Saturday, September 22, 2012

Bush hogging in the fall

So this is something we have to deal with at the goat ranch. My landlord loves to bush hog and generally does most of it in the fall. We have worked very hard to stockpile grass this year and it all gets bush hogged down. It's very frustrating. Such a waste.

Thursday, September 20, 2012


These pastures were mob grazed during the drought this summer. They've had a few small rains on them but the pastures are covered with at least an inch of dead, tromped forage...and underneath that litter is moist ground and worm castings. Pretty good regrowth all things considered.


This paddock was just mob grazed. Will be interesting to see how it comes back. you can see that the weeds (especially ragweed) are pretty heavy but the mob consumes them just like they consume any other forage as you can clearly see in the pics.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Mulch and more mulch...tromped forage

My ranch manager, Nathan, has done a fantastic job of mob grazing the 400 head of (formerly) open cows this summer. With virtually no rain fall, he was able to add at least 3 body condition scores on nearly every cow, and we still have the entire pasture across the road (180 acres) that we haven't even grazed yet this year. The mob did an exceptional job of tromping down the standing forage creating a 1"+ layer of mulch over the entire ranch. I pulled back some of the mulch to find tons of worm castings and, even though it hadn't rained in over a week, wet soil! The ponds are virtually dry, but the grass is simply exploding. I was blown away by how great the grass looked even though it has been record dry. Every drop of rain is being held in place by the the detriment of refilling the ponds! I always felt mob grazing would really pay the MOST dividends during a drought and I think I am being proved right.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Drought Effects

We got a few good rains at the goat ranch including about 1.5" from the hurricane. We had two other half inch rains and the place has really started to green up (more on that in the next post). I wanted to post these pics of the effects of this years drought on the ranch. I've never seen the ponds this low and we'll need some gully washers to get the kind of runoff needed to fill these ponds up. With the ranch so vibrant and green, it's easy to forget just how devastating this drought has been. Although we've carried more cows at the ranch than we ever have, it's clear this drought has had some serious impact. Interestingly, there is so much litter on the ground due to our mob grazing, that I don't think much water runs off, making it much more difficult to get the ponds full. I would estimate we have at least an inch of litter on top of the ground over virtually the entire ranch. More to come on this.

Friday, August 10, 2012

A little rain

So we got 2" about a week ago and another .7" a few days ago...I have no idea whether it is enough to grow any grass, but one advantage to mob grazing is that, done right, you leave a lot of litter on the ground to better hold whatever moisture does finally come down. We are still holding out hope that we can grow enough grass between now and the first week of September to keep the cows and stockers a little longer. The market is pretty depressed right now and if we can get to fall rains, we could see a healthy rebound.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Focus on Profit Per Acre

This is a great article. I have always focused on $$$$ per acre as a way to measure management. It's nice to see someone who agrees with me. Obviously it's impossible to compare this figure to other producers who may have much, much different acreage production, but you can use it as a measure of your own the numbers year to year to see how you are doing.