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Grazing Management Primer – Part 3

Pond fenced with poly wire electric fence
Alan Newport
You can save a lot of money on water development by taking cattle to existing water sources with temporary electric fence.

Here’s a primer for managed grazing, Part III

A few more thoughts on grass regrowth, animal production and timing.

Alan Newport | Dec 08, 2017

In the first two stories of this series we covered some terms used in managed grazing, provided their definitions, and explained why the terminology and the ideas they represent matter.

In this third and final article of our managed grazing primer, we’ll cover some important concepts that aren’t based in terminology.

Plants: Taller and deeper is better

Early in the days of managed grazing there was a huge and largely mistaken emphasis on grazing plants in Phase II, or vegetative state.

Pushed to its logical end, this resulted in what then grazing consultant Burt Smith once commented about New Zealanders: “They’re so afraid of Phase III growth they never let their plants get out of Phase I.”

Young forage is high in nitrogen/protein and low in energy, while older forage is higher in energy and better balanced in a ratio of nitrogen/protein, although it has higher indigestible content.

This older attitude foiled the greatest advantages of managed grazing. It never let the plants work with soil life to build soil. It never let the grazier build much forage reserve for winter or for drought.

Last but not least, we were told for years the quality of taller, older forages was so poor that cattle could not perform on it. That is not necessarily true of properly managed, multi-species pasture where soil health is on an increasing plane and cattle are harvesting forage for themselves. It’s all in the management.

Balance animal needs with grass management

One of the most important concepts to managing livestock well on forage is to recognize livestock production and nutritional needs and graze accordingly.

If you have dry cows or are dry wintering cattle, you might ask them to eat more of the plants.

Remember the highest quality in mature, fully recovered forage is near the top of the plants and the outer parts of newer or longer leaves

Again depending on livestock class and forage conditions, an affordable and well-designed supplement program can let you graze more severely, also.

Erratic grazing breeds success

Nature is chaotic and constantly changing, so your grazing management needs to be also.

If you graze the same areas the same way and same time each year, you will develop plants you may not want because they will try to fill the voids you are creating and you may hurt plants you desire because they will become grazed down and weakened, perhaps at critical times.

If you move those grazing times and even change animal densities and perhaps also add other grazing species, you will create more diverse plant life and soil life.

Remember, too, that your livestock don’t need to eat everything in the pasture to do a good job grazing.

Cattle legs are for walking

Water is always a limiting factor for managed graziers, but the low-cost solution in many cases is to make cattle walk back to water.

Certainly you can eat up thousands of dollars of profit by installing excessive water systems and numerous permanent water points.

This can be overcome to some degree with temporary fencing back to water and using existing water sources.

Read Part I or Part II.

Souks in Dubai

This morning, we had planned a guided walking tour of the gold and spice souks, but could never make contact with the local company to confirm, so we hopped on the Metro inside Mall of the Emirates and just enjoyed the walk ourselves.  It’s in the old part of Dubai, so a bit of history would have been helpful, but….

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We hopped a 1 dirham  (about 27 cents USD) Abra Boat Ride water taxi ride to the spice and gold souks.

Few crowds maybe because it’s a weekday and it had been raining, not sure.  But there were plenty of vendors in your face plying their wares.  Roping you with cashmere scarves they are pushing (gently remove it and say ‘no thanks’) and an amazing number of young men stepping in front with photos on their phones of ‘purses, watches, sunglasses’  just step back here.  yeah, forget about it.

I really don’t like that aggressive approach at all, but Jessica and I smile and say, ‘very pretty, no thank you.’ It really stresses Dallas though.  His Aspergers  kicks in high in these types of situations, so i tend to limit his exposure – it makes him cranky.

Lots of pretty things, but i have no need for gold or spices and i’m not educated enough to haggle for any of it, so i buy nothing.

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One of several spice souks in Dubai.
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One of several gold souks in Dubai

 

Sweden

Fairly early we left our fine Airbnb accommodation in Copenhagen for the train station located near Tivoli Gardens. We took the SJ200 Tilting train through Malmo.  Awesome – 125 mph and very posh even at our cheap rate.  AFter 5 hours 15 minutes we arrived in Stockholm and walked from the train station to Lady Hamilton hotel in Gamla Stan (Old Town) of Stockholm.  What a beautiful city is the old part of Stockholm.

Since there was a long line for currency exchange at the train station, we went on – ran a bit tight.  But everywhere accepts Visa anyway, but it’s nice to have a bit of cash for small purchases.  Saw an ad for a recital at the Royal Opera House, tried to get tickets, but it was already sold out for that evening.  No more scheduled for while we were in town.

Took a canal boat tour this afternoon followed by a guided walking tour of Gamla Stan later.  Ending the lovely evening by enjoying coffee and sweet at the oldest bakery in Stockholm.

Stockholm Bakery

 

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Coastline of Stockholm (Gamla Stan)

Next day we hop on the public ferry to the Vasa Museum – boy had it changed since i visited 36 years ago!

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