crops.

Also, watch out for prussic acid poisoning in sorghum forage.

I'm working with sandy soil in Florida...I agree with getting a soil test and adding organic matter. I would also recommend mulching over anything you add (amendments, compost, etc). This will slow down the water and reduce leaching. You could check out biochar as well...I've made it and think it will be a great addition to the sandy soil, but I haven't found a production method that will produce any decent quantity.

Good luck and test that soil!
4 years ago
Oh, and when I do have grains that get too sour they go to the chickens. I often put a pile in the next paddock they will be in and cover it with old hay or leaves. After it sits for a while it's full of bugs and they love digging through it. You can't even tell there was anything there once they finish with it....maybe a little hay thrown about.
5 years ago
PS- I experimented by putting thin layers of spent brewing grains with coastal bermuda hay in a 5-gallon bucket. I just guessed at the mixing ratio and kept the layers thin. I let it sit for a month and half with a tight lid and it ensiled perfectly. It smelled super sweet and just had a little crap on top were the lid cracked when I dropped something on it. I pealed that off and the cows and sheep loved it! I didn't think to try it with the pigs...it would be a great way to store excess if you can't use everything you have before it gets nasty. You do have to wait a while (1 month plus) to get access to it again though.

I would also ensile it in larger batches...
5 years ago
I've had good luck feeding spent-grains to pigs...I actually use if for all the animals. I find that it stores much better without getting too "sour" if you drain it. I get it in 55-gallon drums, and when they had a hole in the bottom and could leak out excess moisture, it stays "sweeter" longer.

I've had good with the sbg up to 50% or so. I feed lots of sweet potatoes as a carb replacement. The easiest was strip grazing the pigs across the sweet potato pasture and letting them do the harvesting. I also add some kelp and conventional feed at times. I also feed scraps from the house and a restaurant I sell to. They keep the scraps refrigerated so I don't pasteurize it. It only lasts a day or two, but I figure it gives them some nutritional variety. I also feed excess milk/yogurt from my cows...which usually isn't much.

I'm working on planting out some "pig-fattening" paddocks in the next few weeks....lots of sweet potatoes and jerusalem artichokes, and I'll mix in extra garden seeds, sorghum, etc. It's all in an old pecan orchard that will hopefully produce in years to come. I also plan to add some apple, pears, and chestnut trees, but I will have to figure out a way to keep them protected cheaply. good luck!
5 years ago
I ran sheep following dexters...I have a 5-wire high tensile electric fence for the exterior and a 2-wire for the interior fencing...

The sheep would make it through the interior fencing if they really wanted too, but it didn't happen too often...only when the forage was poor and they though they saw something better.
5 years ago
Paul...I was looking at that site you shared and was wondering, if you don't mind sharing, how much does it cost you per year for how many head of cattle?

Also, do you move your mineral box with the cattle or do you have boxes in each paddock? Thanks!
5 years ago
I appreciate the thoughts...I do soil test and have applied organic fertilizers and some micro-nutrients. (B, Cu, etc) I can't really afford to amend my pastures as well as I would like at this point.

My main curiosity is around the worming affect of the CuSO4 and the neutralizing affect of it's toxicity with the dolomite.
5 years ago
Here's a site describing the mix and how it's used...I'm curious if anyone has tried it and how it works for them.

Mineral Mixture
5 years ago
I will definitely give it a try...thanks for the tips!
5 years ago