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When to open up full pasture...

Discussion in 'Pasture, Hay, & Forages: Information & Management' started by L.rhodes, Oct 15, 2018.

  1. Oct 15, 2018
    L.rhodes

    L.rhodes Chillin' with the herd

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    Last edited: Oct 20, 2018
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  2. Oct 15, 2018
    Latestarter

    Latestarter Novice; "Practicing" Animal Husbandry Golden Herd Member

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    I know that @farmerjan and @Wehner Homestead both have cows that they rotate to various places... Perhaps they can answer or provide some insight... If you're willing, please share some pics. We all love to see other's animals and set ups. :)
     
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  3. Oct 15, 2018
    Baymule

    Baymule Herd Master

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    Where are you located? Does the ground freeze or turn to deep mud? If the ground is mud, every step makes pug marks and breaks up the grass. What kind of grass do you have? Can it take winter abuse and come back strong? How long does the snow last? Days, weeks or months? Are you going to seed more grass?
     
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  4. Oct 15, 2018
    greybeard

    greybeard Herd Master

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    Most of us rotate livestock to different pastures all year regardless of size of operation.


    Not enough information to offer any help since we don't know what kind of native forage you are growing, where you are on the planet, what condition your livestock is presently in, when your first hard frost occurs (it's different than first hard freeze) and what kind of seed you planted.
    At what stage growth is your planted grass in right now? (stage of growth..not in inches)
    What % of mature root establishment is it in?


    What it seems you are describing is wanting to 'stockpile' forage and not all forage will stockpile.
    Other forage, right after 1st frost is toxic to feed to cattle and other livestock.

    What, do you intend to feed during winter and do I understand that wasting hay is part of this 'plan'?
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2018
  5. Oct 15, 2018
    Wehner Homestead

    Wehner Homestead Herd Master

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    I’m currently learning about rotational grazing so I’ll share as I can.

    In the meantime, I live in Southern Indiana. Here we have an area that they tromp and all winter. This area becomes so rough and muddy that only weeds grow in it. For this reason, the cows aren’t allowed to have access to the whole area. We let everything green up before we let them out in the spring but we are careful to not let them get upset stomachs or eat the green to the dirt as it takes it longer to come back .(so graze for a few hours and back to winter pen for the first few weeks of green.)

    We have two local farmers that I know of that do rotational grazing by the book. Their practices are varied.

    The first has two cows on eight acres. He has it divided into 8 areas. They get each area for 7-10 days (5-7 when we are dry) then move to the next one. By the time they are ready to go back to the next one, it is grown up nicely for plenty of forage.

    The other has about 20 cows on 40 acres! He has 21 areas and they get one area each day. They eat it down quite a bit but it’s ready for them to take down again when time cycles back to that spot again.

    Both mentioned also have a winter pen by the barn. The one with just two cows doesn’t have as much issue with his barn pen getting tromped so he uses it as a shorter spurt in his rotation as needed.
     
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  6. Oct 16, 2018
    greybeard

    greybeard Herd Master

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    That will work and will help growth in future timeframes IF you (and the 2 cows) can stand the mud that is probably going to result in the interim.
    I prefer to feed on high solid ground, never traversing the same set of wheel tracks twice during wet periods and then, moving the leftovers/poop mixtures to areas of poor soil later...I move the rings each time I feed hay. The leftover stuff, I move with loader bucket or rake & the cattle will use it for bedding, poop all in it during the night and tromp it in as well and I don't have a quagmire around my hay rings or leading to them.
    Inasmuch as you only have 3 acres to work with, I would probably open all of it up as well, tho might be tempted to divide it in half or 3rds (at the most) and see if your cool season grasses won't stretch farther.
    I rotate my beefmaster herd around 3-4 pastures year round totaling about 20 acres, including Jan-March but I do not have snowfall to worry about.
    The Char herd, I usually leave gates open year round letting them on about 90 acres, and they wander around and eat wherever/whatever/whenever.
    I feed about 1000lbs of hay/month per adult cow in winter months. (or 1 round bale/cow/month if you are using round bales, and I assume you are)
    I do not feed hay spring thru fall.