“We have to get another load of grain today.”
The statement is now heard at least once a week and will be made more often in the months ahead.
Actually, “grain” is a generic term which in this case means “a ration of ground corn and milo with molasses.” There are different rations being fed now with one having more added supplemental protein for replacement heifers and first-calf pairs.
Riding horses don’t need that extra protein although they sometimes get special additives to enhance performance during show season.
Getting a load of grain has become a major ordeal. Half a century ago, every community had at least one grain elevator, and small towns often had several.
Now, there is only one elevator in the county that can grind and mix grain rations to specification for livestock.
Some operations have on-site elevators and can make feed rations by pushing buttons. Grain goes from the storage bin, into the grinder, with all supplements mixed in.
An auger often distributes the ration right into the livestock feeders and bunks. Or into a large bulk bin truck used to proportion feed around the ranch.
Six decades ago, milo was purchased by the pickup load at the nearby elevator and fed whole grain without grinding. Nutritionists claim livestock is unable to efficiently consume whole grains for maximum dietary value.
However, getting grain “rolled,” the same as grinding in certain older days’ elevators, always cost additional money. So, trying to be conservative, a small, handfed grain grinder was attached to the tractor power take-off. Supplements could be mixed in, although that was generally considered too costly.
It wasn’t long though before the elevator was again grinding the milo bought by pickup load.
For a half century, the local elevator was preparing any specific ration for pickup in just minutes. But like machines, the grinding-mixing equipment wore out, and was too expensive to replace.
So, feed was ordered several days in advance from a business 30-miles away. Delivery to the barnyard was available, but it was expensive and undependable.
Presently, “grain” is picked up in portable bins, but equipment breakdowns are threatening that feed source too. Modern technology sure is a lot more complicated than days gone by.
Reminded of Nehemiah 12:46: “That’s the way it was done in the olden days.”
A portable grain bin is used to haul feed from the elevator to the ranch for livestock.