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.
Depending on weather conditions, it’s quite likely our cows may need some energy. What we are concerned about is the lack of green in any of our stockpile which, from what we read, can result in a serious lack of Vitamin A. We are looking into supplementing that since the lack of this important vitamin results in expensive compromises to animal health.
We have been truly blessed to have splendid weather so far into the autumn season. This has allowed a considerable amount of extra outdoor work to be accomplished – making up for the lack of such earlier in the year due to constant rain.
However, signs of winter are moving across the country, so it’s time to get serious about it. We’ve been feeding some hay since it was nice and dry, but that seems to be past for a while, so back to grazing. Too bad for deer hunters at all the rain this firearm season.
At all places, we’ll have set up two polywires across an ungrazed paddock ready for winter stockpile grazing. With the warm weather, we’ve been able to keep the stock on paddocks with only a little regrowth, but that will soon change once the nighttime temperatures drop below freezing. It’s important, too, to not graze too short this time of year unless you are purposefully doing so to ‘set back’ the existing grass and root system.
At my south Missouri farm, Dallas, Christian, and I worked nearly all daylight hours to set out hay bales for bale grazing, clearing brush, and building hi-tensile perimeter fence.
Friday morning, however, we finished up and took some leisure time. We don’t often do that. Ziplining in the southwest Missouri Ozarks. Branson Zipline is an awesome place to go with great guides. Fun time. And, yes, even I stepped off the platform into a 100 foot freefall!
With cold weather coming, it’s time to address the livestock water tanks. Allen sat down this morning to make a list of his tanks, which he’ll either shut off and drain or some he’ll turn on the leak valve and allow the water to run through the overflow pipe. The moving water won’t freeze up. He has 74 tanks to attend to while i only have 10!
That forecasted rain hit about 9:30 pm and just poured for about 5 minutes – storm over. The Mizzou game in Columbia, MO, however, looked like miseryfor a LONG time – it didn’t help that the hometown team lost badly.
Today dawned clear and bright and i managed to clean the frig, wash a load of laundry, feed the calves, wash windows, and start the oven cleaning before the day got started.
Paperwork has been gathered for my trip to Chillicothe in the afternoon to the license bureau. Allen and I had planned to purchase the pickup through bartering, however, i found out at the license bureau that that can only be done throught a dealership! No private transactions. That doesn’t sound fair. So, of course, i had to pay sales tax after all. The inspection for the pickup resulted in a $600 repair bill!!
Stopped in Meadville at my friend’s house and we had a serious heart to heart visit. I cannot imagine going through life without a close friend with whom each can share our joys, concerns, and heartaches.
Slow late afternoon since i’d allowed plenty of time for the license bureau, yet i was in and out in less than half an hour! Fed the calves, worked on my chicken tractor (this is my 9th design and build of chicken tractors and eggmobiles). I’ve been at the chicken tractor for months, but it’s the lowest item on my priority list, so I seldom have time to piddle around with it. Had hoped to have it done before i butcher our last 14 hens so as to see if it works, but that may not happen. Might get chicks next spring, but might not. I may just enjoy not having extra chores, but it’s fun building stuff – it just won’t get used.
One of the negative aspects (and i’m NOT complaining) is that with this unexpected warm weather, vacuuming or sweeping dead face flies and Japanese beetles off the floor around windows and sills etc is a daily event.
Each morning and evening, I have 5 orphaned peewee calves to feed along with two orphaned bottle calves. A nuisance to be sure. Once they are started good and I have time, I’ll take them to the auction before winter. Someone else will like the chores more than we do.
Last night, after dark, Dallas, Allen, and I mustered 12 calves from the TT place across the road to their mums who Allen had moved earlier in the day. He should have checked them before dark! We were able to move all but one blind calf. She’ll be up waiting today.
The electric company guys came yesterday whilst I was gone and cut down these two dead trees from near the power lines. I had only called them about a week ago and here they are so quickly. I was glad they were willing to do this dangerous job for us.
Need to get back to these birdhouses I cut out from an old barn gate using a pattern for bluebird house from the Missouri Department of Conservation. Boy, repurposing lumber is a challenging undertaking, but it is rewarding to keep this lumber from just burning. Still need to screw on the tops and cut out the hole. I’ll leave the decorating to Dallas – he’s more creative than I am. We have a lot of small antique farm junk to use. Not sure what we’ll do with so many birdhouses – maybe Dallas and I can hone our skills enough to make something worth selling. I lined these up today – does that count for doing something?! 😉
Rolled up about 875 feet of polywire and picked up the posts, giving my ET cows and some late calving heifers of Allen’s another break of fresh grass.
Lunch was such a hit yesterday with beef fillets and broccoli, that I made the same today. Which was quick and easy since I had sliced the whole loin yesterday morning when it was still somewhat frozen. Being partially frozen, meat is much easier to slice. These fillets I sliced about 1 1/2 inches thick. Pan broiled in butter from grass fed cows is our favourite way of preparing beef fillets and lamb noisettes.
Since it may rain tomorrow and i need to go to Chillicothe, I headed to my farm to shift the cows. That sure made them happy. I opened another paddock as well since I can’t get back up there until Tuesday. Took out mineral and drove the perimeter to make sure the fence was all cattle tight. Finished my fencing project at my farm this afternoon with driving another 10 or so fiberglass posts and attaching the two hi-tensile wires with cotter pins. I’ll be feeling that tonight – I can see some Tylenol in my future – the ground is really hard right now. Tightened it all up – done.
The guys are nearly done with building my perimeter fence. They finished today’s plans in the rain. It was not a full day of working since Allen took his dad to the doctor this afternoon. If the weather holds, probably tomorrow will see it done.
Upon my return home, i found the peewee calves in the yard waiting for me! Guess i accidentally left a gate open. So glad the bulls hadn’t wandered up to the barn and out as well! Got some feed and they followed me back to the barn easily. One of the bottle calves is not feeling well – i noticed her not being up to par this morning and she is worse this evening, so i pushed her into a corner and shot her with Red mix and a vitamin B complex. Hopefully, that will knock whatever rattles out of her. She has a good appetite, though, so that is a good sign. She and the other calf sucked down their bottles in good fashion.
Enough chatter for today!!
Nearly dark, Allen and Dallas pulled in. Dallas collected eggs and we all sauntered back to the house, enjoying the lovely evening.
Now, a long evening before bedtime – maybe i can talk these two into playing a few games of UNO. We are all tired, but it just gets dark so early.
Here’s an old article and our operation has changed a little bit, but we still very much appreciate and use management-intensive grazing (MIG). All our pastures are subdivided into 20 acres or less paddocks with hi-tensile electric wire. With the focus on managing the grazing, our animals and soil benefit from good health.
Allen & Tauna Powell Named 2004 “Grasslanders of the Year”
A Linn County farm family was named “grasslanders” at the Missouri Forage and Grassland Council annual meeting at the Lake of the Ozarks in November, 2004.
Allen and Tauna Powell, Laclede, Mo., were named Grasslanders of the Year. The Powells operate a 3000-acre farm stocked with 800 cows that use management-intensive grazing systems. Though the majority of their calves are marketed through traditional commodity channels, the last couple years, they have been finishing calves on grass only and marketing the beef locally and on the Internet.
They now serve on the advisory board for the research farm and have been instructors at the grazing schools.
The award was accepted by the family, which includes Jessica, 12; Dallas, 11; and Nathan, 8. The children are home schooled and attended the educational meetings at the MFGC conference after doing their regular homework.
Tauna said, “I thought raising pasture-finished beef was a crazy idea when I first heard it from Fred Martz (former superintendent of MU FSRC.) Now, 12 years later, we are doing it.”
MFGC is an educational association made up of graziers, educators, agency representatives and businesses. It provides support for state and regional grazing schools.
They have also initiated and support a grassland evaluation contest for high school students and travel scholarships for college students attending national meetings.
The Powells were nominated by Fred Martz, retired MU professor and grassland farmer at Columbia, Mo.
Management-intensive grazing improves production and health of pastures, increases livestock gains per acre, and reduces soil erosion. The system is based on dividing large pastures into smaller grazing paddocks. Livestock are moved every few days to give forage time to rest and regrow. Livestock always has fresh pasture to graze.
Slow start today – I’m tired. Once early lamb feeding of 8 lambs are done, I got the bread started. Put too much buckwheat flour in and it was horribly sticky. So nix making burger buns and made 2 loaves instead. The bones that were saved from the sirloin steak used in stir fry earlier this week were cooked down and I pulled off the bits of meat. Added additional broth from the chuck roast I’d made Wednesday, threw in the only fresh veggies I have left in the house – onions and celery.
So while the bread is rising, I managed to get all the house vacuumed and it sorely needed it. The cats are shedding and little tufts of hair were in every nook and cranny. I just can’t stand that! Of course the cats could stay outside, but they like to come in often at night because the dogs are out and they don’t get along very well.
After a bit of an early lunch, Dallas and I loaded our brush clearing and fire starting supplies. We hooked onto the little ATV trailer and pulled it with the Gator to the seed plant. Before heading north to my farm, we set up the ladder and I climbed up to prune as high as I could with chainsaw a few errant branches of an old apple tree. It hadn’t been pruned for at least 20 years. There is a bit more fine tuning that Dallas will finish. We left the trailer in the yard next to the tree for him to pick up the branches. I’ll probably cut them in small bits to use for grilling. Apple wood imparts a nice aroma.
The 35 minute trip to my farm was uneventful, but when we arrived, we saw a baby lamb outside the electric netting. Hoping to catch him and throw him back over was wishful thinking on my part. That little bugger had plenty of spunk for such a newbie. He ran at full tilt down the hill, then scrambled through the barbed wire perimeter fence, down the bank and through a small ditch, then up the road bank and across the highway! Thankfully, he bogged down in the tall grass and I was able to nab him. Little bugger. I hooked him up and packed back. Not wanting him to get out again. I walked to the middle of the sheep paddock and left him. Hopefully, his mum will find him. However, since he is a triplet, she may have already abandoned him.
Dallas and I spent the next 3 hours building fires and cutting downed trees down to packable size. We made good progress, but still only 2/3rds done with this project. Still hope to finish this winter, but the 20th is fast approaching and I have a lot of stuff going on right now.
Before heading home, we reconfigured a bit of perimeter fence so I could electrify it. Then once I found the short, it was hot. Sure doesn’t usually work that easily!
Back home – fed all the lambs – showered – relaxing!