"Improving Our Lot" - Planned Holistic Grazing, for starters..

som farmer

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
somerset
Waste is a good thing at times. I try to leave a little waste where it would benefit from it, and leave it nice and clean where it would benefit from the extra traffic and poop

most of the slopier parts I don't wipe too clean at this time of year because of low sun angle etc, and because those parts might get targeted in a springtime rain event or something, the extra litter is good then.
Kinda the joy of looking out the window at 320 paddocks where it used to be 12, we can try lots of stuff now (y)
farming evolves and changes constantly, and 30/40 years back, the latest 'trend' in dairy grazing systems, was to have 21 paddocks, and graze 1 a day, on a 21 day cycle, not hugely different to what we now do, it went 'out' of favour because it was inflexible, spent hours putting up the ht wire for them, then hours more, taking them down ! Pretty certain the next 'trend' was set stocked, 45 acres by night, and 40 by day, that died away, following some very foggy weather, and the time it took, to get them in. We then went back to big paddocks, and strip grazing, much as we do now. So going back to 'evolving' trends, we only had 21 paddocks to take down, so perhaps @Kiwi Pete he had better hope trends don't alter, as he would have 320 to take down !
Our cows are now out day and night, with only straw available as buffer, would prefer hay, but we aint got much, but having 'altered' our herd back to more friesian holstien, the cows seem perfectly happy grazing, and not just waiting at the gate, they start to move, when they hear us coming, a marked improvement to having to 'get' the xbreds in.
 

Kiwi Pete

Member
Livestock Farmer
I would have quartered 21 paddocks if they were all the same size and shape, I reckon. It wasn't going to work well with what we had in place, now glad (stoked in fact) that we just took it out, sold it off, and started over.
Our land is just too "straightforward" not to go straight across and back!

However we still won't be "done", what we intend to do is just keep a 20 metre tape with each mob so we can cut the 280 big cells in half, then they'll be 498m², same as the cow's system up the top.

It'll give us the option to double it again for very little cost or hassle, swing the tape through to the next fence, and put a pigtail by the handle.

Then there's always a drafting mechanism to hand (y)

I love the idea of setstocked dairy herds though 🤣 sounds like a recipe for more lorries carting in the gate, than milk going out..
 

som farmer

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
somerset
I would have quartered 21 paddocks if they were all the same size and shape, I reckon. It wasn't going to work well with what we had in place, now glad (stoked in fact) that we just took it out, sold it off, and started over.
Our land is just too "straightforward" not to go straight across and back!

However we still won't be "done", what we intend to do is just keep a 20 metre tape with each mob so we can cut the 280 big cells in half, then they'll be 498m², same as the cow's system up the top.

It'll give us the option to double it again for very little cost or hassle, swing the tape through to the next fence, and put a pigtail by the handle.

Then there's always a drafting mechanism to hand (y)

I love the idea of setstocked dairy herds though 🤣 sounds like a recipe for more lorries carting in the gate, than milk going out..
l think your last bit, was spot on, s/stocking was pre quota, and we aimed to produce as much milk as we could, cowman was paid 1.5ppl. Cake was 18 ton every 14 days, fert use was 'excessive' to say the least, we injected urea for several years, to give all season 'coverage', 76 knocked that out. Profits were good, more milk, more income, more profit, and more tax, which meant more shiny paint, to avoid some of it. Then milk quota's hit, which, in their time, took £millions out of the dairy industry, but they served their governmental aim, to reduce milk production. The positive side of quota, was that we learnt all about costing per litre, rather a shock, especially to cowmen on a ppl contract. As we move into yet another period of the 'unknown', with global trade, and more different ag imports, it is even more important to 'know' cost of production, but even more important, is to learn how to reduce cost of production, by either money value, or by increased production per hectare, at the same cost. Then, of throw in all the 'green' regulations fast approaching, makes life interesting, personally l think this thread can teach us a way to achieve those aims, without spending a fortune in the process, and pass on a better balanced farm to the future generations, who probably won't need it, as they will farm in skyscrapers, a different crop on each floor, and the country side will be a gigantic wildlife park, with all types of predators, looking for their next group of 'greens' to stalk and eat.
 

Karliboy

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
West Yorkshire
I've decided to keep the cattle off the grazing land for a few weeks while the grass builds a bit. The constant frosts and low rainfall has turned this year into another, like 2020, when the April/May flush just doesn't happen. We have 43 acres that isn't in the grazing rotation as it used to be cropped for hay by another farm. We stopped that last year and I grazed part of it once when we were short of grazing but made the rest into silage and hay myself.

This time it has a reasonable bite on it as it has rested since May last year so that's now electric fenced and supporting the herd.

View attachment 958070
I am doing the same.
I’ve got the cows and calves around Back of farm on bales still.
527593F9-9741-49F5-AE79-6727B8869595.jpeg
989C7C81-FF57-4073-ACD0-3583574DCB5A.jpeg

a lame cow and a double prolapse cow with there calves in the 1/3 acre paddock in front of my house
703401FD-E7EE-48A7-99CB-23EB9E4CAD2B.jpeg



All awaiting the grass to step up growing but I don’t think that’s going to start to soon looking at weather for the week ahead
I mean come on it is only 7 weeks to the longest day 🙄
9F562E58-3A4C-4A47-B4FE-C7D122202007.png
Another 5 left to calve are still inside. easier there as I do not have to go looking under every bush for them.
 

Kiwi Pete

Member
Livestock Farmer
I've decided to keep the cattle off the grazing land for a few weeks while the grass builds a bit. The constant frosts and low rainfall has turned this year into another, like 2020, when the April/May flush just doesn't happen. We have 43 acres that isn't in the grazing rotation as it used to be cropped for hay by another farm. We stopped that last year and I grazed part of it once when we were short of grazing but made the rest into silage and hay myself.

This time it has a reasonable bite on it as it has rested since May last year so that's now electric fenced and supporting the herd.

View attachment 958070
Any idea how much rainfall, May-May? Nice looking cows/heifers BTW
 
:unsure:

First attempt, including hi-tech blu-tac wiring holders.


The concept works, but there's a heat issue. The cylinder sticking out of the side of the actuator gets mighty hot, there's a detectable smell. Could be my dodgy wiring but I'm leaning towards it being the timer powering the actuator on for a full minute?

Anyone have any better ideas?
 

som farmer

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
somerset
lot of rain yet to come then, we have had some good soakings, last few days, yet out little stream is now barely running at all, where did it go. Raining now, sounds heavy, but the reality is the strong gusty wind, is making it sound more than it actually is. Cows were quite keen to come in, even though only straw in the racks.
We must have got something right, last years reseeds are lasting longer than hoped/expected, in fact we think we waited to long, before letting the cows out by night. The difference is ground cover, they are much thicker, where they are at the moment, has been 4/5 feeds, probably 7/8, and some will be second time over. What l really want to know is why, or is it lots of little things gone right. We are using different types of grass, this field was over seeded, some seed is a lot smaller, more plants/acre, better seed germination, better actual drilling process, more seed/acre, luck, or just better weather, whatever the reason, long may it continue. We are getting back to what we used to be, a very grassy farm, had begun to lose faith a bit, we desperately need a growthy summer, just to get off the back foot, and get the winter fodder sorted, and a chance to catch up.
 

holwellcourtfarm

Member
Livestock Farmer
Really interesting,, try picking a pattern out of that!
It's "getting interesting" to run a farm here....

The days of successfully following a recipe are clearly gone.

The "average" column is the Met Office long term averages for their nearest station to here.

May is usually a warm month with regular rainfall hence reliable rapid grass growth. Silage first cuts are "normally" in the 3rd week of May. This year some folk in the much wetter western counties are grazing their silage ground in desperation. That's clearly not good for next winter.

Those 2020 April and May rainfall figures hide the fact that there were long gaps between big rainfall so, like this year, the growth stalled. This time its been dry And most nights in April had frost.

Time to adapt or get out.
 

Kiwi Pete

Member
Livestock Farmer
I almost said last night “try making a plan for that!” It’s the randomness that makes it so “interesting” isn’t it? At least in brittle ecosystems you can plan for years of dry and if you get a wet year, it’s a bonus. You are on a monthly rollercoaster!
At least if you make it brittle by your own actions, then you can cease those actions 🙂

We work on about 80-110mm per month per average, but IME you're a fool if you do.
It leaves you unprepared for the 600mm months as well as the 0mm months, at the same time
 

crashbox

Member
Livestock Farmer
Do you want to change the main species, or just jump it up a notch?
Both really. Increase productivity of the land, many of my leys are 20+ years old so there's a bit of all sorts in there.
Was thinking about trying some non-grass grazing species, but not a straight brassica crop... Starting to see the benefits of diverse leys, so looking to avoid monocultures.
 

Rejuvenating swards: Which option is best?

  • 321
  • 0


Written by Brian McDonnell

Maintaining grass quality during mid-season grazing is important. Farmers can maintain quality by entering ideal grazing covers of 1,300 – 1,500kg DM/ha, and grazing down to a residual of 4cm every rotation.

If you are now in a situation where cows are not cleaning out paddocks as well as they should be, leading to the development of steamy grass within the sward, here are some options.

Common options for rejuvenating swards include:

  1. Take a silage cut, probably into bales, remove the material and start again with the aftermath...
Top