Cattle feeding & conservation
Expansion of a beef cattle feedlot from 600-head to 1,999-head capacity in 2011 was one of the biggest conservation projects that John Moes has undertaken.
He was one of the four finalists for the Leopold Conservation Award in South Dakota this year, and was one of 15 producers in South Dakota to be presented a state soil conservation award in 1999.
Moes had the feedlot designed to protect wetlands and waterways around the site from being contaminated with runoff from the feedlot.
The feedlot used to consist only of outdoor lots and a south-facing 60-by-210-foot monoslope barn with a capacity of 500 head. Now, the facility includes those lots, plus two manure-pack monoslope confinement barns. One barn measures 80 by 360 feet and can house 900 head of cattle. The other is 60 by 180 feet and has a capacity of 100 head. The feedlot also has a heated working facility.
The outdoor pens have a concrete base, which makes them easier to clean and easier for runoff to be directed. All the runoff from the barns and lots is contained on-site. The runoff goes to four sediment basins and two holding ponds. The sediment basins hold as much as 90 days of manure storage. The holding ponds are designed for a year’s worth of storage. Moes spreads the manure on nearby cropland. He soil-tests every year and currently has a five-year data set of soil-test results.
Moes planted about 25 acres of trees around the feedlot and his home site. Besides serving as a windbreak, the trees provide a significant amount of winter habitat for pheasants and other wildlife.
Moes has enrolled pastures in a 10-year easement program. He’s cross-fenced pastures, installed pipelines and tanks, and fenced cattle out of wetlands. He uses a planned rotational grazing system.
Described as an enthusiastic conservationist, Moes “is willing to share his experiences with others,” says Sandy Law, district manager, Codington County Conservation District, who nominated him for the Leopold Conservation Award. “He has presented at professional meetings, served on various environmental and community organizations, hosted open houses and social events, and has partnered with the Lake Area Technical Institute to allow students to visit his operation and gain training. His service to the community is nothing short of outstanding.”
This article published in the November, 2014 edition of DAKOTA FARMER.
All rights reserved. Copyright Farm Progress Cos. 2014.
Beef Herd Management