RicelandMeadows


Extending the Grazing Season

sorghumsudan2020

July 20, 2020

Our pastures would have run short because of the number of livestock we are currently keeping and our lack of rain. I planned ahead, just in case,  and I am glad that I did. I planted this field of sorghum sudan grass to be grazed as needed by the sheep and steers. I put a little rape seed in the mix to add some additional feed too.

I waited until the crop was 18 inches high at its lowest spot. I then turned the flock into it. They are enjoying this fast growing forage. The other pastures are getting a rest and some much needed moisture without any grazing pressure from the sheep. I left a grassy strip all the way around this old corn field. It too provides feed of different types, much to the enjoyment of the sheep.

I have two different pastures for the horses and a couple smaller paddocks that can be utilized when needed. This field of sorghum sudan grass will grow very well and suppress weeds while feeding the sheep. It will be mowed once, grazed again, then plowed for a fall planting of speltz.

I am looking at planting a small field of oats, peas and turnips for autumn grazing for the sheep. I have room for it alongside of the current corn crop. The sheep will be able to graze the corn fodder after the corn harvest. They will get the benefit of the oats and peas, corn fodder and some grass just before the cold weather sets in. The small field of oats and turnips will also give me the opportunity to see how well the new Suffolk horses know how to plow.

There is always stuff to do, but extending the grazing season must remain a top priority. Animals grazing on farm feeds and harvesting the crop themselves, saves time and money for the farmer. It aids in increasing profitability and makes good sense from a sustainability standpoint.



The Days Ahead

Bree5weeks

June 1, 2020

We are all preparing, watching and waiting for the days ahead. Unsettling times seem to surround us presently. Keep in mind that God is in control. This too shall pass. It will take patience, forgiveness and love. I am at a loss for words over the current unrest. The protests are valid, the rioting and destruction are a sad aftershock.  Covid-19 had us in its grip and now an old ugly wound has been scratched open again. We need healing. We need resolution and we need prayer.

Bree, our five week old baby horse, continues to grow and learn. Her training amounts to simple lessons, kept short and always ending on a high note. She will join her mom at work soon. She will walk along beside and learn all sorts of things.

carpenterbees

We were getting swarmed by wood boring carpenter bees. I hate to spray poison around.  My wife read somewhere that a paper bag hung up will mimic a hornet’s nest and keep the bees away. I humored her and hung up the bag. To my amazement, I haven’t seen even one bee since hanging it up! I don’t know if it is because of this bag or not, but I’m not taking it down!  (Thank you honey)

Yesterday, I hauled many loads of composted manure and applied it to last year’s corn field. Today, I worked up that field. I disced it up, then broadcast sorghum/Sudan grass and some rape seed. The seed will provide summer grazing for our sheep flock. The grass grows quickly and rank. The rape is a forage that the sheep love too. The combination can be grazed off and on all summer long. It is a warm season grass that winter kills. I will however, plow it down in very late summer. This field will be planted to speltz in very early autumn.

cowcandy2020

We rushed to beat tonight’s coming rain. I was pleased to get it in. Sam the border collie kept me company. Now we wait and watch for new growth in the days ahead.