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The Midwest Cattleman · August 11, 2022 · P4

                                         friend of mine who pioneered  Eastern          Gamagrass,      and a story doesn’t have a down-
                                         rotational grazing in this         even Reeds Canary grass  side, you need to be suspect.
                                         part of the country.  He was  where I’ve never planted any.   This system of grazing has
                                         doing it years before the uni- Paddocks with straight fes- plenty.  Every season is differ-
                                         versity adopted the NZ tech- cue and without any clovers  ent.   Adjustments have to be
                                         nology as their own idea.  In  are not very popular with the  made for both extremely wet
                                         fact, he couldn’t even get the  cows.    They  definitely  have  and dry periods.  If I need to
                                         forage ‘experts’ to even come  an ‘opinion’.   I have one area  be gone, these cows are not
                                         and look at his grazing sys- where the entire herd will  going to move themselves –
                                         tem, even though it was less  turn, come back to the gate,  someone has to do it.  Over the
                                         than twenty minutes from  and bawl all morning because  years, I’ve been gone for over
                                         the university campus.  I had  they don’t like it a bit.  Oh,  a  week,  but  it  always  takes
                                         a unique milestone I wanted  sure they will eat it if you  plenty of preparation and
         Before long, you can ex-        to share with him.  Mostly I  make them, but that’s the  planning.  Calves can be sick
      pect to see articles from our      just wanted to hear how he  only  way  they  will.    Moving  one day and dead the next so
                                                                            them from that field is always  daily observation is very im-
      forage specialists on stock-       was doing this summer.
                                            “Today, I just finished graz- easy – it’s their idea long be- portant.  Calves can get sep-
      piling forage.  It’s a proven      ing my last paddock of winter  fore  it’s  mine.  That pasture  arated from  dams across  an
      way to reduce winter feeding
      and retain quality forage for      stockpiled forage!”  I told him,  continues to get better with  electric fence.  They normal-
                                         “On August 1st.”  I knew he  the introduction of more le- ly  make  it  back  where  they
      winter grazing.  But here on
      our outfit, we stopped both of     would not only understand,  gumes.                                   need to be without missing a
                                                                              With the added stocking  meal, but not always.  Paying
      those completely about three       but also appreciate what that
      years ago.  Custom grazing         meant.   Stockpiling is not  density, cows eat ragweed and  attention to the small things
                                         only for the winter – it’s real- just about everything except  – can sometimes turn out to
      allows us to send cow-calf
      pairs home before we have          ly something to keep in mind  the  ‘nettles’  and  rose bush- be very important.  There is
                                         all year long.  Standing forage  es.  Those I ‘shred down’ after  also a downside to the diver-
      to worry about either, but we
      still end up stockpiling forage.    does lose quality as it ma- the animals are moved.  They  sity too – especially in areas
                                         tures, but with red clover and  first eat the clovers, the lespe- that were grazed when too
      No winter feeding, and no fro-
      zen waterers or breaking ice.      lespedeza in the mix, there is  deza, then the Johnsongrass  wet.  Weed seed that had been
                                         plenty of quality for cow-calf  – almost everything before  undisturbed is activated and
      It’s not for everyone, but as
      you get a little more mileage      pairs.                             the fescue.  Every morning  a whole host of weeds can
                                                                            they move to where they are  appear including barnyard
      on the odometer, it may look  Forage Diversity                        ‘belly-deep’ in forage and the  grass and cocklebur.  I can
      more attractive.                      I’m seeing all kinds of spe-    next morning they are ready  deal  with  the  first  one  with
         On August first, I called a  cies this season.   Timothy,
                                                                            to do it again.                   a heavy stocking rate – it’s in
                                                                              Water is the limiting fac- the millet family and they like
                                                                            tor and shade.  I graze areas  it.  The second has to be dealt
                                                                            next to those first and then  with by mowing or spraying –
                                                                            move out from there.  Even  I prefer mowing - well before
                                                                            Brangus and Brahman cross  seed formation.
                                                                            cows will go to the shade and        After using this system
                                                                            why shouldn’t they?  They are  for three years now, there is
                                                                            filled up, watered and ready  no going back.  We’re in the
                                                                            to do so by 10:00. They got all  grass business and it’s our
                                                                            the good stuff (if they didn’t,  grass we’re selling, not some-
                                                                            they won’t get any today) and  one else’s.   I like to see the
                                                                            later on they go back to ‘com- cattle work and the forage
                                                                            pete’ for what’s left.  In some  rest.  That’s what makes our
                                                                            cases, I move twice a day, but  system work – grazing densi-
                                                                            that’s rare.                      ty, grazing pressure, and days
                                                                            Observation                       of rest.
                                                                                                                  If you are convinced that
                                                                              Moving cattle every morn-       rotational or controlled graz-
                                                                            ing (and sometimes evening        ing is not for you, then don’t
                                                                            as well) allows me to see         make the mistake of dividing
                                                                            every animal up close.  If        a pasture in half.  If you do,
                                                                            something needs attention - If    you  might  be  tempted  to  di-
                                                                            there is a bad eye, a bad foot,   vide it again and then even
                                                                            or a respiratory problem, that    again.  If you do, and you have
                                                                            animal is usually last and is     a water plan to make it work,
                                                                            also usually very easy to spot.   you’ll be hooked.  You’ll be a
                                                                            They normally stay last in        grazier.  You’ll never look at
                                                                            line several days – even after    a beautiful pasture the same
                                                                            they are treated.  When they      way again!
                                                                            are no longer lagging behind,
                                                                            you know they’re doing better. KwC
                                                                              Every coin has two sides.  If
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