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Strip Tease Grazing

December 3, 2010

As I mentioned before, the Management Intensive Grazing experiment continues. For the past two months I’ve been rationing out stockpiled plains bluestem to a herd of 50 cow/calf pairs. As I move into the final 40 acre pasture of this quarter section, this lunacy becomes visible from the main road, no doubt to the bemusement of friends and shame of family.
Coincidentally a natural gas pipeline cut through this pasture parallel to that road, and instead of letting the ground erode away before the grass regrew, I no-tilled a 50′ wide strip of winter wheat to hold the soil. Since my half acre paddocks run perpendicular to the road this puts a 50’x50′ square of lush green wheat at the top of the hill, and at the far end of the paddock. That’s the tease in my strip tease grazing, as I watch close to a hundred head of cattle fight each race each other to the top of the hill every other morning. It has the added benefit of cementing in their minds that if you play along, good things will happen.

They get two days on the paddock, with the wheat going down a few minutes into their release, and small bale of green alfalfa to supplement them on their second day. The cattle clean up the mature bluestem in two days, something I’ve never seen cattle do, even if they spend the winter on bluestem pasture. They’ll spend another couple of weeks here, before moving down the road to more stockpiled grass, hay grazer and an eventual date with the round bale feeder.

From → Beef

One Comment
  1. I like the way you are thinking here. Unless you are in an area where you get buried under several feet of snow, why go to the extra expense of making hay? Even if the forage is low quality and you have to use a protein supplement, it is still cheaper than $2 fuel and high priced equipment. It takes fewer man hours as well.

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