Comparing Broadcasting and No-Till in Legume Establishment and using Beef Tallow for Round Bale Weather Protection

1995 Annual Report for FNC92-021

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 1992: $2,200.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/1994
Matching Non-Federal Funds: $4,500.00
Region: North Central
State: Kansas
Project Coordinator:
Tim Kunard
Tim Kunard Farm

Comparing Broadcasting and No-Till in Legume Establishment and using Beef Tallow for Round Bale Weather Protection


Farm History Description: January 1993 – Livestock
- 53 Cow calf pairs – Majority Red Devon
- 19 Open heifers
- 2 Breeding Bulls

- 100 acres cropland – Milo, Soybean, Wheat, Red clover, Rotation
- 52 acres Alfalfa
- 280 Acres Pasture – Brome & Fescue
- 60 Acres Natural Prairie Grass
- 30 Acres Brome

- Hay requirements: 500-600 tons
- Began Feeding: November 22,1992
- Finished Feeding: April 27, 1993

Farm History Description: January 1994 – Livestock
- 53 cow calf pairs
- 19 bred heifers
- 3 breeding bulls

- 100 acres cropland – Milo, Wheat, Red clover, Rotation
- 280 acres pasture – Brome & Fescue
- 60 acres Natural Prairie Grass
- 30 acres Brome

- Hay requirements: 200-300 tons
- Began Feeding: January 15, 1994
- Finished Feeding: April 25, 1994

Farm History Description: January 1995 – Livestock
- 72 cow calf pairs – Red Devon
- 20 open heifers
- 3 breeding bulls

- 100 acres cropland
- 26 acres alfalfa (Due to flood of 1993)
- 280 acres pasture – Brome, Clover, Lespedeza, Grazers Delight, Fescue
- 60 acres Natural Prairie Grass
- 30 acres Brome

- Hay requirements: 200-300 tons
- Began Feeding: January 21, 1995
- Expected Finish Date: April 25, 1995

Question: Will intensive grazing used on our farm allow a decrease in the quantity of hay produced thus allowing myself more time for my family?

Answer: Yes, intensive grazing has provided me with more time for my family. Although I delayed beginning my grant study (due to being required at a job site in Kentucky) my father and I implemented intensive grazing methods on 160 acres (divided into 10+/- acre paddocks) of rented ground in March of 1993.

The results we found – which have continued into 1994 have very much surprised and pleased us.

In 1993 we were inundated with rain fall which kept us from baling the usual amount of hay that we had in the past – 500-600 tons annually. We baled 200 tons in 1993. We almost always started feeding hay in early November, but because of the rotational grazing and moisture, we did not begin feeding any hay until January 15th, 1994. Our hay production of 200+ ton in 1993 was more than adequate. We finished feeding hay on April 25th, 1994. This resulted in 95 days of feeding in the winter of 1993-1994 versus 150 days in the winter of 1992-1993. This is a reduction rate of 55 days of feeding and at the same time we added 38 head to the herd, bringing the herd total to 92 head. At 3600 lbs. of hay fed per day this has been a savings of 99 tons per year of hay fed. Calculated at $50/ton Brome & Prairie at 3,000 lbs/day and Alfalfa at 600lbs/day at $90/tons this is a savings dollar wise of $4,125.00 for Brome and $1,485.00 for Alfalfa.

The other idea we got form rotational grazing reading and instruction was to put the large round bales next to the electric fence in the field where they are to be fed and space them for feeding by simply moving some electric fence to give cows access to the hay without starting a tractor – (we put less than 25 hours on our loader tractor for the winter of 1993).

Another benefit I have noticed with the rotational grazing is that there are more times when my children can go to the field with me to move cows and build fence. My two oldest boys, ages 3 & 5, are both becoming quite adept at calling the cows to move them to another paddock. This time with them is due to not needing to operate tractors as often as I did in the past.

As far as calf weight increases or decreases, over a three year weighing program we saw an increase of not more than 30 lbs. per head on our calves at weaning, but we feel confident with more experience we can get more than 30 lbs. without grain or creep feeders. For pasture improvement we broadcast 6 lbs. of Red Clover and 6 lbs. of Lespedeza per acre on 40 acres of the rented 160 acres. We then turned the cows into the area to work the seed into the ground. This was planted in late February 1994 and it did not look like we were going to have a stand, but in August 1994 both the Clover and Lespedeza were growing rapidly and this was a perfect time to beat the summer slump of the Brome-Fescue pasture. The cows were able to graze these paddocks for 4 days each instead of the usual 2 ½ to 3 days for the grass pasture. I was not able to rent a no-till drill for the small acreage (20 acres) that I wanted to do no-till on, so we broadcast the seed on the 40 acres of pasture.

I also purchased some Grazers Delight Pasture Seed Mix consisting of Timothy, Martin Fescue, Alfalfa, Hairy Vetch, Matua Brome, Marshall Rye Grass, Haifa Clover, and Oats to improve some old fescue (13 acres) pasture. It was planted using conventional tillage-disk, vibra-shank, and then planted with an Ezee-flow, followed by a culti-packer. This was planted in August 1994 and looks to be very productive pasture in the years to come.

Although this is expensive seed at a cost of $25.00 per acre, the potential pasture production will have me planting more in the coming years.

Stan Parsons’ home study course on Ranch Management.
I rented the local one room school house for 10 evenings beginning January 10th, 1993. six people began the course with me and four completed the course. It took approximately 26 hours to complete. I did not implement much of what was in the course other than the rotational grazing components. There had been enough interest shown by the past participants that we will hold the classes again in 1995 and utilize his ideas to a fuller extent.

Design of Beef Tallow Applicator.
The testing and research that I have done to date has been limited due to the death of my father, Mike Kunard (who was to assemble the sprayer). The changes in operation have limited my time to build the sprayer, but I will complete it for use by July 1995. I purchased a portable high pressure hot water washer and have designed on paper with is required. My research has shown that raw unprocessed tallow fresh from a processing plant contains to many fibers and impurities to allow for continuous spraying without the cleaning of several filters in the line from the melting tank. Also raw tallow purchased locally is not cost effective versus a flaked tallow purchased in bulk. Also, handling of raw tallow is much harder than the processed, which is in 50 lbs. bags.

Application Process for Tallow to Large Round Bales:
Melting of processed tallow requires a minimum heat of 130 degrees.

Pump Capacity – Flow of 1-2 GPM

Pressure Required – Maximum of 30 PSI required. 30 PSI can begin to vaporize tallow which can reduced even covering of tallow on outer layer of bale.

Application Rate: 1-2 G/Bale

Time-Application: 1-2 Minimum/Bale

Cost: 2 Gallons at 8 lbs. +/- / Gallon at .39 cents/lb. = $6.24/Bale **Market price varies

This is more expensive than covering with plastic or barn storage but what must be considered are:
- Application Cost and Time of Tallow (Including Equipment requirements and Hay Saved and Time Saved)
- Time Required for Barn Storage or Plastic Application (or Time then required to Feed and Hay (Value) Losses)

The University of Missouri is currently applying for a patent on the process of beef tallow application and the Parkhurst Manufacturing Company is working on licensing agreements with the beef tallow processors so that the flaked tallow cannot be sold to anyone without a license provided by Parkhurst. This will make it difficult, if not impossible to get the flaked tallow without purchasing a M.U. – Parkhurst Tallow Applicator at a cost of $2,800.00.

For my public outreach I participated in the Heartland Network Roundup February 18th at Manhattan Kansas and I will also have a field day June 24th, 1995 showing my grazing system and pasture changes and improvements since beginning the grazing trials. I have also been active with the Trico Grazers cluster – a small groups of farmers and Nazarene College students and instructors getting together to learn and discuss alternative methods of production and marketing in today agriculture.