Saturday, June 29, 2019

Pasture report

Much of my pasture looks like this, all churned up by cow hooves.
The Captain and I have an arrangement. I let him graze my pasture and he lets me borrow his heavy equipment.

Since he prefers to not loan out his equipment, that means he ends up doing those tasks for me.

For instance, he plows my driveway in the winter time.

The extraordinary rain we have been having have been tough on his cows and on my pasture.

Nearly all of the Captain's pasture is muck ground and growing Reed Canarygrass. It has been under 4" of water for most of June.

He could have run them out on his hay fields but he needs that hay.

After talking it over, I decided that the best choice was to let the cattle stay on my pasture until it was either totally nuked or the Captain had grazing available over at his place.

Occasional abuse of pasture is not necessarily a bad thing.

It exposes mineral dirt which is a good seed bed for clover, alfalfa and birdsfoot trefoil. There is a right way and a wrong way to do it. The right way is to put a large number of animal units on the paddock and have them eat it down fast and hard.

The wrong way to do it is to put a smaller number of animals on the paddock when the ground is soup and then leave them too long. The cows were on the pasture for a full month.

From the plant's point-of-view, anything over 10 days is a problem. The plant burns through reserves after it is grazed. It invests those reserves in pushing new leaves to capture sunlight. If the leaves are grazed too soon then the reserves will not be replenished and the deeper roots will slough of making the plant more vulnerable to drought.

At ten days, the blades of grass are tall enough that the cow can wrap her mouth around the fresh, new, tender-and-tasty blades of grass and rip them off the mother plant.

In addition to the over-grazing they churned the ground. Some graziers call that "pugging".

We played the cards we were dealt with the best of our ability.
There is still standing water in places. I am tempted to get some minnows to eat the mosquito larvae.

I hope to post picture of the pasture in two weeks, four weeks and eight weeks.

No comments:

Post a Comment