Thursday, May 10, 2012
I have made several observations the past few weeks while walking thru the Goat Ranch. We fertilized with one ton of chicken litter over about 1200 acres late last fall. We didn't get any rain on it at all so got no grass growth last year. A few of our pasures look better than they ever have. The North Rock Barn pasture and the Rock Barn pasture have more grass this year than they've ever had. The Cabin pasture and the South Center have decent grass but have been better. The Stocker pasture (was grazed late and hard and didn't get any litter) looks worse than it has in a few years. The stocker pasture has been mob grazed more than any pasture on the ranch and it's had grass so heavy you could barely walk thru it, but this year it's just not that great. My disappointment is that it appears that a person will need to mob graze continuously to get results each year...you can't quit mob grazing for a year and still have great grass. I also haven't seen much earth worm activity or castings. I am wondering if the severe drought may have hurt their population a bit. Looking back, I forgot how dry it got at the ranch and I'm thrilled that we didn't have to feed cows last winter. I should probably be very happy with the way the pastures look, but I'm not. I'm anxious to get our mob grazing program started back up! I think these young, thin open cows could be an ideal candidate to put into a mob and graze. We are just getting going, but already we see the cows stripping the oak sprouts bare and devouring the blackberry sprouts. I went back to areas where I knew we had big thickets of blackberrys and there are only a handful of young tender sprouts that I know will get eaten when we graze those areas. I'm starting to get excited and will keep you posted as to our results. I promise I will have some pictures in the very near future to share.