Tag Archives: cows

Annuals Scheme – Final Analysis

Today marked the last day of my experiment with rotatilling, pneumatic drilling/harrowing, and grazing annuals as part of a pasture improvement scheme.

Grazing comparison data is as follows:

2013-2014 – Paddock 22 – 3218 lbs, Paddock 23 – 1871 lbs  Total:  5089 lbs

2014-2015 – Paddock 22 – 3567 lbs, Paddock 23 – 2007 lbs  Total:  5574 lbs

2015-2016 – Paddock 22 – 2072 lbs, Paddock 23 – 1222 lbs  Total:  3294 lbs

2016-2017 – lost all my records

2017-2018 – Paddock 22 – 1547 lbs, Paddock 23 – 695 lbs    Total: 2242 lbs

As you can imagine, i was shocked at the lack of grazing days provided by the annuals, but this was my first experience.  When i turned them in on the annuals, the cows and calves grazed it all down in four days!  In a few days, i was able to turn them back in for a couple more days grazing to boost that yield just a bit.  However, at this point, the paddocks will take a very long rest.  One thing i did not observe and record in previous years and that is cow condition.  At least for this year, these cows were slick and shiny healthy coming off the annuals, but they were that way going in, too.  So…..

So, in a nutshell, it cost me a total of $1842.12 to plant 18 acres of annuals for grazing.  The purpose of annuals to help rejuvenate the soil microbe community and not necessarily for gain in grazing.  Good thing, because it certainly failed in that department.  However, as i had written before, the goal is to eradicate toxic fescue and build organic matter.  It does look like that has happened at least in short term.  It is very hard to measure long term benefits.   However, from this point, i’m planning to tack the sail and switch to tilling then no-till a permanent ley (grassland).  Whether or not that will work remains to be seen, but i’m keen to find a way to reduce then eliminate any tractor work.  I hope to get that scheme underway and perhaps even completed this week.  This new scheme, although i do plan to till before planting to permanent ley, will provide a side by side comparison of planting annuals first vs planting permanent pasture once and done.  There will be a few spots, too, that won’t be tilled and seeds will be drilled straight into established pasture.

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I drive through the annuals with my Gator to make it easier to set up a polybraid fence through it.
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Grazed part next to ungrazed annuals.  That tall stuff still standing in common ragweed.
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My ground is very poor in most areas and this is all it will grow in a 65 day period of the annuals.

 

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This is along the fence line (see fence on the left).  What a difference in where i tilled and planted vs undisturbed.  The ubiquitous Kansas ragweed (lanceleaf) is still thriving where it is undisturbed.

 

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Those cows didn’t waste any.  They really, really enjoyed eating the succulent annuals and snarfed down the volunteer yellow foxtail.  The stalks are trampled nicely.
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This is a close up of the left behind common ragweed.  That step in post is 36 inches tall.
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A closer look at the Kansas (lanceleaf) ragweed in undisturbed soil.  Same step in post.
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Larger area shown here of what is left of the annuals after grazing.

 

Cows on the Annuals

It's been a rather busy and momentous month, so i'm way behind on reporting on the annuals for grazing and pasture improvement project.  Here are photos of growth at 60 days.  Turned the cows in on August 1, 2017.  Yah willing, my final report will be coming soon.  It will take some number crunching and analysis, so will be several days, but i'm ready to put paid to this project.

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Calving Season Underway!

For the past 15 years or so, we’ve had our calving season start about 18 May through first week of July.  This worked pretty well, but since i have had scour problems the past two seasons, i was adamant about making changes, so i put the bulls in earlier.  Thankfully, despite the earlier and shorter breeding season, most cows got pregnant again.

Official calving season this year for me started 25 April, but already have 16 calves on the ground and up and running!  Weather has been pretty nice until today with temps only reaching 46F and it’s misty rain and mild wind.

Cheers!

tauna

Egg Nog

 

Another treat for an all liquid diet – this one hails from my good friend, Barb, who, along with her husband care for great cows which produce awesome milk from their nearly 100% grassfed diet.

1 quart milk (real, if possible)

4 egg yolks

1/3 cup sugar or 1/4 cup real honey

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp vanilla

Heat milk to 160 degrees (about steaming)over medium heat.  Add one cup hot milk to egg yolks, then blend into the remaining milk.  Remain vigilant and/or whisk often to keep it from sticking and burning to the bottom of the pot.  Add sugar (or honey) and spices, then reheat.  This is great warm or cold.

As always, use organic, fresh, local whenever possible.

Jerry really likes this and it’s packed with calories and fat, which is important for him right now.  He warms up a cup of eggnog if he has trouble falling asleep or for brekkie in the morning with his softened cereal.

Cheers

tauna

Casady Honey Farm 

Welter Seed & Honey

Frontier Organic Spices

Green Hills Harvest

 

The Verdict

Just finished pregnancy checking a few cows, including my recip (recipient) cows.  Remember that 10 cows were implanted with Aberdeen-Angus embryos on the 24th and 25th of September.  The verdict:  of the ten, six are bred!  That is 60%!  Which is so exciting.  It sounds like a low percentage, but consider that these embryos were collected and frozen in Scotland on 17 March 2015, then shipped frozen in August to Los Angeles, passed through customs, then on to GENEX in Billings, Montana continuing to Trans-Ova in Chillicothe, MO.  Then thawed and implanted.  That’s a LOT of room for error.

These cows are scheduled to calve about 25 June 2016.  A lot can happen between now and then and even at calving and during the calf’s growing years.  So the risk continues.

Suffice it to say, i may have the most colourful recip cows in the county!

Embryos come from Dunlouise Angus in Forfar, Scotland.  The Corriente and Longhorn were bought a few years ago from Bart Albertson and Jeremia Markway and the Dexter/Angus from a neighbour.

Cheers!

tauna

D121 x Jipsey Earl
This Longhorn cow is carrying a D121 (dam) and Jipsey Earl calf.
E170 x Jipsey Earl (2)
This Corriente cow is carrying an E170 (dam) and Jipsey Earl baby.
E170 x Jipsey Earl (3)
This Angus/Dexter cross cow is pregnant with an E170 and Jipsey Earl calf.
E170x Jipsey Earl
Corriente cow carrying an E170 (dam) and Jipsey Earl calf.
K377xRed Native
Corriente Cow pregnant with a K77 (dam) and Red Native calf.
E170 x Jipsey Earl
Longhorn cow carrying an E170 (dam) and Jipsey Earl calf.
260B x Ohlde Linebred
Corriente cow carrying a 260B (dam) and Ohlde OCC Linebred 661L (Angus) calf.

 

Refuge Ministries

Quick trip to my farm to shift the cows across the road.

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Even though we are inside the Gator, still got my hunter orange so as to be more visible.

Yes, i was just there yesterday, but discovered that I had grossly overestimated the amount of forage the cows would have, so they had to be moved today.

Took Dallas with me just in case my temporary netting decided to take flight in our 33 mph gusting winds.  But all went well;  he wouldn’t have needed to go, but sure gave me extra peace of mind.  Taking out mineral,

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Always keep out mineral for cattle unless it’s just raining everyday.  We use Redmon Natural mineralised salt.  You may know the company as Real Salt.

shutting gates, and draining a water tank took us 55 minutes.  Driving up there and back takes 1 hour 15 minutes.  Obviously, I usually plan to spend more time up there to justify the trip.

Frying lumpia this afternoon in preparation for my monthly trip to Refuge Ministries in Mexico, MO.  

 

Cheers!

tauna