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  #81  
Old 01/18/09, 04:00 PM
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Agman, I sure wasn't criticizing your handiwork. I just should have let my brother do the original work on ours--my squiggles blurred the lines quite a bit.

You can breathe a sigh of relief that you don't "need" to do any more for us (your help has been greatly appreciated, though!).

Of course there are (and probably will continue to be) more questions. What source do you use for your fencing? I know Lowes carries the step in posts, but I figure you to be pretty frugal--who's got the best price for polytape and such.

Thanks as always!
Godsgapeach
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  #82  
Old 01/18/09, 06:01 PM
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Zone 7
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I never perceived that you were being critical. With my poor bedside manner I was just stating that I felt you had the idea and could move ahead and apply what I had provided to your application.
Lowe's has the best price on the pigtail posts. The polytwine is about the same price wherever you buy it, shipping is expensive on the twine. Get the 6 wire stainless steel version. I use the reels Lowe's sells for electrical extension cords. You need to have a good high output 110 volt fence charger and it is beneficial to have a 12volt DC solar one also. I use ParMak's best units bought off the internet. I buy Barkaret high tensile 12 1/2 gauge high tensile wire and I buy the best insulators I can locate. I drive good post deep into the ground on the partition fence ends, no bracing. I use 3/4" pvc line post, spaced on 60 ft centers, that have holes drilled every 2 inches for hairpins. I use the "hairpin" wire clips to secure the high tensile wire to the pvc posts. No gates are used. I take a 7' length of 1 1/2 " schedule 40 PVC pipe with a V cut in one end to hold the wire up for the cattle to get from the lane to the paddocks. I simply pull the hairpin, place the 1 1/2" pvc pipe over the 3/4" line post and raise the wire and place the wire in the V. The cattle walk under the wire and the wire can remain hot since the pvc will not conduct electricity. When you place the hairpin on the wire rotate the ends to where the eye of the hairpin make a complete loop so that he hairpin cannot be lost off the wire. I would go ahead and buy all the tools required to work the wire and to test the fence. Kencove has these. Have your brother to attempt to set the narrow dimension of the paddocks to around 300 ft on his layout. I would be happy to critique or assist him with his results.
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Last edited by agmantoo; 01/18/09 at 06:21 PM.
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  #83  
Old 01/18/09, 07:23 PM
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We will probably have to have gates, though I understand why you don't. Our chicken litter has always been spread by truck by the guy who cleans out our chicken houses. Normally he just zips all over the pasture. Don't know how he's going to feel about paddocks...

Here's a picture of one of the bulls and some of the other girls.any ideas for converting to rotational grazing? - Cattle
any ideas for converting to rotational grazing? - Cattle
any ideas for converting to rotational grazing? - Cattle

Godsgapeach
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  #84  
Old 01/18/09, 07:40 PM
 
Join Date: May 2003
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You can pull the hairpins and disconnect the wire on one end and lay the wire on the ground. I normally just take the hairpins off several line posts and then put the wire back to the posts at ground level with the hairpins and the driver just drives over the single strand. With the long rectangular paddocks being 300 feet wide that will be 5 trips at 60 feet wide for the spreader truck. This dimension was predetermined for fertilizer, lime and litter trucks. The drivers tell me that they like coming to my place because of the layout. They only turn at each end instead of 4 times in most field that are square. I have tried to put myself in the place of those providing various services or needs that may be required. With proper positioned lanes a driver should be able to go most places on the farm without having to get out of the truck. I am more convinced than ever that you need to standardize the herd. You need to obtain a sire ASAP to help convert any retained offspring to your future needs. Where would you estimate that the calves you now market rank at the sale? How far would you travel to pick up a good grass raised right type black bull in the $2500 to $3000 price range. I just know where you can get one and if the bull I have doesn't work out I will be going there also. This is the kind of bull ,but black, that I would like both of us to have. Such an animal is1/2 the herd and that is a lot cheaper than trying to buy a lot of high quality cows. Read at the end of this article how frame size impacts cattle http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/pubs/ansci/beef/as1091w.htm
any ideas for converting to rotational grazing? - Cattle
any ideas for converting to rotational grazing? - Cattle
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Last edited by agmantoo; 01/18/09 at 08:07 PM.
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  #85  
Old 01/18/09, 09:16 PM
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I definitely see the difference, Agman. This is the smallest of the 2 bulls that travels in the biggest pasture. He just happens to be the one that came down to the house today. The other is bigger, but I don't know that he can compare with your pics either.

I have no idea where the calves rank--but I'm sure with help and the suggestions you've offered, we can do better.

How far are you talking about traveling? We might be able to find a source closer to home, but I'm always open to suggestions.

Also, I see what you mean about disconnecting at the hairpins--that makes sense.

I've got a job sitting here in front of me and I'm trying to get most of it done before we leave for the conference--so I won't have as much time to read or reply this week. But if you think of any more words of wisdom, lay 'em on us and I'll check in when I can.

Thanks again!
Godsgapeach
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  #86  
Old 01/18/09, 10:15 PM
 
Join Date: May 2003
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Call 1-800-311-0995 and ask for a Spring sale catalog. It will give you delivery points where you would have to go to get a bull should you buy one. When you get the catalog look at a black composite bull frame 4, low birth weight and moderate milk production. Did you read the text in the link attached above?
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Last edited by agmantoo; 01/18/09 at 10:18 PM.
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  #87  
Old 01/18/09, 10:31 PM
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Pharo Cattle? I requested one online.
Thanks
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  #88  
Old 01/20/09, 04:54 PM
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Agmantoo, If you have more time for questions, I of course have more to ask.

With your fencing, at what height do you have your wire?

Do you have your herd broken up or are they all together?

How much space would you suggest between our electric fencing and the existing barbwire to avoid problems?

Thanks as always
Godsgapeach
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  #89  
Old 01/20/09, 06:19 PM
 
Join Date: May 2003
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Are you referencing the single wire paddock separation fence? If so, I have that wire approximately 40 inches above ground. I do permit the small calves to move under the wire as I want them to have access to the best grass.

The herd is all together and that is not a problem. It is far more convenient to move them as a group. If the herd is compromised of more than one group some of the cattle will want to move to the other group. Pecking order is easier maintained as one herd.

If you have a good perimeter fence then just leave well enough alone and only electrify the partition fences. Recall, I suggested earlier that you make one side of the lane fence the primary wire for distributed power over the farm. There is no justification for electrifying the entire paddock area. Actually it is a negative to electrify more area than what is in use at the time. Keep everything as simple as possible.

Here is a partition fence, single wire held with the hairpin to a purchased PVC post that is drilled on 2 inch center with the wire at ~ 40 inches high. If you look closely you can see the wire nearest you is raised. I have the 1 1/2 inch schedule 40 pipe with the V in it placed over the next post holding the wire so that the cattle can exit the paddock onto the lane which has grass. That is the gate. Obviously this is an old pic, you see and weeds? No goats either!
any ideas for converting to rotational grazing? - Cattle
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Last edited by agmantoo; 01/20/09 at 06:51 PM.
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  #90  
Old 01/20/09, 06:43 PM
 
Join Date: May 2003
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I have over the discussions shown a lot of pics taken over the various seasons. I would like to point out that the body condition of the cattle remains rather consistent. Hopefully your circumstances have permitted you to share these pics with your dad and other members of the family. One pic, IMO will demonstrate what it would take me hours to type. My typing leaves a lot to be desired as I only have a couple of usable fingers on one hand due to an old accident. I know some people object to the time it takes for pics to load but they remain the best method for me to communicate what is often hard to put to written word.
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Last edited by agmantoo; 01/20/09 at 06:49 PM.
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  #91  
Old 01/20/09, 07:31 PM
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I had noticed the consistency of your herd (and your forage). Very impressive!

I've printed many of the pics to share with Daddy. We'd like to have a lot of things worked out (and on paper) to show him what we're shooting for when we get back from the conference this weekend.

I also heard from Pharo today and emailed back and forth with Donna a bit. She asked where I heard about them so I gave the little bit of reference info I could (maybe you'll get a perk from the recommendation?!). And Montgomery, AL is not far to travel to get a prime bull from them.

You have certainly given us a lot to consider and offered lots of wise counsel that we couldn't have gotten anywhere else. And for that we're very grateful! Many, many thanks to you.

(And just a warning... I'll probably have many more questions when we get back from the conference. Can you stand it?)

Thanks!
Godsgapeach
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  #92  
Old 01/20/09, 09:18 PM
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Indiana
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agmantoo how do you work your watering in your different paddocks?
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  #93  
Old 01/21/09, 12:30 AM
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Zone 7
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I have 3 small dug water holes that collect run off and I have 2 high water table small streams. This past summer I installed 3300 ft of water line and I have 4 each two hole cattle waters, only 2 installed as I just bought the last 2. These commercial waterers are connected to a well and the distribution plumbing is run in the lanes that connect the paddocks. At this time the longest distance the cattle have to travel to the commercial waterers is an estimated 1200 ft. I want to reduce that to 800 ft or less. I am installing these piecemeal myself.
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Last edited by agmantoo; 01/21/09 at 12:33 AM.
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  #94  
Old 01/27/09, 01:09 PM
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I'm back! It took me a while to get back into the swing of things after the conference and I'm still processing the info we heard.

But once again, I'd like to thank you Agmantoo. It was pretty cool to go into that pasture management class and be able to say, "I've heard that!" Almost everything you've suggested or shared with us was confirmed by the "specialist" with very few if any discrepancies. The benefit to the class was that I was able to get some personal assistance with our particular land challenges--the instructor sat down with me and my aerial photos and I could point out problems with terrain or water location and he offered suggestions. He even drew out a possible plan that was very similar to the one you did for us.

One thing he said that differed was that he prefers a red breed (with a bit of ear)--for heat resistance--where you prefer black. But one of his close buddies also prefers black.

And as for planting any particular forages, his theory is "plant only fenceposts for the first 3 years." You don't know what you have that could be waiting to grow that has been gnawed down and then overshadowed by taller grasses until you get the cows off the area.

We certainly don't have the whole system mapped out, but we're working on it. And we're dealing with the watering issue too--checking into options.

Thanks loads!
Godsgapeach
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  #95  
Old 01/27/09, 04:40 PM
 
Join Date: May 2003
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I am glad that you were able to attend and have an informative conference. I will acknowledge that doing rotational grazing is an ongoing learning experience and I do try to remain open minded and I know myself well enough to realize that there will always be differences in opinions or topics open to strong discussions. Practical experiences and formal training will not always be in harmony. I told you previously that farmers have been sold a bill of goods and I remain by that statement. Since I was not present with your specialist let me ask a few questions in order that I may establish a position. Did he/she have any cattle of their own? Did they depend on their livestock impacting their quality of life financially? What did they base their position on for the type/color of animals they produced? With the amount of trees on your place providing shade why red and with ear when the market is going to discount both? Are you aware that black is not the greatest heat absorbing color? Why do you think trees are green? Why would you leave the pasture unplanted and less productive during the transition period? You want more persimmons and thistle? You can make or influence some things happening or you can wait and wonder what happened. I am not trying to be argumentative but I do from time to time encourage a response to see if a person is alert and thinking. You need to be establishing a timeframe, You have a permanent perimeter fence. The interior partitions need to be in place before the Spring growth burst. That is achievable with very little time and money. As I told you previously that you can be less efficient with the water until you can take are of that. You may want to relocate some of the interior partitions and the water could be in the wrong place. You need to bush hog those persimmon sprouts off now with the dullest blades on the farm in order to splinter the sprouts at ground level. I am of the opinion that you can choke the thistle out over time but you have to have the partition fences to do that. Have you gotten the lime PH report from the lab? What is the single greatest obstacle that you face with switching to rotational grazing at this time?
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Last edited by agmantoo; 01/27/09 at 04:43 PM.
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  #96  
Old 01/27/09, 05:24 PM
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I agree, Agman. I'm taking it all with a grain of salt.

Yes, the specialist has cattle--about 100 head on 100 acres in Arkansas. He direct markets his beef through a co-op (Ozark Pasture Beef) though so color isn't his primary concern. I was just passing along what he said about his preference--along that same line his rule of thumb about shade is "if the heat index is 95 degrees or above, you need shade" but below that, they're ok in direct sunlight. Don't think I agree there. It can still be smoking hot below that 95 index! And there will be several paddocks with no or little shade.

He said red for heat resistance and ear because Brahman/Zebu types graze longer. I like blacks better personally, but we're also considering Murray Greys. (or black/grey mixes)

His suggestion of not planting anything is to see what type of plant diversity you have without spending any $$ unnecessarily. His opinion is that if you get the cows off the field, something's going to grow and then you can see what you've got. He did say of course that you're welcome to plant if you've got the means to do it. But the biggest hindrance to something growing well, in our case, isn't necessarily a lack of seeds, but the cows grazing it to nubs as soon as it appears in the field.

Daddy did start bushhogging while we were gone so one of the worst persimmon stands is now down. And our soil tests came back--pH is from 5.7 in the bottoms where the litter truck hasn't been traveling, 5.9 to the left of the chicken houses, 6.1 to the right of the chicken houses, 6.3 across the road from the chicken houses, 6.0 in the pond cut, and 6.5 in the field that's farther down the road.

Our biggest obstacle right now is getting the fencing materials and time. My brother works (and commutes) so he's gone dark to dark every day, and weekends are always busy. Bottom line is, we just have to jump in and start fencing.

I don't mind challenging questions. Makes me decide what I believe and why. So fire away.
Godsgapeach
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  #97  
Old 01/27/09, 06:36 PM
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Indiana
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an interesting thought... Sometimes not doing something costs more than doing something..ie if you wait 3 years you loose what you could have made over those 3 years... but I also agree you HAVE to have a plan before you jump in. i don't think making any drastic changes is good but you can still make some money while gradually making changes
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  #98  
Old 01/27/09, 07:17 PM
 
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With 100 head on 100 acres he is bound to be bringing in feed sometime throughout the year or he is feeding/finishing only part of the year. Where is he making his money? Did he make any references as to being a low cost producer? I doubt that he spoke specifics regarding his cost basis in his cattle. Did the specialist discuss the frame size of his cattle and what is he selling, grass or grass and grain fed? I probably told you I have a registered Murray Grey bull but I have not gotten any calves from him. I have some crossbred MG and Angus that I do like but I do not like giving up the premium for black as the mixed calves are predominantly brown to gray. Recall, I told you that you do not have to have the end post braced if you drive them in when doing the partition fences. Two people can easily do 20 acres of partition fence is less than a day. I like my fences with the posts vertical and the lines straight. Start the post driving out of view and get some experience and just install the ends of the straight runs, never fence in a curve, use segments of straight runs. Once you have the end posts in place pull the high tensile taut and use that wire to align the line posts. I recommend using the drilled PVC posts and a pipe post driver as it functions good and is fast. Do you need and pics of partition fence? As the other poster mentioned, keep the farm producing and if necessary hire some of the partition fences installed if necessary. As I told you, having a heifer to calve at 24 months of age cannot be overcome by a cow that doesn't calve that early. The same thing applies to losing a year of production with your herd. Tell me what I can do to get you going? PS....the PH is fine for now. With broiler litter you will not get the same results as from a layer house. However, litter of any kind is great in today's ridiculous fertilizer market.
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Last edited by agmantoo; 01/27/09 at 07:20 PM.
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  #99  
Old 01/27/09, 10:14 PM
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According to what the guy said, he's finishing them on grass but he does put them "up" for the winter and they get hay then. Actually he finishes on crab and Johnson grasses. (He doesn't like fescue or bermuda--that just made me laugh.) He didn't say specifically that he's a low cost producer, but his theory is "don't buy anything if you're not going to get ample return for it." How that translates into his production, I don't know. I didn't interrogate him ;->

I know it doesn't make any difference but he's a GLCI employee, former extension agent, former professor--I can't remember all his "credentials," but GLCI's a division of NRCS. All alphabet soup to me. Anyway, he made mention that many extension agents are just bureaucrats and that all their "recommendations" are based on AVERAGES--but how many of us are really "average." There's something unique about each farmer's situation. He also told us that grassfed actually means we're marketing grass--if it's not a great quality/nutritional value, then that will show in the beef we sell.

He recommended mid-size--1000-1200 pound, and had pics of one Angus bull and pics of the cuts of meat. It was a 13 month old, about 1000 pounds, dressed out at 478 pounds and graded Select Plus. And others of his herd are Gelbvieh/Red Angus cross.

Oh I forgot to mention, he also uses a notched pvc "gate" only he has some metal pipe on the bottom that's wrapped with hot wire so he can leave it and the cows don't knock it over. He can just lift off the pvc when he's moving them and stick it back in the other pipe when he's done.

I would love to have more pics of your fence, corners and such whenever you have time (no rush). As I told you I'm a very VISUAL learner and everything I get a photo of helps define what we're shooting for.

How wide is your lane? Are you talking hydraulic post driver? or manual? Wood corner posts? I know I have more questions, but that's enough for now...

Thanks as always!
Godsgapeach
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  #100  
Old 01/27/09, 10:39 PM
 
Join Date: May 2003
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The lanes are actually dual function, lane and paddock. The width is a multiple of the spreader width of a lime spreader or fertilizer truck which I need to verify is 60'. The largest width lane is two spreader trip widths and the narrow on is a single spreader trip width.
I am talking a hydraulic post driver for the corner posts and a hand held homemade driver for the small 3/4" pvc line posts.
When it stops raining I will collect some fence pics.
With the correct cattle the grade should go Choice on grass, this is done in Australia consistently.
Crab grass, Red River variety, is good hot weather feed but should be fed during the growing period. Johnson grass will not tolerate cold and has a short growing season and if you graze it heavily it will die out. IMO, it is unsightly in a good stand of uniform fescue. If I could get Bermuda that would persist I would plant some, it just plays out here. Ask you dad what grass has the longest growing season in your part of the world?
I consider myself a grass farmer that markets his product through meat. That we agree on. Frame 4 cattle or smaller are the correct size and we also agree there.
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Last edited by agmantoo; 01/27/09 at 10:49 PM.
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