Just thought someone might find this interesting

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Jogeephus
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Just thought someone might find this interesting

Postby Jogeephus » Wed Oct 04, 2017 7:10 pm

Lately I've been working some land that once was a fairly large cattle operation that operated differently than most cattle operations today. During the day this property which encompasses somewhere around 6000 acres was a fairly large cattle operation which primarily raised Herefords. This was rather unique because most operations managed this way run longhorn, coriente, pineywoods or cracker cattle and more recently brangus and braford. The land is dotted with small fields which are fenced to keep the cattle out during the growing season but when the crops were harvested the cattle would be turned loose in these fields to scrap up the any crop residue.

By today's standards these cattle would be viewed as poor performers but the focus wasn't on ADG but on minimal input. Very little thought or effort was put into improved pastures or overseeding with annuals and most everything the cattle ate was native forages. The judicious use of controlled burns was used to promote the growth of native grasses and legumes and impede the growth of woody brush.

Areas were cross fenced but these paddocks might be as large as 1000 acres. The stocking rate was kept to around 1 pair per 21 acres and people grew timber, worked turpentine and cattle simultaneously.

Here is a picture of one of the cross fences. As you can see it is only three strand. Typically perimeter fences got the five strand treatment. I don't know when this fence was put up but I know for a fact it was standing in 1965 and it looks to be in pretty good shape which I think is a testament for creosote posts.

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Here is a picture of what the understory looks like after being cowless for 30 years now. This is lower land with good soil moisture. On the hills these forages fade out and you have more bluestem and wiregrass. Wiregrass is high in fat and will lush up in the spring after burning and the cattle will really slick up after eating it. This was the best time to sell the calves but calves were usually sold just whenever people had time to mess with them or when they needed some money.

Image

There was an old saying that "the woods aren't good for cattle but the cattle are good for the woods". There is a lot of truth in this and this might come to a shock to the environmentalists who say cattle are bad for the environment. This is total BS because where this practice is used quail populations were bumping 4-5 birds and acre and flocks of turkey were plentiful. Basically for the quail hunters out there, five birds per acre equates to your seeing over 10 coveys per hour while hunting on horseback. Pretty exciting stuff and definitely shows that cattle can be a benefit to an ecosystem. Oh, and one other thing I can attest to, these quail are near about as crazy as the cattle when you go to try and work them. When the covey rises you know darn well they aren't pen raised.

Just thought I'd share a different method of raising cattle.
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Re: Just thought someone might find this interesting

Postby HDRider » Wed Oct 04, 2017 7:19 pm

Very interesting. I would have liked to see it while it had cows.
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Re: Just thought someone might find this interesting

Postby SmokinM » Wed Oct 04, 2017 7:22 pm

Good stuff Jo. You get into the coolest s--t!

Those pine trees look like they are doing ok in that management style also. They putting cattle back on it or just managing for wildlife now?
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Re: Just thought someone might find this interesting

Postby Bright Raven » Wed Oct 04, 2017 7:46 pm

It was a pleasure to read that. Thanks for the effort to post that. The insight you provided on a time gone with the wind was value added!!!
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Re: Just thought someone might find this interesting

Postby BrangusUSA » Wed Oct 04, 2017 7:52 pm

Wow! Thanks for the pics with post!
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Re: Just thought someone might find this interesting

Postby Jogeephus » Wed Oct 04, 2017 8:16 pm

SmokinM wrote:Good stuff Jo. You get into the coolest s--t!

Those pine trees look like they are doing ok in that management style also. They putting cattle back on it or just managing for wildlife now?


They are just smoking it over but there are three people involved so they will have to put it to a vote so who knows. I know one of them would love to get back into cattle but the other two I'm not sure.

I'm involved with two operations doing it this way and we are looking at doing it on a third property. Here we are doing a few experiments first but the experiments are turning out good so I think we'll probably be putting up some fence before long.

More people are leaning this way. One family south of me have gotten into it on a large scale and I think they have a few thousand acres under fence now and looking at adding more. I'm told they are using longhorns.
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Re: Just thought someone might find this interesting

Postby Jogeephus » Wed Oct 04, 2017 8:16 pm

SmokinM wrote:Good stuff Jo. You get into the coolest s--t!

Those pine trees look like they are doing ok in that management style also. They putting cattle back on it or just managing for wildlife now?


They are just smoking it over but there are three people involved so they will have to put it to a vote so who knows. I know one of them would love to get back into cattle but the other two I'm not sure.

I'm involved with two operations doing it this way and we are looking at doing it on a third property. Here we are doing a few experiments first but the experiments are turning out good so I think we'll probably be putting up some fence before long.

More people are leaning this way. One family south of me have gotten into it on a large scale and I think they have a few thousand acres under fence now and looking at adding more. I'm told they are using longhorns.
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Re: Just thought someone might find this interesting

Postby Jogeephus » Wed Oct 04, 2017 8:37 pm

HDRider wrote:Very interesting. I would have liked to see it while it had cows.


I'll try and remember post some pictures of some I running in the woods. I do a mixed pasture woods grazing thing and winter and spring are when they seem to like the woods over pasture but the woods are getting better each year it seems. My land was neglected when I got it and was covered in brush and trash species. What an environmentalist might call diversity. :roll: The more I push the cattle in the woods the more the understory is transforming back to the prairie nature intended it to be.
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Re: Just thought someone might find this interesting

Postby coachg » Wed Oct 04, 2017 9:06 pm

This is how my grandfather raised cattle in Southwest Al. near Atmore. He didn't own the land , a large paper company did ,but he ran his cattle in pine woods for years.Most of his cows probably didn't weigh 750-850 at their best, but all raised a calf.
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Re: Just thought someone might find this interesting

Postby ohiosteve » Wed Oct 04, 2017 9:34 pm

Great post. I've always believed cattle in the woods can be a win/win situation. Just a wild guess but I'm guessing not a lick of minerals was fed to those cows but they did just fine. I do this on a much much smaller scale with close to zero inputs and have been selling steers that were bred and born on my place that I only touched one time and that was to pull their testicles out. People actually pay a premium for those steers nowadays.
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Re: Just thought someone might find this interesting

Postby dieselbeef » Thu Oct 05, 2017 7:01 am

old timers down here still do it like that...cpl of my neighbors only see their cows a cpl times a yr
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Re: Just thought someone might find this interesting

Postby RanchMan90 » Thu Oct 05, 2017 7:05 am

Makes you wonder if we have actually progressed since then as far as profitability and labor efficiency?
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Re: Just thought someone might find this interesting

Postby True Grit Farms » Thu Oct 05, 2017 8:08 am

RanchMan90 wrote:Makes you wonder if we have actually progressed since then as far as profitability and labor efficiency?


Land is to expensive to only run a pair to 20+ acres. Managed long leaf pine trees should generate $100 per year, per acre over a 25 year period. Cows need to do better.
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Re: Just thought someone might find this interesting

Postby Jogeephus » Thu Oct 05, 2017 9:11 am

True Grit Farms wrote:
RanchMan90 wrote:Makes you wonder if we have actually progressed since then as far as profitability and labor efficiency?


Land is to expensive to only run a pair to 20+ acres. Managed long leaf pine trees should generate $100 per year, per acre over a 25 year period. Cows need to do better.


Why wouldn't you want $130/acre then?
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Re: Just thought someone might find this interesting

Postby chevytaHOE5674 » Thu Oct 05, 2017 2:16 pm

Jogeephus wrote:"the woods aren't good for cattle but the cattle are good for the woods". There is a lot of truth in this


As a schooled forester I will say that all depends on the soil type and tree species growing. Well drained ground with appropriate species (IE sandy soils with generally pine) that is true, lesser drained soils typically with more hardwood species it is the opposite of the truth.

I have a lot of woods fenced for pasture and all of it is our typical clay to clay/loam soil with hardwood species growing (maple, birch, ash, oak, aspen, etc). Within 3 years of fencing in the woods and turning cattle loose I have crown die back in 60% of the trees and mortality in 10%, this can be attributed to the compaction and root disturbance. Go 15 feet onto the neighbors land which sits untouched and there is no meaningful crown die back.
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