INFORMATION FARM WORKSHOPS: CONSIDERING A DIFFERENT APPROACH.

Bossroo

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I have 20 acres consisting of 6 different soil types meanding throughout. when we baught it 20 years ago, it was formally an arrid open range land of several thousand acres . I hired 3 D9s to make 16 acres level to grade ( excluding a creek and house site ), deep ripped it to 2 feet deep, disced , and planted pasture mix grasses and clovers. Annually, i spread manure produced from 105 tons of alfalfa hay and 8 tons of corn, wheat, and barley grains in addition to the pasture grass yealds. The pastures have doubled in the yield ( from ankle high to knee high ) for late Dec., Jan, Feb., March so about 3 1/2 months due to our annual rainfall. I increased the animal carrying capacity by 4 animal units, but still have to buy the same amount of feed for the year. Since we are surrounded by range lands that are not kept up and weed infested , we have an annual invasion of star and bull thisle, Johnson grass and tumble weeds to no end. There is NO way that I can keep up with hand pulling or hoeing even with using 10 migrant workers for 4 passes for 2 full days each time over the year to control these invaders. I have to spot spray with roundup to kill new weed growth a few weeks after the workers. My entire property is reseeded with these unwanted weeds by hoards of blackbird flocks numbering into the thousands every fall for 2 to 3 weeks straight before they fly elsewhere. Just a couple pleasures, head ackes and hard work you need to do in farming in a arrid high desert type environment.
 

greybeard

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I increased the animal carrying capacity by 4 animal units, but still have to buy the same amount of feed for the year. Since we are surrounded by range lands that are not kept up and weed infested , we have an annual invasion of star and bull thisle, Johnson grass and tumble weeds to no end.
Put some some cows on the JG..they think of it as candy and eat it the same way. Best and easiest way to keep JG from being able to produce prussic acid is to keep it eaten down to the ground and cattle will happily do that for ya.
JG reproduces and spreads mostly from rhizomes and keeping it eaten down will kill the rhizomes. Used to have lots of it here, but the cows got rid of it for me...they kept it eaten down to where it couldn't produce any seeds and any that came in from outside got eaten as soon as it sprouted up.
 

The Old Ram-Australia

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G'day BR,I guess you already tried Goats to manage the weed problem,not a breeding operation but buying 4/5 mo wethers and selling them om at 12 mo?.Once I have the Dorpers under control with the fencing its an option I am going to investigate..T.O.R.
 

babsbag

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Driven out" how, & by who exactly?
In CA it is often by "city folk" moving to the country that then complain about living next to an active farm. And when those newcomers to the country start holding political positions that allow them to influence the laws and ordinances the farmers and ranchers give up fighting the "law" and sell out. There is a right to farm law in many counties but that doesn't always offer them the protection they need.

Also, there is no Ag land tax exemption in CA.
 

Bossroo

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Put some some cows on the JG..they think of it as candy and eat it the same way. Best and easiest way to keep JG from being able to produce prussic acid is to keep it eaten down to the ground and cattle will happily do that for ya.
JG reproduces and spreads mostly from rhizomes and keeping it eaten down will kill the rhizomes. Used to have lots of it here, but the cows got rid of it for me...they kept it eaten down to where it couldn't produce any seeds and any that came in from outside got eaten as soon as it sprouted up.
We get hardly a drop of rain from late March to Dec. so all of the pasture grasses are brown and of little nutrition value . The only plants that are still green are the ones that need to be eliminated.Our next door neighbor has Texas longhorns that prefer to jump the fence between us often to get to my hay stack. I have too many other animals to feed to get any cattle to eat the areas down. And if i did, the longhorns would be on our land daily. Too much hastle. The only option is to spray those pesky plants.
G'day BR,I guess you already tried Goats to manage the weed problem,not a breeding operation but buying 4/5 mo wethers and selling them om at 12 mo?.Once I have the Dorpers under control with the fencing its an option I am going to investigate..T.O.R.
I thaught of that , however the larger breed goats are few and far between. Cost of transportation would be more than the purchase price. The dwarf types are a dime a dozen in numbers and their owners think that they are worth a wheelbarrow full of gold since they are pets but would be next to useless to me for the amount that they eat and would take forever to put a dent in the weeds.( think 4' -6' tall covering from a single plant to patches the size of city lot within just 2-3 weeks of growth ) Also, the goats are escape artists from experience and I do not relish rounding them up daily from the neighbors' gardens. Best option is to spray weedkiller.
 

greybeard

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I'm certainly not against using herbicides (I use lots of Remedy and Grazon) but hate to use any that kills anything that the cattle will readily eat.
JG hay is very common here and sought after.
Like lots of other forages, you just have to know how to manage it. It is high in protein too.

As far as nutritive value is concerned, johnsongrass is tough to beat. One study conducted at the Noble Research Institute from the summer of 1999 to the fall of 2001 showed that the quality, expressed as percent crude protein (% CP), and digestibility, expressed as percent total digestible nutrients (% TDN), of johnsongrass is as good as any of the forages tested (Figure 1). In this study, bermudagrass was neck and neck with johnsongrass in terms of % CP and % TDN. The bermudagrass was a managed stand and was fertilized with 50 to 100 pounds per acre of actual nitrogen. The johnsongrass was unfertilized and unmanaged.
 

babsbag

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larger breed goats are few and far between.
You can get dairy wethers and cull goats quite easily. Boers are easy to find too so what are you calling "larger breed" goats? As far as escaping I use no climb or sheep and goat fencing with one strand of hot wire at knee height for the goats and one at the top for dogs going over and out and vermin coming in. The only escaping goats are ones where I leave a gate open or my fencing fails due to error on my part...twice in 9 years.
 

Bossroo

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You can get dairy wethers and cull goats quite easily. Boers are easy to find too so what are you calling "larger breed" goats? As far as escaping I use no climb or sheep and goat fencing with one strand of hot wire at knee height for the goats and one at the top for dogs going over and out and vermin coming in. The only escaping goats are ones where I leave a gate open or my fencing fails due to error on my part...twice in 9 years.
In our area of Cal. , all you can see are miles upon miles of orchards, vineyards, row crops, beef and dairy cows, and horses. All that you can find in newspaper adds and feed store postings are for the mini goats as pets. Years ago, I did buy ( 75 miles away) a couple 5 month old Saanan/ Nubian weathers that turned out to be total excape artists. Since our ranch boarders a State Highway, risk of a law suit became too much of a risk, so I pit bbqed them at the first opportunity for a large internatioanl and local group as guests.
 

Bossroo

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I'm certainly not against using herbicides (I use lots of Remedy and Grazon) but hate to use any that kills anything that the cattle will readily eat.
JG hay is very common here and sought after.
Like lots of other forages, you just have to know how to manage it. It is high in protein too.

As far as nutritive value is concerned, johnsongrass is tough to beat. One study conducted at the Noble Research Institute from the summer of 1999 to the fall of 2001 showed that the quality, expressed as percent crude protein (% CP), and digestibility, expressed as percent total digestible nutrients (% TDN), of johnsongrass is as good as any of the forages tested (Figure 1). In this study, bermudagrass was neck and neck with johnsongrass in terms of % CP and % TDN. The bermudagrass was a managed stand and was fertilized with 50 to 100 pounds per acre of actual nitrogen. The johnsongrass was unfertilized and unmanaged.
Yes, Johson grass has good feed value, however in our neck of the woods where we have frost in late fall and winter in the mornings and hot dry weather in summer and fall ( 98* to 117* and very low humidity), the Johson grass will wilt and will kill cattle and horses from hydrogen cyanide . It will cause bloat and possible death due to high nitrates . It crowds out crops and prefered grasses. As such, It is in the top 10 unwanted weeds in the world. Any benefit is outwayed by the risks. Star and Bull thistle , tumbleweeds and mustard are the others that we are constantly fighting.
 

Reindeermama

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This has been a very interesting thread to read. We have decided to raise sheep on our 30 acres because our pastures need to be improved, and the weeds they are overgrown with, are enticing to sheep. Also, because we need our ag. exemption, and after running numbers over and over, sheep will bring the profit we need to keep the exemption. I do wish there were seminars that do address smaller acreage holders, say under 30 acres. They are suppose to have an online course about how to make the best of your small acreage in one of the counties near Dallas, but I have not been able to find it yet. I also found out there is a program that will help you with interior fencing for paddocks, and plumbing to bring water to your livestock. They will also pay a portion of drilling a water well for your livestock. The agent at the USDA told me about it.
 
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