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Advice on getting Started with Cattle

Discussion in 'Everything Else Cattle' started by CntryBoy777, Apr 16, 2017.

  1. May 13, 2017
    farmerjan

    farmerjan Loving the herd life

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    If you are thinking about divisions, look seriously at using electric fencing as temporary division fences to get it split up. Easy to put up, if the fence is hot then the cattle learn quickly to respect it, and you can move it if the original splits aren't the best for the land.

    First off, get soil samples done on the land. You can do that now. Then with the recommendations you can do the fertilizing. The biggest thing is lime if it calls for it. Fertilizer will do you next to no good if the land is very low or high on the ph charts. If it is sandy I think it will need lime, since you mentioned cactus. It will also take a little longer for the lime to "do its magic" and will benefit the soil longer than a quick application of fertilizer. Cleaning up the unwanted brush and such will always help to improve but make sure you leave a few patches of trees for shade in the summer.

    Get with whatever county agent in the area for help. That's what they are getting paid for. They can head you in the right direction for soil samples, and by all means also keep reading. Try to find if they have any seminars coming up. Most are free or a nominal charge if they include a lunch or dinner. It might seem like you are out of your depth, but you will pick up something each time. There are beginner grazing conferences here every year. See if you have a Forage and Grasslands group in your area. They love to get converts to grazing practices. Again, we have a fairly active group here in Va and we go to different things all the time. Also try, Stockman Grass Farmers, and Grazier magazines. Both can be found on the internet, and often at Tractor Supply Stores.
     
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  2. May 13, 2017
    Reindeermama

    Reindeermama Ridin' The Range

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    Thank you for the advice. It really helps point me in the right direction. I can't wait to get started with your suggestions.

    The soil is sandy loam. I will take a sample. We will keep the large oak trees for shade, it is the 3 or 4 foot tall ones we were going to get rid of. The cactus has all grown up just along the fence lines. My husband says we need to tighten the wire fences, that they weren't pulled tight enough.

    The other people never fertilized, and I personally think for the conditions they carried too many AU on 27 acres. It is dry and crunchy now. My term for no rain, and not much grass.

    We are leasing out our pastures now, and I think they will need to start getting rid of some cattle now. There are 10 AU. There is 6 acres of brush, trees, and a creek in this 30 acres. There is one 20 acre with the 6 acres of brush, and one 7 acre pasture. There are 8 AU on the 20 acre, 4 mommas with calves, 3 pregnant, and 1 bull. On the 7 acre they have 2 young heifers too young to bred.

    When we get ours, we only want a herd of about five. My reasoning is that I don't want to overgraze the land. It is in a dry area of the state(Texas).
     
  3. May 13, 2017
    farmerjan

    farmerjan Loving the herd life

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    Your extension county agents can help but you will be taking several samples from different areas of the pastures. If they are already fenced in separate sections then do each section separately. You need to get at least 3-5 samples from each section, mix together in a bucket then take a mixed sample to send in. If the conditions change alot from one area to another then test each area separately. No sense in putting fertilizer or lime out if it is not needed in an area.

    There are several Texas farmers on here: @greybeard is one with cattle. Maybe he can help you more from a local perspective. (meaning texas)

    If you are talking only 5 head of Dexters then you may be under untilizing the pastures which is okay except that you might have to mow or do something different to keep down the unwanted weed growth. Mature dexters will only be 1/2 to 2/3 the size of the cattle I see in the pictures. But again, I am not familiar with the dry land conditions you have there.
     
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  4. May 13, 2017
    farmerjan

    farmerjan Loving the herd life

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    So, @CntryBoy777 did you get your soil sample results back yet?
     
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  5. May 13, 2017
    Reindeermama

    Reindeermama Ridin' The Range

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    Thanks, all of that helps so much. I didn't know that about the soil samples. I just didn't want to overgraze. The pasture is in bad shape right now. There are bare patches and not a lot of grasses. They never used the other pasture. It has over knee high grass, and there are only the two heifers on it. I would like more Dexter, but I was concerned about using the land correctly. Right now that one pasture is so bad they are having to feed range cubes and hay.

    I haven't done soil samples yet, but was going to take them on Monday. I am glad I know how to do them correctly now.

    My husband grew up with his Granddad ranching. He just says they have overgrazed the one pasture by never switching between them. We are trying to correct the fencing, do something about the pastures, barns, and do a corral and loading chute. My only experience with cattle is spending summers with my grandma who worked as a housekeeper for a rancher. So I am trying to do serious reading, and learn all I can.
     
  6. May 13, 2017
    Mike CHS

    Mike CHS Herd Master

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    You can do soil samples yourself but we use the CO-OP. They come out and do it free in the hope that you will use their service for lime and/or fertilizer. At least here we can order the product we need and rent their equipment to spread it. It's pretty economical that way in bulk form.
     
  7. May 14, 2017
    CntryBoy777

    CntryBoy777 Herd Master

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    I haven't gotten them yet, but have started looking for them. I was totally unaware of there being any "Action" on the thread, so a big apology to all of ya....not that ya needed my input or approval. It is about all of us Learning anyway.
    I've been busy trying to finish up some projects, so I can focus on this project after the results are received.
     
  8. May 25, 2017
    WildRoseBeef

    WildRoseBeef Range nerd & bovine enthusiast

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    Hi @Reindeermama I'm quite late in getting on this thread but I just had a few things to mention that might be of some use to you.

    First of all, about the animal units. Do you know how big these animals are, as in their weights? Ten AU is typically going to be 10 animals all weighing around 1000 lb a piece (as a standard AU). If my guesses are right in that most of the cows on there are closer to 1400 lb or more, and the bull is around 2000 lb or more, plus calves may be (?) 200 lb a piece, that means that you may have closer to 13 AUEs (or higher if the cows are more than 1400 lbs) on that property, not 10 AU.

    Do you know what your stocking rate is? If it's really low, getting rid of some animals may help, but coming up with a grazing system that is going to force those animals into a group to be grazed in different parts of the pasture while allowing the rest of the area needed rest to recover some will also help immensely.

    With overgrazing, you're dealing with a function of time, not too many animals. You can have a large number of animals on the landscape, but what's crucial is how long to graze and how long to let that area rest. It's best if you can graze for a short period of time and rest for longer. And yes, I agree you have a serious issue of overgrazing there.

    Now, there's going to be the challenge with the forage that's there. You may need to reseed the area, especially since you mention there are bare patches that need to be filled in. Part of it is going to be fertility, but the other part is the improved grazing practices that will encourage the grasses to get deeper roots and to spread out more. That's where I need to stop yapping and hope that you can find some good mentors and advice to help you make the right decisions for your land.

    One more thing: Some other publications that come to mind are OnPasture and books by folks like Joel Salatin (Salad Bar Beef) and Jim Gerrish (Kick The Hay Habit). I've met the latter and he's an excellent source for understanding grazing principles and practices that involve the "rotational" grazing system, but more specifically, management-intensive grazing.

    Good luck, and happy pasture improvements!
     
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  9. May 25, 2017
    CntryBoy777

    CntryBoy777 Herd Master

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    Thus is the 3rd wk, so I've been anxiously checking the mail each day hoping for the results....but, nothing yet. I'd sure like to find out so I can take advantage of this growing season in improving the soil for the grasses. I will let ya know when I do get them.
     
  10. May 30, 2017
    CntryBoy777

    CntryBoy777 Herd Master

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    I went to the mailbox today and got the results back. I was quite surprised and pleased. I can understand a small amount on the sheets, but most is foreign to me....here they are.... IMAG2358.jpg IMAG2359.jpg IMAG2360.jpg IMAG2361.jpg IMAG2362.jpg ....the only field that lime is recommended for is field#1. It is field#3 that was planned on for the steers. I'm a bit confused on the fertilizer recommendations and was wondering if someone could help me to understand it better.