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I'm will be attempting mob grazing (intensive pasture management) shortly, inspired by Allan Savory, Greg Judy, Jim Elizondo (Living Web Farm Videos), Independent Farmstead (Living Web Farm videos). I have questions and will have more--for sure. I would appreciate any advice on my first questions below. Judy and Elizondo keep emphasizing the cattle should weigh less than 1,000 pounds.

1. If steers are larger than cows and would make up about one half of the herd, why do their herds all have the same size cattle? Do you cull the bulls? If so, why?

2. I'm in northeastern Ohio where summer heat is not an issue so that the Red Poll Judy used would probably not be best. They keep emphasizing that purchasing small, thrifty grazing genetics is one of the requirements to get into this. Where do I purchase such genetics? Could I just purchase a heritage breed? I'm thinking of Devon or Dexter. The Devons seems to be slightly too big? The Dexters seem too small? Any ideas on how I should go about purchasing starting cows?

I appreciate any help. BTW, Jim Elizondo's video series at Living Web Farm is an eye-opener but takes concentration to watch since he conveys so much information.

Mike
 

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Welcome to HT Mike.

I think the emphasis is on cows and bull size expecting it will produce the same size progeny.

I would suggest you pick a breed that best matches your market. How are you selling your cattle? Freezer beef, breed stock, sale barn, etc? Dexter is a very small breed.

I started by buying bred heifers, and have been happy I did so. I was advised against it by everyone, but I sometimes don't listen. I saw the bull, and I saw the cows. That told me what to expect from my heifers. I chose my bull, a registered Angus, very carefully, based on calving ease and weaning weight, which sometimes are inverse. Buy off the farm, not from a trader.

Good luck. There is a lot of info on HT. Take advantage of it. Some of it is old, so you have to look for it. Pay attention to anything agmantoo posted.
 

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Not for a while now.
Did you know he had an accident? I heard from him a few months after that. He said he was not doing very well. That was the last thing I heard.
 

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Did you know he had an accident? I heard from him a few months after that. He said he was not doing very well. That was the last thing I heard.
That's also the last thing I had heard.
I think it was about a year ago.

Hopefully he got better and just decided to not come back here.
I learned a lot of stuff from him.
 

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Controlled grazing can be accomplished with a mixed herd of anything. I did it with Beefmaster cross cattle (one bull, however many cows, and their calves) and with horses on different properties. Don't overthink it.
 
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Prior to a grazing tour on our little farm, one of the state grazing experts walked with me to look at the small paddocks that I MIG. He grinned when my cows wondered up to check us out. He said, "wow those are big cows." He just kept grinning waiting for me to ask what he was thinking.

Some of my cows were approaching 1,800 lbs. What he said in a nice way, was that from a business stand point, I could have 1,000 lb. cows, or one animal unit per cow, and still get as many calves on less lbs. of forage. I understood that. When you only have so much area and you are trying to maximize efficiency, with it makes sense.

I don't cull on one point, but if a cow becomes too big to go through my chute, that is one point against her. Several points makes her a cull choice.

I have Angus because my good friend, veterinarian and mentor has them, and my herd started from his. His animals produce club calves and are larger. I produce meaningful work, a few freezer beef and grazers. I enjoy both raising beef and pasture improvement. I'm slowly moving the top weights down.

Have fun mob grazing. It's fun to see cows waiting for you to move the wires.

All the best to our missing grazers.
 

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I love seeing mow cows go into fresh grass. They dance with delight.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I added rotational grazing as a tag. (That is the problem with computer text searches: sometimes you miss a writing because it uses different vocabulary to describe the same concept.) Agmantoo's posts were very helpful.

Maybe the thing to do is to buy local cows and cull over the years for what I need, picking likely starter cows to begin with?

Thanks,

Mike
 

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Yes! But please not at auction. Those are culls already.
 
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Mike, I read once that the quickest way to improve the herd is with the bull. He passes his genetics to his daughters. I like your idea of looking locally or in your area so you can see them.

You can also look at bull semen for the traits you feel that you want and will work for your resources. Trust your feelings.
 

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Welcome Mike.
We're in the same neighborhood...I'm in NW PA, and I'm largely running my beef operation in the manner you describe. I will caution you about a few items: I have gleaned very useful information over the years from Judy, Elizondo, Gerrish, Pharo, Dr. Allen Williams, Gabe Brown, Ray Archuleta, Salatin, Heather Thomas, Gearld Fry, etc.. While the principles of soil health and regeneration, desirable phenotypes for these types of operations and operating models at the most basic levels are completely valid, there are minor to major tweaks that need to be made in order to work in a temperate rain forest where winter snowfall levels can reach 400" and long, prolonged springs and early fall/winter make muddy wet conditions more of a problem than drought. Second, you will receive support here as well as sneers and jeers from conventional cattlemen as well as armchair experts. Agmantoo received his share of criticism here and elsewhere until his results spoke for themselves. Don't take ridicule personally...just consider the source and move on. Finally, it's critical to define what your goals are before making major decisions about just about everything...Cattle breed and frame size, degree to which you intensively graze, number of animal units to acre, etc., are all dependent on what you are trying to do. Direct marketing beef? Cow/calf producer? Seedstock producer? Feeder market?

Just a quick note about what I do...I have about 80 head of mostly percentage Lowline Angus (mostly 25-75% LL), mixed with mainline Angus or Devon. I currently run a Devon bull with a Devon/Angus clean-up bull. I direct market beef mostly locally, but I have customers from Michigan to D.C.. About 50% of my customers are grain finished beef customers and the other half are grass finished customers. Which pipeline (grass or grain finished) each finisher enters depends on feed conversion ability and body score as a yearling. I have two ranches that are about 5 miles apart where I separate the brood cows from the finishers. Depending on the time of year, pasture conditions and type of herd, my operation ranges from relaxed MIG (moved every 2-3 days) to mob grazing (up to 4 times/day).

Yes, frame size is critical to profitability, but so is body shape, and butterfat production and dozens of other criteria. Frame size 2-4 are ideal for me, but if I was selling to a commercial market that would be problematic. Most of my brood cows are 900-1000 lbs. There are plenty of old school mainline Angus genetics around (Wye comes to mind) that are small framed, thrifty and low maintenance, and I really like Devon for marbling on grass, hardiness, and calmness. I have a few Murray Grey that fit my system. Cull hard for the characteristics that are important. For me, these are: fertility, meat quality, calmness, low maintenance, buttermilk production, sound feet and udders, and longevity. Any cow that doesn't give me a calf every year is gone. Any calf that struggles to perform without outside extenuating circumstances is a one-way ticket for the calf and momma.

If I can be of any assistance, give me a holler.

I'm will be attempting mob grazing (intensive pasture management) shortly, inspired by Allan Savory, Greg Judy, Jim Elizondo (Living Web Farm Videos), Independent Farmstead (Living Web Farm videos). I have questions and will have more--for sure. I would appreciate any advice on my first questions below. Judy and Elizondo keep emphasizing the cattle should weigh less than 1,000 pounds.

1. If steers are larger than cows and would make up about one half of the herd, why do their herds all have the same size cattle? Do you cull the bulls? If so, why?

2. I'm in northeastern Ohio where summer heat is not an issue so that the Red Poll Judy used would probably not be best. They keep emphasizing that purchasing small, thrifty grazing genetics is one of the requirements to get into this. Where do I purchase such genetics? Could I just purchase a heritage breed? I'm thinking of Devon or Dexter. The Devons seems to be slightly too big? The Dexters seem too small? Any ideas on how I should go about purchasing starting cows?

I appreciate any help. BTW, Jim Elizondo's video series at Living Web Farm is an eye-opener but takes concentration to watch since he conveys so much information.

Mike
 

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Outstanding post!

Yes, about the bull. He is 50% of your herd genetics.
 
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