Sunday, July 25, 2010

Wet July

Well we've had an unbelievably wet July with a couple of rains in excess of 2 inches and one in excess of 3. The weather has been very hot with heat indexes in excess of 100 on multiple successive days. At this point, 10 acre paddocks in the Stocker Pasture are handling the mob nicely....600 cows and I'm guessing around 500 calves equates to a total mob weight of around 800,000 a density of 80,000 lbs per acre. We will be working these cattle the first week of August and culling anything without a calf and early weaning around 150 of the heifers' calves. So the mob will get significantly smaller in a few weeks.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Stockman Grass Farmer

I truly enjoy reading the Stockman Grass Farmer, but a recent statement found in the current issue is part of the reason behind my starting this blog. In response to a reader (seeking to move to mob grazing) asking about weaning calves, SGF states "Weaning is done by putting the calves and cows on opposite sides of an electric fence where they can still see and call to each other. After about four days, the weaning is complete with no stress or sickness." Really? So it's just that easy? We fenceline wean during the right sign of the moon utilizing a very good woven wire fence with a standoff electric fence and we still get calves that end up back with their mommas. This advice very much reminds me of the advice I got from mob grazing proponents when I was having scour issues. "Feed zinc sulfate and zinc oxide free choice and scours will go to zero." Well, no they won't. I'm very much a proponent of mob grazing, but the information out there makes it sound much easier than it is.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Low Cost Producer

While being a "low cost producer" is an admirable goal, it's really pretty irrelevant. I would suggest that we all strive to be the "high profit producer". If I can spend $1 and get back $1.10, I'll do it. Concentrate on maximizing your returns, not simply reducing costs.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Seed Cutting

Fescue seed is selling for around 20 cents this year which isn't great. I jumped at the chance to get mine harvested and get the seed heads off the fescue. I'm guessing we cut around 400 acres, would like to have cut 700 or so but the seed just wasn't heavy enough in some of the pastures. All told, we netted $6600 on seed this year...$6600 more than we would have gotten had we not mob grazed.

It's hot and dry this summer. We've had a few .25 inch rains but that's about it. Each system that's come thru seems to dump a few inches to the north and south of us but we just can't seem to hit it. I guess it could be worse. It's interesting to look at the regrowth on paddocks we've moved thru. In the spring, after a week the grass has popped back up and looks green and healthy. Now, it's brown and ugly and I'm left wondering if it will actually regrow or just die. I'm glad each paddock will get 5-6 months of rest before we graze it again....they may need it.