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Cattle For Those Who Like To Have A Cow.


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  #61  
Old 01/14/09, 10:47 PM
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: north central WA
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Originally Posted by agmantoo View Post
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?
The calves will be bottle fed and when they are weaned then they will go into the rotation. But she is a 3/4 Jersey/ 1/4 Holstein and will be getting milked twice a day. Yes she is halter broke too..that does help. She will be fed beet pulp and a very small amount of grain (keeping a close eye on her condition and adjusting accordingly). I do feed hay year round at this point, and figure I will need to continue on some level...perhaps during the overnight period. Our grass at this point leaves a lot to be desired, so if it doesn't seem to hold up, I will continue with AM and PM hay.
I don't have any shade in the pastures at all. In the heat of summer, I would probably switch the rotation to put them out and night and in during the day so they can get out of the summer heat.
Do you have any suggestions on how to fit the horses into the rotation?

Thank you very much for taking the time to help me. Getting this right is really important to me.
Trisha
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  #62  
Old 01/15/09, 07:23 AM
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Zone 7
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Trisha in WA
Since you are in Washington I would think you would have extremely good hay and an ample amount of it. Horses are abusive of pasture IMO and the only way I know to keep the damage down is to give them limited access. Permitting them to graze for an hour of so and put them back in their dedicated area. Your plan for the cow is sound and well thought out and should please you when implemented. Since the bulk of the fescue seed sown here comes from Oregon/Washington I am guessing that fescue will grow at your location. That would be my choice for the cow and depending where you are it should be ideal for Winter stockpiling with its high protein content. I am only familiar with the Portland climate and I know how varied the weather can be in your state. We drop into the 20's here and occasionally into the the teens. The fescue is my mainstay and my cattle graze it year round and it holds up. Lots of horse people do not like pregnant mares on fescue but I have a friend that is into saddlebreds and he has grazed fescue with his horses for years with no noticeable ill effects. He does keep his pastures clipped and none of the grass goes to seed. good luck.
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Last edited by agmantoo; 01/15/09 at 07:25 AM.
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  #63  
Old 01/15/09, 09:44 AM
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agmantoo-thanks for the suggestions about the renovator.
As I think someone mentioned, the hair sheep are for food-and I definitely need to see Greg Judy's video b/c we have not been successful at training them to the hot wire. We're going to try with the female babies this year.
What is a deep rooted grass? I believe we can grow chicory here. We currently have some Bermuda but mostly Bahia. We planted peas in one paddock this year for finishing off a couple of cows. They grew well. We were planning on throwing some wheat out to see if it would grow if it was top sown.
Thanks for your input-
as I may have mentioned, there doesn't seem to be much of this type of style of grazing here in La. Mostly farmers grow them out with the abundance of summer grass, some plant rye for the winter and hay them. Of course, our Bahia grows sporadically all winter, especially in a mild winter so they can eat that also.
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  #64  
Old 01/15/09, 11:53 AM
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Zone 7
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You may want read this information. The fescue referenced in the article is specifically for your area and is suppose to not have the endophyte problem. To date, the fescues that I know of that are endophyte free are not hardy. Personally I would add some regular Ky 31 common fescue to see if I could get it to adapt to the area.
http://www.gsdc.com/GA%205%20FESCUE.html

This is a copy and paste of why I would add the Ky31. Read closely and you will see the negatives and what positives exists for both infected and non infected fescues.
The objective of this study was to evaluate the performance of growing cattle when intensively grazing stockpiled endophyte-infected (E+), endophyte-free (E-) and non-toxic endophyte-infected (EN) tall fescue during the winter. The experiment was conducted over 5 consecutive winters. In each year, plots (1 ha each, 4 per treatment) were harvested for hay in August, fertilized in September and forage was allowed to accumulate until grazing was initiated in early December. Each year, 48 Angus-cross tester cattle (4 per plot) were given a daily allotment of forage, under strip-grazing (frontal grazing) management, with a target residual height of 5 cm. Steers were used the first year, and heifers were used in subsequent years. The grazing periods for determination of pasture ADG were 86 d (yr 1), 70 d (yr 2), 86 d (yr 3), 72 d (yr 4), and 56 d (yr 5). Pasture ADG of cattle did not differ among treatments (P = 0.13) and were 0.51, 0.59, and 0.56 kg/d (SEM 0.03) for E+, E-, and EN, respectively. Serum prolactin concentrations of heifers grazing E+ were lower (P < 0.05) than those grazing E- and EN during all years except yr 2. In yr 2, E+ and E- did not differ (P = 0.11). Serum prolactin of heifers grazing E- and EN did not differ (P > 0.20) except in yr 4. During yr 4, serum prolactin of heifers grazing E- was greater (P = 0.05) than that of those grazing EN. Serum urea-N concentrations (SUN) tended to differ among treatments (P = 0.10) and there was a treatment by year interaction (P = 0.05). During yr 1 through 3, SUN did not differ (P > 0.15) among treatments. However, as the stands aged, E- had a greater invasion of other plant species which increased the CP content of the sward, thus causing heifers grazing E- during yr 5 to have greater (P < 0.01) SUN than heifers grazing E+ and EN, which did not differ (P = 0.89). Forage disappearance (DM basis) did not differ (P = 0.75) among treatments and was 4.7, 4.7, and 5.0 kg/animal daily (SEM 0.27) for E+, E-, and EN, respectively. Gain per ha was greater (P = 0.04) for E+ (257 kg) than for E- (220 kg) or EN (228 kg). In most years, animal grazing days on E+ was greater than E- and EN. However, in yr 5, animal grazing days did not differ (P > 0.20) among treatments. The use of stockpiled E+ as a source of low cost winter feed is a viable option for producers, whereas grazing of EN may be more beneficial during the spring and fall when more severe negative effects of ergot alkaloids have been observed.
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Last edited by agmantoo; 01/15/09 at 12:15 PM.
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  #65  
Old 01/15/09, 07:02 PM
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: north central WA
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I agree that horses are very hard on pastures, mostly because they like to run and tear it up. I will keep working on a plan for them, but as you said, I think the plan for the cows ought to work pretty well.
Yes, I do have access to wonderful hay, though it is expensive, it is worth it.
I live in western WA, but we do get temps down into the teens (and low teens even) during the winter somewhat often.
I wonder if you have a different suggestion for grass other than fescue. It does seem somewhat controversial and I just haven't decided yet how I personally feel about it. Some of the pasture mixes we have avail have KY blue grass and different clovers. I can't think of what else is normally in the mix, but I will look into it.
Thank you for your help.
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Last edited by Trisha in WA; 01/15/09 at 07:04 PM.
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  #66  
Old 01/15/09, 07:28 PM
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Zone 7
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Until convinced otherwise I will remain an advocate for endophyte infected fescue. I interplant clovers, mostly of the ladino family and I do not have a problem. I truly like the high protein and TDN of the frost bit fescue. I do have some Ky bluegrass and it is great. I just cannot find a forage with the staying power of Ky31 through drought or flood, year after year. I can and will change my mind, I am not against change. I just cannot find a better alternate.
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  #67  
Old 01/15/09, 10:13 PM
 
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Awsome thread...thanks for sharing.
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  #68  
Old 01/16/09, 07:40 PM
 
Join Date: May 2003
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Today was cold for us. I have 60 to 75 days remaining that require stockpiled fescue for feed. Those interested in rotational grazing may find the attached pics informative as you can see the condition of the grass and you can see the condition of the various aged animals consuming only grass. Some of the animals are passing loose manure due to the richness of the forage even this late into the non growing season. Breeding stock of both sexes that are accustomed to grain feed will not hold the bloom exhibited when placed on grass alone nor will heavy milkers. Smaller framed animals also hold up better than large ones.
http://s73.photobucket.com/albums/i2...view=slideshow
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  #69  
Old 01/16/09, 09:05 PM
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Here are some pics of what we're dealing with. I took these one day last week--some cows, some pasture...

http://s75.photobucket.com/albums/i320/godsgapeach/

Hey, Agmantoo, what's the best plan for finding the "right size" cows?

Thanks
Godsgapeach
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  #70  
Old 01/17/09, 10:10 AM
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Zone 7
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Last night I prepared a thought out and what I thought was a non offensive reply. The site refused to load the reply and then over night I lost power on the computer so the reply was lost. This reply will hit the high spots and I hope to not offend anyone.

1 You have a wonderful farm that is not utilized and is nowhere near as profitable as it could be. It could be a show place and as rewarding as a farm could be. PS...I would not know what to do with all the flat ground.

2 The cattle are representing what the ag people promoted, big cows and increased production. Increased production and increased profit are not conjoined twins.

3 Your cattle are not what the market is willing to pay top dollar for. You need to supply what the customer wants.

4 If the cattle were mine I would start a non emotional culling. On the large acreage side of the road I would keep only the black or black baldy producing cattle that show no brahma influence. I would buy 2 grass raised frame 4 or 5 black Angus bulls with genetics for small birth weight and moderate milking. All steers and most heifers would be sold as they are produced. Heifers that reach 750 lbs at 15 months would be bred and I would expect a calf when the heifer is 24 months old. Any heifer that has not had a calf by 26 months old would be marked for selling. It is essential to have heifers that cycle at 15 months. Your current stock is IMO reaching sexual maturity nearer 30 plus months of age. You cannot make up for the lost opportunity. Any heifer that requires assistance birthing at 24 months would be culled, no exception. If the opportunity surfaces to buy some grass raised heifers/cows you could hurry to conversion by purchasing some mature animals. Our objective remains to have mature cows at 4 years old that weigh 1050 to 1100 lbs maximum. Remember you are going to be able to increase your herd size significantly.

5 I honestly expect your net profit to increase 300 plus percent. As I stated previously the printed cost to keep a cow exceed $300 and the net income from a calf according to the extension agent is less than $75. It is hardy worth the effort and risk. At 90 cents per lb for a 550 lb feeder calf that would result in $495 gross. If you can lower your carry costs for a cow/calf pair, excluding land, to less than $100 that would give you $395 per steer calf produced. This is achievable, even exceedable with the availability of the chicken litter. Boost this return with the increased carrying capacity through reduced brood cow size and you recognize another substantial gain in net profit.

6 It will take a commitment to achieve this but you have the resources. Within a 2 to 3 year period the pastures, forages and the rotational grazing should be in place and yielding the desired results. Within 4 to 5 years the cattle herd should be genetically near where you want it. Thereafter, the ride should be smooth, routine and most of all profitable in whatever market that prevails.
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Last edited by agmantoo; 01/17/09 at 10:21 PM.
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  #71  
Old 01/17/09, 10:34 AM
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Don't worry, Agmantoo. You have not offended. Based on what you had already stated was "the goal," you pretty much said what I expected. (except that I hadn't made assumptions about profit--I don't like guessing where $$ is concerned, and I certainly couldn't make an educated estimate).

The bulls are actually smaller framed Angus (there are 4). I know there's quite a bit of culling to do otherwise. There are very few that I'm attached to so that won't be too difficult.

It's just frustrating to me that the "powers that be" offer PLAN A as THE plan to follow, but rather than benefitting the farmer, farm (or animals), it flounders along until the next "NEW and IMPROVED" gimick comes along. It's a bit like public schools, but that's another thing for a different thread... It's just a shame when we're paying for all that research, then when the advice is followed, we pay for that too!

How would you suggest we begin to replace the herd? Where to look for the size/type we want?

I know it's going to be a long process converting, but I know it will be worth it. Daddy's worked his butt off for what we've got and he's just encouraged that we're interested enough to jump in the boat with him. (His Mama always apologized that the land/farm was all the inheritance he'd get.)

I'm excited about the potential it has! We've just got some work to do! My head is swimming with all the information since I'm steadily reading about grazing, setting up paddocks, and trying to think logically through what to do next. Plus gtme1996 and I are going to the SSAWG conference next weekend. I'm heading up Thursday to catch a Pasture Management mini course and then a full two-days of more information after that... If any of it sinks in, I'll be dangerous!

Thanks again for all your help!
Godsgapeach
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  #72  
Old 01/17/09, 11:32 AM
 
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Godsgapeach
My circumstances are different than yours as I am a one person operation. Knowing my situation and risk tolerance I would take a path that most may not. I would go to a sale where I could buy a pen of preconditioned heifer feeder calves and I would buy not less than 50 heifers weighing in the 600 lb range if I could find them. I would bring them home and put them on grass and when they reach the 750 lb range I would introduce the bulls. In 9 months I would be rotational grazing the cows and their calves. The cows and their calves that do not meet my expectation would be sent as cow/calf pairs to the sale barn. All heifer calves that come from cows that are maturing to my expectation would be ear marked for retaining. Hopefully, I would now have a total of not less than 36 females from the original 50 purchased and maybe 16 female calves for future use. I would repeat this selection process until I built a herd that satisfies my requirements. I would continue to run the cows that I did not cull from the existing herd in order to utilize the grass and to have cash flow. However, I would send some of the old cows to the sale as the new calves reach breeding age. You can balance this phasing of the old out and the new in over time. Just do not lose sight of the original goal. Over time you will develop a herd that will thrive on grass, have a uniformity in size and color. You are going to have to produce the animals you want.
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  #73  
Old 01/17/09, 03:04 PM
 
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How old are the cows, any of them broken mouthed or with short teeth? Something to consider while your making decisions about replacements.
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  #74  
Old 01/17/09, 03:32 PM
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I just talked to Daddy about selling some of the biggest cow/calf pairs and as long as we don't have a "mass exodus" he's good with that. We'll probably take a little longer to buy the replacements (not 50 at a time), but it's definitely do-able over time.

The cows are various ages--we can for sure eliminate the oldest/largest first. I haven't been in the lot with them in quite a while so I don't know about teeth--except the ones I feed apples to...

Do you think it will help that Daddy's pretty good friends with the guy who runs the sale barn? Like maybe a heads up on good looking stockers (since he'd know who they're coming from, too)? Or would we be better off looking for them another way? I'm just pitching ideas out... Any suggestions are welcome.

Thanks again!
Godsgapeach
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  #75  
Old 01/17/09, 03:41 PM
 
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Sure it would help. Only one drawback. The man at the sale barn is probably of the same mentality as the conventional producer. He absolutely must know what you are looking for. Once he is aware of what your needs are he surely can assist in locating such animals. Go to the post here by dexter and look at his cattle. He has some nice pics. Can you differentiate between the red cow that is dehorned and the black cow that is polled? How would you communicate that to a person at the sale barn when not referencing the color and the horns?
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  #76  
Old 01/17/09, 05:11 PM
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I think he could point us in the right direction given the specs we're looking for.

Yes, I can differentiate between the two of Dexter's--describing them sufficiently will be a challenge. I'm thinking back through my old Livestock Judging days... Daddy always got frustrated because I was better at Dairy judging.
Godsgapeach
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  #77  
Old 01/17/09, 11:14 PM
 
Join Date: May 2003
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Godsgapeach
Here is what the right cow can produce off grass alone. She is 3/4 Angus and 1/4 Murray Grey. The only thing lacking is the correct color IMO
any ideas for converting to rotational grazing? - Cattle
Here is one of her calves at ~14 months
any ideas for converting to rotational grazing? - Cattle
and here at ~20 months
any ideas for converting to rotational grazing? - Cattle
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  #78  
Old 01/17/09, 11:33 PM
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Very nice!

Gtme was playing around with the aerial pic on Excel and this is what he came up with:
http://i75.photobucket.com/albums/i3...rpermfence.jpg

He did way better than my freehand before. He marked the pasture access with stars and the water access (to the creeks) with arrows.

Godsgapeach
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  #79  
Old 01/17/09, 11:46 PM
 
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this cow in the foreground is the type cow that can give you the results desired from grass
any ideas for converting to rotational grazing? - Cattle
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  #80  
Old 01/17/09, 11:57 PM
 
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godsgapeach,
I am not going to be able to improve the markings I made freehand on the largest tract. However, it appears to me that my original rough layout would work. You can keep the best retained cows and some replacement heifers/cows in that pasture. With the temporary wire partitions for paddocks and the lanes for movement and the existing access to water you should be able to move ahead as is shouldn't you? In the other two tracts you can keep cattle that you are going to continue to feed in the usual manner until you get rotational grazing phased in overall. What do you need me to do at this time?
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