Pasture Maintenance

Discuss grasses and how to grow and harvest them.
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Re: Pasture Maintenance

Postby Stocker Steve » Wed Sep 13, 2017 4:11 pm

NonTypicalCPA wrote:I'm curious what others are doing on an annual basis for maintaining their pasture soils.


Cows, plants, and plants eaten by cows feed the soil economically.
Chemical inputs "work" but they don't usually pencil out for beef cows. Stockers and dairy are somewhat different.
Most beef producers need to increase the rest period, the stocking density, and the forage residual to make a big improvement in their soils and their stands.
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True Grit Farms
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Re: Pasture Maintenance

Postby True Grit Farms » Wed Sep 13, 2017 4:24 pm

The best pasture management tool is having someone else buy you seed and fertilizer. I have some hunters coming up for 4 days on November 1st. and their fees will pay for all the seed and fertilizer for the whole year on all my pastures and hay fields. There's a lot of different ways to keep your overhead down, and make money in the cow business.
I don't know anyone that doesn't feed hay in the winter around here.
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Re: Pasture Maintenance

Postby 1982vett » Wed Sep 13, 2017 8:47 pm

True Grit Farms wrote:The best pasture management tool is having someone else buy you seed and fertilizer. I have some hunters coming up for 4 days on November 1st. and their fees will pay for all the seed and fertilizer for the whole year on all my pastures and hay fields. There's a lot of different ways to keep your overhead down, and make money in the cow business.
I don't know anyone that doesn't feed hay in the winter around here.

If you had an oil well which produced enough where your share was a barrel a day ... that would be pretty good too..... :D

I haven't gotten away with not feeding hay in the winter but I have reduced dependency on hay whole lot.
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Re: Pasture Maintenance

Postby True Grit Farms » Thu Sep 14, 2017 3:07 am

1982vett wrote:
True Grit Farms wrote:The best pasture management tool is having someone else buy you seed and fertilizer. I have some hunters coming up for 4 days on November 1st. and their fees will pay for all the seed and fertilizer for the whole year on all my pastures and hay fields. There's a lot of different ways to keep your overhead down, and make money in the cow business.
I don't know anyone that doesn't feed hay in the winter around here.

If you had an oil well which produced enough where your share was a barrel a day ... that would be pretty good too..... :D

I haven't gotten away with not feeding hay in the winter but I have reduced dependency on hay whole lot.


No oil wells here yet, but while I'm wishing.... If it would rain about a 1" a week 52 times a year I could double my stocking rate.
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Re: Pasture Maintenance

Postby Highpoint » Thu Sep 14, 2017 6:25 am

Well a real newby here but trying out a different approach. Spot sprayed for brush then in May we began spraying fulvic with microbes. The microbes were provided with product and we grew them in 5 gallons of water with brown sugar for a week. After first spray there was a big difference in height of new grass. We had good rain then short drought. They normally put 1 cow to 10 acres here and even though we had 8 cows and a bull on 60 acres we mowed tops so grass could get sun. We also used as test for flies because flies are horrible in this area. The cattle across the road had to be sprayed every three days where these could go seven to ten days. They used a different spray however. I used mineral oil cedar wood oil and fulvic. The goal is high brix level which does not go by fertilizer numbers. So we shall see.
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Re: Pasture Maintenance

Postby ClinchValley » Thu Sep 14, 2017 7:48 am

Highpoint wrote:Well a real newby here but trying out a different approach. Spot sprayed for brush then in May we began spraying fulvic with microbes. The microbes were provided with product and we grew them in 5 gallons of water with brown sugar for a week. After first spray there was a big difference in height of new grass. We had good rain then short drought. They normally put 1 cow to 10 acres here and even though we had 8 cows and a bull on 60 acres we mowed tops so grass could get sun. We also used as test for flies because flies are horrible in this area. The cattle across the road had to be sprayed every three days where these could go seven to ten days. They used a different spray however. I used mineral oil cedar wood oil and fulvic. The goal is high brix level which does not go by fertilizer numbers. So we shall see.


Interesting.

Was this expensive?
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Re: Pasture Maintenance

Postby NonTypicalCPA » Thu Sep 14, 2017 3:28 pm

Great answers everyone, thanks! I will pull a soil test and see where I stand. Sounds like every two or three years review isn't out of the ordinary. I plan on hitting the pastures in the spring with 2-4d to kill off the weeds. Hopefully the clovers will survive.
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Re: Pasture Maintenance

Postby M.Magis » Thu Sep 14, 2017 5:36 pm

I've never had 2,4D kill established clover even when I try. It'll slow it down a while, but never seems to kill it.
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Re: Pasture Maintenance

Postby Highpoint » Sun Sep 17, 2017 8:57 am

The army worms have moved into north central Oklahoma and ranchers who have never in 40 years are losing entire fields of wheat and brome. One rancher has planted three times. Farmers too. The stuff I am testing goes by brix levels not ph and when high enough is suppose to handle them. I did see where it worked in Colorado however we shall see.
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Re: Pasture Maintenance

Postby Jogeephus » Sun Sep 17, 2017 3:39 pm

1982vett wrote:I haven't soil tested in some time now. Probably before 2010 or so.

Why? Cost vs reward from the info gained.....economics.

The information gain would be used to grow vegetation to be consumed by amimals or be cut for hay to be fed to animals with any surplus hay to be sold. Dang, the thought of all that work makes me tired.

I can look out over my pastures that I used to manage heavily for hay purposes and pastures I tried to keep just one more animal on. What was the payout on that.....for the work involved....?

Well, I carried 30% more cows. Baled 110 to 140 acres of hay. Spent a lot of time on a tractor burning fuel and working on equipment. Spent time watching the weather looking for the right time to throw thousands of dollars worth of fertilizer out or find the perfect time to cut and bale the hay it was put on. Then came moving the hay to storage or making arrangements for someone to come get it....but couldn't come because the were going on vacation.

Think about the end game a bit. Are you better off doing all these things? Is what you end up getting paid to do these things actually worth the time, extra work, and monetary risk?

Let's take some east round numbers.

Say your able to run 100 cows under this senecio. Consensus seems to be $450 to $500 yearly carrying cost per cow. Average that to $47500. Let's even give you 100 525 lb calves to sell today and your going to get $1.50 a pound commission free.....$78750.00........ yea! I made $31000......oops. I forgot about the 100 rolls of hay sold at $10 over cost. Or a lot less......$32000...... whoop

But what if you could carry 70 cows and forget about the hay. Never mind, I don't need 18 tons of fertilizer. Major equipment problem is the batteries in the tractors because it hasn't been cranked in a month. Instead of using 900 gallons of tractor fuel a year you can get by on less than 300.

55,125 - 32,250 = 21,875. But your work load went from about 1560 hours to about 520 or less.

Think about that for a bit....


I can relate to this. I take nothing from my pastures therefore I put nothing in them. I will pull a soil test every 5-8 years whether it needs it or not and will add any necessary nutrients but this is rarely very much. Lime would be the main thing and even that isn't much because I don't take from it nor do I add chemicals that will effect the pH.

If I were running stockers it would be a different story but for a cow/calf operation I don't see the need nor the economics of doing anything more. I've also noticed that by not pushing the stocking I have little to no health issues with the cattle. A while back I did have one develop a limp and she limped around for about two weeks and then she went to walking without a limp. Wonder what that was all about? I guess I could have called the vet. :oops:
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Re: Pasture Maintenance

Postby Stocker Steve » Sun Sep 17, 2017 10:44 pm

Cattle do excrete most, but not all, of the nutrients they consume.
The issue is be nice and urine concentrates by water points, shade, gates...
So there often is an issue with nutrient uniformity after the cattle relocate it.
Few people have ever grid tested pasture soil so they don't realize this.
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Re: Pasture Maintenance

Postby Supa Dexta » Mon Sep 18, 2017 5:21 am

Take nothing from a pasture??? If there's an animal living on it, its taking from it. A cows maintenance energy has to come from grass, that grass has to come from somewhere. Add growing animals, and those pounds comes from something - and the grass has to take it from the soil.

You take a jug of water into the desert with you, you drink only what you need and p1ss back into the jug. It may take a while, but eventually you're gonna be out of p1ss, let alone water.
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Re: Pasture Maintenance

Postby ddd75 » Mon Sep 18, 2017 6:15 am

i just throw seed on the ground

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Stocker Steve
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Re: Pasture Maintenance

Postby Stocker Steve » Mon Sep 18, 2017 11:59 am

For pasture:
It is always economical to cross fence.
It is often economical to lime and inter seed legumes for N fixing.
P and K are hard to justify unless you bale graze with inexpensive hay.
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Re: Pasture Maintenance

Postby Highpoint » Tue Sep 19, 2017 9:59 pm

ClinchValley wrote:
Highpoint wrote:Well a real newby here but trying out a different approach. Spot sprayed for brush then in May we began spraying fulvic with microbes. The microbes were provided with product and we grew them in 5 gallons of water with brown sugar for a week. After first spray there was a big difference in height of new grass. We had good rain then short drought. They normally put 1 cow to 10 acres here and even though we had 8 cows and a bull on 60 acres we mowed tops so grass could get sun. We also used as test for flies because flies are horrible in this area. The cattle across the road had to be sprayed every three days where these could go seven to ten days. They used a different spray however. I used mineral oil cedar wood oil and fulvic. The goal is high brix level which does not go by fertilizer numbers. So we shall see.


Interesting.

Was this expensive?



Well I have now sprayed twice, May and September and it has cost 1500. The first spraying I put 1 oz per gallon and second spraying 2. I also ran down the road and sprayed 30 acres of another pasture 1 spraying to test on better land that had been burned and weeds sprayed. It is 160 acres total. Cannot tell much difference yet on that one. I however have studied health in humans for 12 years and have never seen anything like it in my life. I am doing a simple online report at highpointcompany.com but really should do one on what we tested on family. I knew from study that people were drinking. Years ago I watched backtoedenfilm.com and thought then if they ever figure out how to liquefy trees it would change agriculture and that is what this stuff is. Wish I could tell more - one thing I did forget was after the last real dry spell all the cracks that normally form on ground not covered with grass are gone. We have heavy clay soil.
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