The beauty of having the cows in the front pasture is that they are right by the house and its like having them in my front yard. The downside is that moving the cows from the front pasture into the next pasture is the largest move we make. We have to move the cows from the far end of the front pasture all the way to the other side then through the barn paddock and into another pasture.
I am either getting smarter or luckier because this time we timed the move when the inmates were here. I also had Spork and the Princess to help me. With all that help, and a bit if strategic hot wire, everyone was moved without a hitch. In fact it went so well that I didn’t even get a picture.
The interns are getting better at this grazing thing than I am. They are making decisions I didn’t even look at yet and are keeping the paddock sizes right for the grass. Today John pointed out that the grass in the bottom of the upcoming weeks pasture is thinner than the grass at the top of the hill. I had noted that on the last rotation but hadn’t said anything. John picked it up and was already adjusting the upcoming paddocks for the individual conditions. Its great to see these guys getting everything down. It’s also great to see that individual attention is making a difference on the pasture.
While giving a tour to a 4H group this week, I was showing the soil conditions in our front pasture. Much like the other paddock which had completely different conditions, this pasture had about 1/2″ of dry organic material on top then about 3/4″ of topsoil. We have created almost all of that topsoil in one season utilizing nothing but grazing with no amendments. Pretty amazing.
The cows continue their march across the pasture directly in front of our house. The grass is thick and good looking although the cows are mowing it down as fast as they can. The front pasture is small so the cows can cover a paddock pretty quickly.
After 4 days gone, the cows have killed the last of the phosphorous and also the vitamin V4 in the mineral feeder. I used my last bag of V4 this morning and the phosphorous was done before I left. I have a large replenishment order that is supposed to be here this week. I don’t think they have hit their schedule yet so I don’t have my hopes up but maybe this time I will get lucky. The cows have gone through 250 lbs of phosphorous in 30 days. Obviously it’s the mineral they were lacking the most. I just have to keep them supplied and the balance should return to the farm. I keep telling myself that when the bill comes.
Yesterday the cows received an unexpected treat. Usually they are fenced out of the 6 acres of woods bordering our main pasture since the woods are a protected area. Per my agreement with Wake County soil and water I can “flash graze” protected areas for one day.
Yesterday when it was time to move the cows to the next paddock, I instead opened the gate to the woods. The cows ran in like kids getting out of school the last day before summer.
This morning it took Spork, the gator, myself, and the inmates to get everyone back to the pasture. Cows really enjoy being in the woods. No worries though. This weekend they will be in the pond flash grazing it so there is another treat coming.
Yesterday’s paddock on the right, todays on the left.
Today we had another cool start to the day, 54 degrees and sunny. The temps are to climb a bit this week but I am keeping the wood boiler going anyway since SWMBO likes having unlimited hot water. It means when its time to go to church the girls can fill the tub and Spork and I can both get showers and SWMBO can still take her normal scalding hot shower. I think I will have to do a post on the boiler to show how that works. I will put that on the list.
Back to cows. Everybody was up and ready this morning for fresh grass. They continue to graze well and the inmates have the paddocks sized very well for our current conditions. We added another bag of phosphorous to the mineral feeder as the cows continue to chow it down 10 to 1 over all the other minerals. I need to go back and look at my soil test results and see if the results can explain why I am so short on Phosphorous. Something else to add to the list. In case you are wondering, yes the list is long and no it’s never done.
Yesterday’s on the right, todays on the left. The grass continues to look good. Cool weather and rain should make the fescue jump now. We cut off the side pasture for winter grazing so we are back on this pasture weeks earlier than normal. Even with wide paddocks the grass is very grazed but with the fall flush starting I think we will be fine.
Today SWMBO was feeling under the weather and couldn’t get warm. I offered to share a little body heat and we ended up snuggling in the bed an extra 20 mins so I got a later start than normal. It was totally worth it. Especially when we got to see this effect from the sun rise. A clear line of golden light hitting the trees. I share these pics because they only last a few minutes. The rest of the day is the same day everyone else sees. Its these moments that make me glad I choose to have a farm rather than go to the gym. Can you compare sweating on an exercise machine with ear buds in trapped in a concrete box of a building vs saying hello to my animals and seeing sights like this? Nope.
So the mineral feeder was topped off today with silica and trace mineral TC. I put double the phosphorous in last time and it is GONE! I can’t believe how much phosphorous these cows are eating. Tomorrow I will have to add another 50 pounds, I didn’t even bring any with me this morning because they couldn’t possibly of needed some.
Not everything on the farm is sunrises and flowers, although for a cattle farmer, this is just a beautiful. This is a perfect poop. Not too runny, not too firm. Plenty of dry matter in the pat. This poop means the cows are getting what they need and are returning to the ground the nutrients it needs. The grass is looking good and we are getting good results.
The view this morning. Can you spot the cows?
Cool weather is coming. Although its going to be another 90 degree day today, lows in the 40s are coming this weekend.
The grass looks really good in the pasture where the cows are on the top of the hill. Its very thick with 0 signs of overgrazing. The paddocks are about 25 feet wide and the full length from the old fence line to the golf course.