First and foremost, growing grass and collecting produce are summer activities. And we have gotten pretty good at both. Although the work is hard, the bounty of food that flows from April to October allows us to have more food than we need every day for all of our animals. Knowing you can feed everyone all the time takes a huge weight off of a farmers shoulders. We don’t have a silo of corn to feed from should we run short. We have to produce food through our efforts and our farmers every day.
With the grass, we have a better and better product every time I look. Last year I was amazed and excited that we had built 3/4″ of topsoil in addition to our wildly improved grass. We were still suffering through weeds we didn’t want in the pasture but things were improving. This year we have built at least another 3/4″ of topsoil and our mowing program has made the weeds almost a non-event. The grass this year has been phenomenal, all the while allowing our stocking density to increase to levels we could not sustain with traditional methods.
When I learned about our grazing techniques, I was dismayed to learn that you shouldn’t expect truly representative results until the third year of the program. Next summer will be our third year. I can’t imagine things getting any better.
Normally this is the time we like to slow down, put the cows out for hay instead of grazing, and get into the shop to get some projects done.
However this year I am still wearing short sleeves, and I am so busy at work I don’t have time for my normal winter fun activities. Maybe by Thanksgiving things will settle down and I will be in a winter mood, but for now I’m looking at those white pastures with trepidation and longing for summer days.