B4W Education: Summer is for stockpiling

June 30, 2024

B4W Education: Summer is for stockpiling 

by Emily Zahurones 

Amid the roller coaster of cattle markets for a producer, one thing remains constant. Cattle need to be fed. Every. Day. 

Balance4ward was proud to host two Educational Events in Sioux City and Omaha, Nebraska at the end of June. Brandon Hinck, Director of Services talked with clients on feed stockpiling and how to gain a competitive edge as cattlemen look to the second half of 2024. 

“We’re going to talk about some feed stockpiling. I’m going to give you our market outlook and talk about six months, a year, two years down the road,” Hinck said. “This is where (we think) this market may be going.” 

Cattlemen should use summer months to think about saving corn and distillers for overwinter use. This saves the headache down the road of finding feed if weather and other factors cause a dip in the marketplace. 

“Why are we talking about this? Is there money on the table? Is it worth the headache? We’re going to talk about ways we can store it and ways we can reduce the shrink,” Hinck said. “[Right now] is generally the best time to start stockpile feeding. How are we going to put ourselves in the best spot?” 

Once the decision has been made to start, the next step is thinking about the best storage method implementation to avoid spoilage and most importantly, avoid shrink. 

“A few recommendations when it comes to bagging feed is we do want to mix it before we just put in as straight modified or straight wet,” Hinck said. “Feed likes to pancake out and if we put just straight distillers in a bag, it’ll put too much pressure on the bag. Obviously, that’s not a good situation. We’ve got to use that feed right away and it takes away the long-term capability.” 

Hinck sees two options for long-term storage: bagging or bunkers. There are benefits to both, but Hinck warns bunker style will accrue more shrink than ag bags. However, it will require less labor and can effectively protect feed from spoilage when placed in the right topography.   

“Here in the last few years, we’ve actually mixed 20% high moisture corn in with our distillers,” Hinck said. “If you’re going to background, you’re going to want a lower cost ingredient and less energy. In this case, we’re finishing cattle, so we do want high moisture corn. It’s a higher energy, denser ration.” 

Storage and the knowledge to stockpile in the summer are the first step, but without consistency, the entire effort is wasted. If cattlemen don’t prioritize consistency in stockpiling, the result is compromised performance – an issue that can lose producers more money in the long run. Hinck encourages cattlemen to think about stockpiling as an extension of current feeding practices. Don’t overlook the details and focus on making small steps for continual improvement.  

“The small details make the difference,” Hinck said. “When we talk about a balance, we’re trying to capture $100 ahead.” 

Keeping those factors in mind with current Midwest weather conditions, Hinck said it’s vital to keep feed tightly packed. Bunker stockpiling can get as much as 12% shrink from wind alone.  

“Reducing shrink, it matters,” Hinck said. “Let’s minimize our time from the bunker to our mixer.” 

Stockpiling should ideally be used up in the next six-to-eight-month period for optimal performance. For more information on how to get started, reach out to a Balance4ward specialist in one of our offices in Nodaway or Omaha by calling 712-785-3766.  

“Let’s have a plan in place,” Hinck said. “Let’s make sure we’re prepared. Let’s know our limitations.”

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