Producer benefits from simplifying cow-calf facility
A Wisconsin cow-calf producer says by simplifying her facilities, she improved both feed and labor efficiency.
Shari Overby of SKOR Cattle Company in Clear Lake tells Brownfield she designed their fence line feeding area with a 16-foot alley to get the most out of the cattle with very little feed waste. “It’s a 300-foot fence line. We can put 120 cows on here and we can feed them all comfortably. They do a total mixed ration. I fed 8500 pounds here one day, and the next day, there’s like zero weigh backs, like half a bucket full.”
Overby says her cows only eat about six hours a day, and with the changes, she’s added 20% more cattle without requiring more land.
And, Overby says the simple setup allows one person to easily manage the cattle. “Overby says her cows only eat about six hours a day, and with the changes, she’s added 20% more cattle without requiring more land. “We can also sort here. I’ve got auto-release headlocks so I can just lock them. All of the cows are in and we can gate the gates off of the pasture when they come up and then we can sort the calves off and work the calves, give them their vaccinations and we can put them back with the cows.
Overby says they also planned for Mother Nature’s impact in the winter and put the right number of cows in the space. This is not “J” bunks. This is just that everything is cleaned with a skid loader because as you get older you try and work smarter, so we manage to feed around Mother Nature, and also we size our pens so the manure constantly stays thawed out.”
The concrete pad outside the cattle pen is also extra wide to limit spring mud and allow for plowing snow into a natural windbreak.
Overby spoke to Brownfield during the recent Wisconsin Cattlemen’s Association Summer Tour.