Category Archives: Flora

Forage Samples

Before i took off on my driving trip to warmer weather in Continued Wanderings, and before super cold weather set in, i collected forages from standing forage (winter stockpile) for grazing to see what it’s value for animal nutrition would be. Since i raise beef cows, it is not so critical to have high quality all the time like a dairy cow needs, but since starting this new (to me) #total grazing scheme, i wanted to train my eye, so to speak, as to what the numbers look like in comparison to what the actual forage looks like.

There were three applications i wanted to measure;

1) Stockpiled forage which had been allowed to grow to full maturity since last being grazed very short in late May. This test will give me a good indication of what forage quality will be going forward with the total grazing plan i’ve implemented since fall, in which, forage is allowed to grow to full maturity before being grazed in winter.

2) new growth stockpile or that which had been grazed in August and had a little time to regrow (likely highest quality but lowest quantity). Once again, north Missouri was very short on late summer rains so very little forage could be stockpiled under the traditional MiG grazing plan, so many producers bought hay in preparation for a long winter of feeding – as you read in a previous posting here, i decided to sell stock to avoid hay feeding.

3) This sample will be a compilation of waterways, buffer zones, and other areas not worked up to raise organic soybeans. This one is from the Bowyer Farm and is 4 1/2 year old ungrazed or mowed old growth primarily toxic endophyte fescue.

As expected, all forages samples are marginal at best as far as feed value and crude protein which necessitates the feeding of some sort of protein supplement to help the cows’ guts break down the highly lignified grasses to grind out the nutrition in the forages. Even though i knew this going in, i felt it was worth the time and expense for my own education to have these images in my mind and numbers on paper to match up.

Education, sampling, researching, learning, observation are critical in any endeavor worth doing – ranching/farming is no different.

Scissors and a yellow plastic bucket are the complicated tools necessary to collect forage samples. These samples contained a lot of dry matter, so to collect a pound of forage, made for a lot of volume! This is the paddock # 8 sampling – the one not grazed since May 25, 2020 and collected on December 27, 2020
Once I brought home the sample, i cut it into smaller pieces to make it easier to handle and dry more quickly. Using a protein tub to hold the sample kept messiness to a minimum.
Once cut into pieces, i could stuff it all into a 2 gallon Ziploc bag – it was really full – and weighed it up to be certain i had at least the required 1 lb sample for testing. Then i stuck all samples in the deep freeze because i wanted to wait to send it after the holidays – it still took 14 days from north Missouri to Ithaca, NY while paying for 3 day priority. Not happy.

Click on the link above to open the forage samples information from Dairy One Forage Testing Lab.

Paddock 8 – last grazed 12 May 20, forage sample taken 27 Dec 20

Paddock 24 – last grazed 11 Sep 20, forage sample taken 27 Dec 20

Bowyer Farm – last managed Nov 2016, forage sample taken 27 Dec 20

Collecting Flower seeds

It’s that time of year in north Missouri to start collecting and storing seeds. If i see a flower or plant along the road banks i like, i stop and collect as many seeds as possible. Lay them out to dry, then store in a dry place and start them early in the spring. I direct sow where i want the plants – transplanting just doesn’t seem to work for me.

Illinois Bundleflower

harvested Stella D’Oro lily seeds
These lilies are not native to Missouri, but are often used for landscaping and are quite pretty.

Pershing State Park Trails

Ivis and I enjoyed our weekly hike on gentle trails at nearby Pershing State Park – a bit cool and very breezy, but good to spend time together.  Although, the calendar says we are 3 weeks into spring, there is only the tiniest bits of evidence.

 

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Rain, Mud, and Mushrooms

We are so muddy in north central Missouri, and perhaps all over the Midwest, but i only know about my little piece the world that i cannot even drive into the pasture with a Gator.  Back to walking and wearing my tall rubber boots to ford the running water.  The 19th of March is supposed to be spring, but the typical telltale signs are far from sight.

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Just shifting my cows from one paddock to another is just a disaster.  It will heal, but for now, our world is quite ugly.

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Nothing to do with mud or mushrooms, but walking back up through the timber, there are multiple signs of deer, including this rub which has killed the tree.

mushrooms
The closest i can find to identify it is HEXAGONAL-PORED POLYPORE
Polyporus alveolaris (formerly Favolus alveolaris), but i’m not sure that’s it.

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Mushroom
Probably CINNABAR POLYPORE (Pycnoporus cinnabarinus)  Not edible

 

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Possibly WOOD EAR (TREE EAR)
Auricularia auricula (formerly A. auricula-judae).  Says it’s edible, but it sure doesn’t look appetizing.  Guess i’m not hungry enough.

 

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I had to ask around and the consensus is that it may be false turkey tail.

 

Persimmons are Sweet & Ripe!

Persimmon trees here in north Missouri are not loaded with fruit by any means, but the soft native fruits are falling and we are gathering them just as quickly due to their delicate nature.  Many people have never eaten persimmon fruit and i think i know why.  It’s a lot of work – not hard, just time-consuming – to process them.

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The golf ball sized soft fruits contain 4-7 seeds, which comprises half the weight and volume of the fruit.  Add in that the seeds are slimy and difficult to remove and the effort hardly seems worth it.  But their taste is so smooth and naturally sweet that they don’t need making them into sauce or jam –  the spread is just that tasty.  No sugar added.

Missouri Department of Conservation Field Guide – Persimmon Trees

Missouri Department of Conservation Discover Nature Notes

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Fruits picked up from the ground are very soft and need to be worked up and frozen immediately.

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Never waste anything – these seeds will go to compost.

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I put the ‘meat’ of the fruit into my Ninja thing and whip into this lovely sauce, then freeze it in 2 cup containers for use throughout the fall and winter.  This can be used as a sweet spread just right away.

Bill Smith’s Persimmon Pudding (8-10 servings)

INGREDIENTS:

  • ½ cup softened unsalted butter
  • 3 cups persimmons
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1½ cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Whipped cream, optional

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease two 8 ½” diameter by 2” deep cake pans with butter.  Use a food mill, sieve, cone strainer, or by hand remove the seeds from the persimmons and puree the pulp; it will reduce them from 3 cups to 2 cups.  Combine the puree with the buttermilk.  Beat the remaining butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment until fluffy.  Add the eggs one by one.  By hand, in a large mixing bowl, stir the persimmons into the butter.

Sift all the dry ingredients together and fold them into the persimmon mixture.  Pour the batter into the baking pans and place the pans in a larger pan filled halfway up with warm water.  Bake, uncovered, for 1 hour or until the pudding is firm at the center, has pulled away from the sides of its pan, and a paring knife inserted into the center of the pudding comes out clean.

Serve hot with fresh whipped cream.  This keeps well in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days and reheats beautifully in the oven.

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This bark has a yellowish mold on it, but the shape and size of the bark is quite unique to a persimmon tree.

Starry Campion (Silene stellata)

As i was spot spraying woody brush on the road banks the other day, i came upon a tall slender plant with lovely white flowers.  Being morning, it was in full reaching-for-the-sun glory and i realized i had never seen or at least not noticed this beauty before.

The query was posed with a photo on Facebook as to its identity with no correct responses.  Later that evening, i drove back to my farm to spray brush again and pulled up a plant.  I took more photos and sent them to my daughter-in-law who is a top notch plant identifier in addition to her agronomy degree.  Within minutes, she had it nailed.

Starry Campion  is a Missouri native wildflower, but is not limited to Missouri.  It can be white or pink and is a member of the carnation family (Caryophyllaceae ).  Here’s the official description from the Missouri Department of Conservation.

Description

A perennial with several stiff stems having short, soft hairs. Flowers in a loose panicle, subtended by a pair of small, leaflike bracts, with a cup-shaped calyx from which 5 white, finely fringed petals protrude. Stamens are long and slender. Blooms June–September. Leaves mostly in whorls of 4, lanceolate to oval-lanceolate, sessile, opposite, to 3 inches long.

Size

Height: usually 2½ feet.

Also called widow’s frill, this plant is a flowering forb but doesn’t seem to be desirable for most grazing mammals.  I don’t know – i’ve never seen it in my pastures!

Seek out beauty!

Cheers

tauna

 

Silene stellata
Scientific classification
Kingdom:
(unranked):
(unranked):
(unranked):
Order:
Family:
Genus:
Species:
S. stellata
Binomial name
Silene stellata

 

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