Monday, September 13, 2010

Winter Feed

It's business as usual around the ranch.  We are moving cattle daily, trying to promote as much growth as we can before winter.  One of our main objectives to help us reach our Holistic Goals is to have a planned grazing system in place that all but eliminates winter hay feeding.  Traditional MIG or rotational grazing systems are telling grazers that now is the time to start stockpiling for winter.  If you have done nothing all year up to this point for winter grazing, what you do now will make little difference in reducing your winter feed costs.  That is, planned grazing must go on all year long.  If you pull some of your paddocks out of your system this late in the season for stockpiling you will simply add more pressure on the rest of the farm's paddocks at a time when they all need even more rest instead of heavier grazing.

Also if you spent time this summer or fall brush hogging those paddocks for what ever reason you come up with, you spent money to reduce total forage production and minimize plant species.   I had a fellow out from the USDA today looking at our paddocks.  He identified a good stand of Eastern Gama grass out in one of our paddocks.  We have never planted any of these seeds, yet this grass and many other varieties and species did a good job of getting us through our dry weather this summer.  If you knock any of this growth down  mechanically, chances are you will prevent some forages from making seed head and will reduce next year's forage even more.  This being another reason why we can't wait until August or Sept. to start planning for winter grazing.  The planning for this winter started the Spring before last. 

I like to get help trying to identify  some of these new forage plants that seem to appear from nowhere.  We found some new Sedges, and some other plants that looked a little like Foxtail, except we already have Foxtail, maybe its just another variety that started on its own.  It's great to see these new plants every  year that no one seems to be able to identify. 

1 comment:

  1. Hello Cody - I recently listened to an Acres cd - are you the Cody Holmes speaking?
    If so i was fascinated with your talk - especially - your Organic matter improvement from 1.5% to 7%. Can you tell me at what depth/s this was measured and does each 1% increase in OM equate to 27Ton of carbon per hectare

    John O'Brien - Profitable Cattle Pty Ltd


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