Thursday, March 21, 2013

Pellet Delivery...

Bright and early this morning we got a delivery of pellets from the mill.

Actually, that's only partially true.  It was early, but it definitely wasn't bright yet when the truck pulled in...

The back of the delivery truck is filled with the bulk pellets.

These pellets are a custom blended feed supplement that we feed to the milking cows.  They are a combination of protein, vitamins and minerals. The calves, heifers and dry cows don't get any of these.

To empty the truck, the driver tilts the bed...

...and hooks up the pipe to the bottom on the truck bed...

The flexible metal pipe sections are fastened together until they are long enough to reach from the truck to the permanent fill pipe that is attached to our feed this case, about 45 feet.  The pipe snakes through the barn, past the first two rows of cows.

We like to be around when this feed is delivered, because when the driver turns on the motor to blow the feed into our bin, it is loud. Very loud...and the cows are sometimes spooked.  We were milking while he was here this morning, so it was easy to keep an eye on those end stall cows.  You can tell by looking at her eyes, that the one closest to the camera isn't too sure about what's going on!

Just past the pipe, on the far side of the pipeline, you can see the square wooden chute that is the bottom of the feed bin, which is located (mostly) on the second floor of the barn.  This wooden chute has a sliding door at the bottom, that we pull open to fill our feed carts...

...and here are the pellets, ready to be fed to the cows.  They each get a small amount, twice per day.  The heavier they are milking, the more pellets they get.  The cows that are near "dry up", don't get any...

Other than calf feed, which is a special blend of grains, vitamins, minerals and molasses, this is the only feed that we regularly buy for our cows.  We are able to grow the rest of our forages...corn for silage, corn for the grain bank, soybeans for the grain bank, and enough hay to feed our animals all year long.  We sometimes buy some heifer hay, which doesn't need to be of as high a quality as what the milking cows are fed, and occasionally we might need to buy a load of silage if we run out before chopping in the late summer.

This three ton delivery that we got today should last us almost exactly two months.  If only I could do my grocery shopping that infrequently!


  1. Interesting . We had beef cattle so none were fed this type just grass , oats and hay ! Great photos thanks for sharing . Have a good day !

  2. Now that takes me back. I spent over 20 years of my career in the feed business, mostly with co-ops in the Northwest. We had pretty much done away with our blower trucks when I left in 1998, but I remember fielding complaints about broken pellets and fines in the feed on the blow unloads.
    Thanks for the interesting post!

  3. Fascinating. They look like rabbit pellets!

  4. We buy custom ration pellets from the Co-op for our milking cows that looks like what you have there and a different one for the heifers and again a different one for the calves. Ours are blown into grain silos and the young calf rations are bought in bags and put into bins.

    Have a great weekend.

  5. I ALWAYS learn something when I read your blog, Alica!

  6. Oh Alica I always love coming here to learn things I do not know. Even though I farm it is so different with milk cows. Have a nice weekend. Hug B

  7. I can imagine how scary that is for those girls!

  8. That cow sure is keeping a close eye on that pipe! It would be nice to be able to grocery shop only once every two months. :)

  9. I also wish I could buy groceries that seldom. I am sure they love the pellets. We feed pellets to the deer from Jan-April when the weather is the worst here. Not alot, but enough to help out.


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