Several newsletters ago, we mentioned that feed costs and availability were becoming a concern. In an effort to become more resilient with respect to these two critical inputs, I purchased a Gehl 95 mixer/grinder, an awesome machine that consists of a hammer mill and a mixing tank. The hammer mill takes the whole grain (corn, soy, wheat) and pulverizes it and then mixes it thoroughly with vitamins and minerals in the mixing tank. You can then tow the unit to where you want the feed, and discharge directly into the feed bins and barrels via an auger. I've only played around with it a bit, but it certainly gets the job done. I still need to work out a few kinks and replace a broken drive shaft, but I'm very pleased with the performance. By purchasing whole grains in bulk, I am able to cut down on my feed costs. It will also help insulate me from supply chain shenanigans.
I still need to purchase a grain silo and auger as part of my move toward vertical integration. With this, I will be able to buy corn and wheat directly from the farmer in the local area when it is being harvested. As a temporary measure, I am negotiating with the local co-op to have it stored there. While I would prefer to have it in my possession (less travel and coordination), this is a good interim solution until I can find a used feed bin.
For now, the cows are satisfied with the hay we're feeding them, but we're still watching the skies for signs of rain.