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Cattle For Those Who Like To Have A Cow.


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  #41  
Old 01/13/09, 02:41 PM
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Zone 7
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What wsteven said. I want you to consider how to divide the farm into manageable long narrow strips if at all feasible. Have the farmer in the family to make this call. You are attempting to get strips that can be efficient bush hogged, litter scattered, baled, etc, turning only twice. Then running parallet or perpendicular to these rectangles I want you to have lanes going to water. At this juncture, until you get some experience I do not care if the cattle are walking 1200 to 1600ft or there about to get water. It is too soon to install permanent water distribution. I prefer for you to have the lanes running parallel to the rectangular strips but nothing is chiseled into stone. With proper planning you could have rectangular paddock, lane, rectangular paddock, rectangular paddock, lane, rectangular paddock resulting with I I_I I I_I I At the end of any long rectangular paddock you could make a lane and feed to another lane somewhat like a secondary road teeing into a main road. Just think of how a town road system is laid out. In our case we just want all roads/lanes to lead to water. You could even make an oversize lane and later when you do install water convert the oversize lane to a paddock. It is much easier and cheaper to plan on paper than to try to reroute later. I have an aerial photo of my place but at this time I do not know how to get it onto this site. It will show my lanes but will not show the paddocks. I will work on this. Meanwhile. I have to go back to work. I am on late lunch now. If I am unclear just ask whatever and I will reply tonight.
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Last edited by agmantoo; 01/13/09 at 02:46 PM.
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  #42  
Old 01/13/09, 08:09 PM
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Join Date: May 2008
Location: Anderson,California
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I have started reading this thread and found it intresting and now have Acouple question.

You stated

I highly recommend that your brood cows weigh no more than 1100 pounds, preferably 1050, and be of medium frame size. These cows need to be moderate milk producers. There are good reasons for this, mainly smaller cows and moderate milkers are more economical to feed. It is a fact, some just refuse to acknowledge the known truth. Keep an open mind while I explain. An acre of forage will carry just so many pounds of animals. Whether you are aware or not you are marketing grass. You may produce calves but in reality you are a grass farmer. The same land that may support 10 each 1600 pound big mommas will carry 15 each 1050 lb each smaller cows.

Around my area we have always gone by 1 cow/calf per acre. but here you are stating lbs per acrea. You mention 15 cows each at 1050 lbs. So how many lbs can 1 acre sustain ?

can the above method be used on a different type of animal IE goats ?
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  #43  
Old 01/13/09, 08:22 PM
 
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Slugmar, a cow in good body condition and not stressed by adverse energy consuming weather needs approximately 3% of its body weight in good protein and high total digestible nutrient per day. I disregard the animal per acre rule of thumb as no two acres produce the same quantity and quality and no two cows convert grass to its needs the same. If my herd rushes onto new paddocks I interpret that as they are hungry and I allocate more stockpiled fescue. If the herd has not consumed the previous days allocation, I cut back. Going into the Fall I realize that I need enough of stockpiled grass to feed for not less that 90 days and up to 115 days. I know nothing about goats.
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  #44  
Old 01/13/09, 08:54 PM
 
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This is the best that I can do regarding the aerial view. Although this is recent, it is not totally accurate. Hopefully you can ascertain what is going on to some degree. Ask your questions and I will attempt to answer them. You will notice the "dogleg" main lane and some additional lanes that lead to the main lane. One lane is missing. I cannot alter this pic as the original is a pdf and I simply opened the file on my monitor and with my cell phone took a pic.
any ideas for converting to rotational grazing? - Cattle
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Last edited by agmantoo; 01/13/09 at 09:22 PM.
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  #45  
Old 01/13/09, 09:31 PM
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That helps a lot, Agmantoo. I'm terrible at visualizing--you have to draw me a map ... literally. I'll see what I can do about getting a link to an aerial pic of our grazing area so you can see what we're up against.

These are your large paddocks that you subdivide as necessary right?
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  #46  
Old 01/13/09, 09:40 PM
 
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Those are the large sections that I subdivide into rectangular paddocks where permissible. This farm is rolling hills. The paddocks run in many directions but I always try to make them as long as possible. To give you an idea of paddock size, F3, the strip to the far right is actually 2 paddocks running North to South. I am in process of converting 3 smaller paddocks into one very long one at this time. I am glad you are now viewing the concept.
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Last edited by agmantoo; 01/13/09 at 10:43 PM.
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  #47  
Old 01/14/09, 07:04 AM
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I have a question for agmantoo about this grazing system. We are moving to the rotational grazing system=have several paddocks and move the animals around-but still have alot to learn. here's my question, the LSU Ag people told us we need to use a renovator on our pastures to loosen the soil and help the nutrients get down into the soil instead of running off. Is this necessary b/c of the area we live in with alot of clay in the soil or can we do something to prevent this necessity? Our fields are not beautiful and lush and we're noticing that small dips and pockets in the fields have lovely grass but the majority is yellower and not tender. Our conclusion is that the water is not soaking in b/c the ground is too hard. We have 10 acres and rotate 4 cows, two horses, 8-10 goats, couple of pigs. We have hair sheep, too but so far we haven't been able to convince them to get into the rotation.

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  #48  
Old 01/14/09, 08:29 AM
 
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harplade,
IMO, you cannot get to where you want to go with the existing setup.. You have too many animals and/or not enough acres. There is not enough time between rotations for the paddocks to recover. It is nearly impossible with the array of animals to leave a paddock with 3 inches of growth remaining. You are stressing what grass is there to the point it can hardy survive if it is. Here is your situation.... The grass cannot recover, the ground gets trampled excessively because some animal is almost always on it, particularly when wet and the clay compresses, your Winters are too mild to break the packed clay and Iowa State determined years ago that pasture renovators are not justifiable to pull. The renovator use concept sounds great and I almost bought one until I did the research. Horse traffic on pasture is very damaging, pigs will root until they destroy the support system of the forage. Put the pigs in a pen, the horses in a corral (you are feeding them anyway), reduce the goats to two and I know nothing about hair sheep but I imagine they can eat to the dirt so confine them if that is true and you can start rotational grazing. Plant the paddocks to a deep rooting year around growing forage that will have a long root system. The roots will destroy the hard pan over time, the reduced and rotated livestock will let the forage flourish and you will have 3 inches or more of residual grass that can recover through photosynthesis when the animals are rotated off for at least 3 weeks or longer. Wish that I had a more favorable reply but I am being truthful.
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Last edited by agmantoo; 01/14/09 at 02:01 PM.
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  #49  
Old 01/14/09, 08:58 AM
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Ok, here's the link to an aerial of the farm. Let me know if it helps or if it needs to be zoomed in some. The 2 hayfields on this side of town are marked in yellow, and a general idea of the grazing areas is marked in light green.

http://s75.photobucket.com/albums/i3...dhaymarked.jpg

Let me know if you have questions
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  #50  
Old 01/14/09, 11:59 AM
 
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I hate to disagree but ...
I would look forward to rotating hair sheep along with our small herd of cattle. Greg Judy does high density rotational grazing with cattle and hair sheep (St. Croix) I think they are separate though. I do choose to keep my horses on a dry lot most of the time though and I wouldn't want to deal with making a goat proof fence everyday to move goats to. I believe that Judy has his St. Croix sheep trained to 2 polywire fence. For keeping them in with cattle... I've heard that they can develop a bond with cattle and will tend to stay with the cattle herd even if they can get out of a temporary fence.
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  #51  
Old 01/14/09, 02:05 PM
 
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You are not disagreeing with me, just voicing your position which you are certainly entitled to do. I stated that I know nothing about hair sheep and I do not even have an idea of their use or if they have any commercial value. Possibly I need some hair sheep.
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  #52  
Old 01/14/09, 02:58 PM
 
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In November I saw Greg Judy speak at a small farm conference. If I remember correctly, he's only had sheep for a few years and he started with a number of breeds. He didn't worm, just have them good pasture, minerals and salt. After a while the St. Croix sheep were nearly the only ones left. He said if he had to worm them to keep them alive, he didn't want them. I think he said that he direct markets the lambs for meat and sells them for 125 each. The buyer pays for processing. When you consider twins and triplets, that's quite a bit of money in lamb/year. I wish I had all those talks on video.. I'm sure I missed alot.
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  #53  
Old 01/14/09, 07:04 PM
 
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Location: north central WA
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I just found this thread and have been very interested to see how it's going.
I have about 2 -2.5 acres in pasture and have 2 horses and a dairy cow. My cow is due to calve in Feb and I will be adding a bottle calf. I would like start an appropriate rotation for their grazing. Right now the horses are kept separate from the cow and have the run of 2/3 of the pasture. My thoughts are to bring the stock into corrals at night and graze during the day...especially since I have to bring the cow in for milking twice a day anyway. The horses will be kept separate from the cows to keep the cows safe.
I would like to hear suggestions on how this can work. It seems like I will need lanes to move everyone too and from the barn/corrals, but that also seems like it would use too much of the needed space for paddocks.
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  #54  
Old 01/14/09, 08:35 PM
 
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Provided the cow is broke to lead there should not be a problem. One roll of polywire and a dozen step in pig tail posts and a small fence charger should put you one your way. Attempt to determine where you may have shade and can place water. Each morning walk the cow to the paddock she is to graze and each evening walk her back to where she will spend the night. Paddock size will be determined by you each trip. Give her enough area that it will take her 2 each 45 minute periods to consume the grass down to 3 inches tall each day. Since your cow will be supporting 2 calves I expect you will be giving her some grain, is that correct?
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Last edited by agmantoo; 01/14/09 at 08:50 PM.
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  #55  
Old 01/14/09, 08:57 PM
 
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godsgapeach
Do the chicken houses have their own well or does the water get piped from the farmstead?
Where are the cattle sorted and loaded for shipment, at the farmstead?
Currently is the hay stored under shelter at the farmstead?
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  #56  
Old 01/14/09, 09:28 PM
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There is an extra well at the chicken houses that is not being used for the chicken houses. I can't remember how many gallons/minute it gets though. We used it this past summer to water across the road when the pond almost dried up during the drought.

There is a sorting lot in each of the pastures, but the main board lot is to the left of the chicken houses (you can faintly see the drive). Right at the road near the board lot is an OLD bored well--don't know what it would take to get it in working order again. Straight across from that is the gate into the 45 acre field (and that lot is right at the gate).

Our hay sits out at the edges of the hayfields, not under shelter.

More questions?

Thanks for spending so much time on our questions!
Godsgapeach
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  #57  
Old 01/14/09, 09:38 PM
 
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Are those chicken houses 420 ft long?
You are going to need 4500 gallons of water per day in hot weather.
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  #58  
Old 01/14/09, 09:46 PM
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They are 400 feet long.

The 4500 is where the challenge lies. Got to get it from somewhere, and it can be done. We've just got to do some figuring. I need to find out if any of the bored wells can still produce or if we'd be better off having one drilled. But even though Daddy hasn't given us a budget, I'd rather not hit him with a huge expense right off the bat if we can avoid it. I know our drilled one (at the house in the far right of the pasture) hit a spring or something at only 150 feet and gets at least 10 gpm.

The chicken houses are actually on city water so they're not competing with the cows.
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  #59  
Old 01/14/09, 10:43 PM
 
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Here is my very rough first suggestion for the layout. The green color(s) is for paddocks and they are too wide as I had to do this free hand. I know you have a permanent perimeter fence and the green color sometimes over laps the permanent fence. The black is the suggested lanes. The darker blue is water and the round globs are for the drinkers. I am trying to get cattle to the catch area, to water, to shade and to move them around the farm. Water could be in the lane and I think they would be within the 800 ft distance most of the time. For now the cattle could be given access to the woods and they make their way to water. I also want tractor access for bush hogging and for litter spreading. I cannot distinguish the natural streams very well from the aerial. Review this with the family and comment.
any ideas for converting to rotational grazing? - Cattle
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Last edited by agmantoo; 01/14/09 at 11:12 PM.
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  #60  
Old 01/14/09, 10:46 PM
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Will do! Thanks
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