RicelandMeadows


Managed Grazing

cowgraze

June 7, 2016

We have had a strange spring, but it sure has made the grass grow. Today, I moved the cows into the horse pasture. The finicky horses are not the best grazers. The cows and then the sheep will help eat it down before we mow it. A good timely mowing will set back weeds and get the grass growing again.

I am amazed at just how much feed is made available this way. Seventeen “animal units” will graze this space and get all they want. An animal unit is measured as one adult cow. So, a draft horse equals 1.5 animal units. It takes five sheep to make up one animal unit. The rule of thumb is one acre of good pasture, per animal unit, per season. We are ahead of that curve thanks to good management, compost and rain.

Our stock is all in great shape after coming through a mild winter. The pastures have all been excellent. I even grazed around the buildings out back for a week, forcing the cows to clean up some grass and weeds they would usually turn their noses up at, but it helped me by lightening the workload. They ate it fine and look good for doing so.

I encourage the small or beginning farmer to mow his pastures. If that is the only thing that you can afford to do, it will help. It will make a giant difference! Your stock will appreciate it too. Even weeds are much easier eaten at the young, tender succulent stage. Mowing, is all part of good management and you , your stock and your farm will benefit from doing it.

cowhowdy



A Moo…ving Experience
Ka-boss, come along girls

Ka-boss, come along girls

July 1, 2015

As part of my rotational grazing method of raising livestock, I moo-ve my cows often 😮  I just need one gal to follow along and all the rest follow her. Now that we have been doing this a while, I say Ka-boss and they come running. They know that something good is about to happen! Even last years calves, still sucking moms, beat feet to the gate or new place that I am taking them.

My horse pasture is an area of almost six acres. I only have three draft horses on that paddock, so they can’t keep up with the grass, especially at this time of year. They also eat their favorite places down and leave other areas alone. I put the cows in there with them, just before mowing the pasture. The cows aren’t as picky. They eat the tall grass and anything else that grows pretty much. This makes great use of my forages, keeps all the grass growing well and rids the pasture of a few weeds in the process.

Having tame livestock is a plus, but once they know there is a reward for coming, even the surly ones follow the rest. The young stock go where mom goes. They stay together even grazing in a little herd. They go to the water at the same time and even rest together. The horses keep to themselves too. They don’t chase the cows, but definitely rule the pasture. They drink first. They come in first. and the cows move out of the way. I’m not sure how they learned this, but it goes on this way no matter which horses or cows that I have had over the years. I don’t question it any more. I’m just grateful it woks out so well.