Hi I’m Mike. Somedays ranching is all about
coming up with a solution for a problem and doing it in a way that you may never have
thought of. Today we tackle a problem I have had for years and solve it with the help of
one subscriber and an easy and ingenious idea on the project list, on our Wyoming life. Welcome back to the project list, the board
behind me holds an ever shrinking and growing list of the things that need done, and the
things we have gotten done over the past few months on the ranch.
And each time we take something off, well something goes back up there and it never
ends. Each Tuesday we take something off the list
and work on the project together but today, we do that in a whole new way as we take an
email from a subscriber and use that to solve a problem that I have had for years.
Please subscribe and come along as we explore the ranch life and escape the ordinary.
Feeding the cows happens everyday during the winter here on the ranch. Between the cows,
the horses, calves, pigs and bulls. We feed more than 4 thousand pounds of food per day
to all the animals of the ranch and most of that is in the form of hay. Hay that we harvested
here on the ranch over the summer and store until its time to feed it in the winter.
That hay is in the form of round bales, about 5 feet wide and 5 feet tall, each weighing
about 1400 lbs. All of that hay is held in the bale by netwrap, a webbed material, that
we cut off each bale before rolling it out for the cows to eat.
I’ve had a bunch of folks ask what we do with that netwrap, once we cut it off the
bale and the first place it usually goes is in the cab of the tractor until we are done
feeding. It’s a giant pain. It gets wrapped around
your feet, it falls out, and its always in the way. When you are done feeding you have
to pull it all out of the tractor, where its tangled in everything it can get wrapped up
into, then you carry it to the gator and eventually, the incinerator.
Over our years on the ranch, I often think about ways to take care of the netwrap once
its off the bale. I’ve debated find a way to strap a garbage can, or even a garbage
bag to the tractor to hold it, out of my way and easier to deal with. Unfortunately I have
just never gotten around to fixing the problem permanently.
It was this week that I received an email from Robert who had the same problem. He created
a bracket that bolts to his tractor, that bracket holds an empty feedsack that he can
use as a makeshift garbage bag. He mentioned to me that it works great for netwrap and
it gives those empty feedsacks a new life or at least another use before we burn them.
Robert you are genious, and today after I got back from feeding, I knew that this was
our project for the day. We have a bunch of extra strap steel laying
around, and with it we can begin to fashion the same kind of cage that Robert did for
his tractor. Robert didn’t send instructions, so first
we can measure a feed bag and come up with some dimensions for our bracket.
With a measurement of 16 inches long and 10 inches wide, we start with a base, made of
our ½ inch angle iron and after cutting the pieces we can weld them together.
Then its over to the tractor to see where and how we can mount our bracket. Robert bolted
his to his loader, but we don’t have a lot of room to squeeze something in the front
end of this tractor. On the bale unroller however we have lots
of room and its here where the wrap is cut off the bale anyway, and it makes sense to
mount it directly to the implement. With a location now picked out for the bracket
we decide on a height of about 2 feet for the feed sack.
Around the feed sack we will need braces, and we can bend our strap steel to make the
holder. Vertical brackets are tack welded in place,
and the horizontal braces can be put in place. After a few adjustments, everything can be
permanently welded in place. After cooling the bracket with some cold water,
an old feed sack, this one that was full of cat food is brought into place and set inside
the bracket, where it looks fit pretty well. But now its time to attach the bracket to
the feeder. The feeder lowers to the ground, so the bracket
has to be set up high so that its not dragging while unrolling a bale.
I could weld it in place but it may be better to bolt it and luckily have some self tapping
bolts that might just do the job. If they can hold the high tunnels in place during
70 mph winds, they should be able to hold this light bracket on the bale unroller.
After popping in a pilot hole, the screw is then put in place, and the whole contraption
looks pretty good. But the real test is on the way, as we head
out to try it out and feed the cows And with the bag full, of netwrap, its just as
easy as pulling in the shop, grabbing the bag and tossing it in the gator, where it
will stay until our next trip to the incinerator. Robert thank you very much for lending me
your idea and letting run with it. You are right, it’s a great way to get an extra
use out of these feed sacks and makes sense for a number of uses. I hope that you are
able to run right out and patent this idea, because I can really see it coming in handy.
Its another example of the ingenuity of ranchers and farmers. You see a problem, you fix it,
and when its on your project list, the faster you can get it done the better, but remember,
its not going to end, because your project list isn’t just a list, it’s a challenge.
Thanks for hanging out with me today, we’ve got some cool stuff the way this week, including
for the first time ever, a ranchers look at the impossible burger, or the meatless meat,
what ever you want to call it, its coming up this week along with a whole lot more and
if you don’t want to miss it, make sure you subscribe and continue to explore the
ranch life and escape the ordinary. Until next time, have a great week and thanks for
joining us in our Wyoming life.