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

Kiwi Pete

Member
Livestock Farmer
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Took this after dropping daughter off at the swimming pool this afternoon.
Me making a statement in full view of the main road. 34 cows out on that 24 acre hill getting a bale of hay and a strip of grass every day since early November. It should have been a lot longer but the gras there never really grew after a dry summer and autumn I expected twice as much grass on it but there we go. They won't be there much longer now but it's already saved me between £1 and £1.50 a day per cow depending on how you add it up like everything in farming and numbers. Might run a drill though the worst bits in spring. The other side of the hill was brown like that but is already greening up.
I haven't had many comments but I've not seem many people either I guarantee there are plenty of experts who think I'm doing it all wrong.
 

som farmer

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
somerset
just think of all that sh1t they are spreading for you. If they were not there, in a shed ? Then you would be hauling/scraping out. Always think it's better to 'sacrifice' 1 field, rather than several,
spin some seed on in the spring, good harrow/roll, nice rest, and good to go, might even be better.
That is what l like about regen, it's flexible, and can easily work around you, rather than a set of rules.
 
just think of all that sh1t they are spreading for you. If they were not there, in a shed ? Then you would be hauling/scraping out. Always think it's better to 'sacrifice' 1 field, rather than several,
spin some seed on in the spring, good harrow/roll, nice rest, and good to go, might even be better.
That is what l like about regen, it's flexible, and can easily work around you, rather than a set of rules.
Yes they will have to go in for a bit when they finish that field. Not too worried about what the cows are doing but it being steep and already a bit muddy in places I can't take bales in without a mess. I take 3 at a time now with the tractor but have to go through another field that isn't so steep. Don't like leaving wheeling everywhere but there you go. I did take lots out ine day when it was frosty early on but the cows got through the fence and pushed some of the bales down the hill and one landed on the single track road underneath 😬
And I don't like rolling bales over the same strip more than once or they poach it a fair bit. Don't once and you can't tell where they've been after a while.
The amount of sh!t I don't have to spread is significant. I don't have any dedicated muck storage so I have to tip in the field which in winter is challenging shall we say... I've been stuck more than once with a trailer load of muck. We cut the cows down to 20-25 because of that and it was almost to the point it wasn't worth the bother but now I can keep some out I think we can keep more. 42 went to the bull this year I think I will keep more.
 

som farmer

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
somerset
decent cattle, make good money, and as long as no hassle, easier work than sheep. But it's all down to how cheaply you can keep your cow. We have some dry cows out, on kale, spread some round bales across it, cotton reel like, and just cut the plastic, and roll the round feeder over, and pick the last bit of plastic up. The 'idea' is not to use round feeders, might work with hay, for me, no. But outwintering cattle, is a cheap way, if you get it right.
 

Rob Garrett

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Derbyshire UK
thankyou, l did think l should have added, the fact that if l was selling to Tesco's, we would not pass their 'standard', calves have to be reared with a minimum of 2 per pen !!
All out of our cows, as we bought cows in, many were i/c, that's why there's a 'selection' of breeds.
We feed acidified colostrum, which we can store, so weaning dates are more to do with how much colostrum we have, first ones 10/12 weeks, last one's 8/10 weeks. We get on well with acid/colostrum, but it's not for everyone. Don't have a clue for price of milk powder, we were given a lot last spring, which we mixed in with stored, other than that freebie, haven't bought any for years, so a massive saving, and better calves, they stay longer on milk.
Used to rear several 100 a year, all bought in, and worked out the 'best' system then, 46 caves in that shed, all single pens, 10 mins to milk them, if in a hurry, but our lady takes her time, straw, fresh water etc, every day. The results speak for them selves.
Paying £1,900/t for Whey (dried cheese making waste) based milk powder. At 200g/ltr = £0.38p/ltr if I got the math! How much is milk out the bulk tank selling for?
 

som farmer

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
somerset
Paying £1,900/t for Whey (dried cheese making waste) based milk powder. At 200g/ltr = £0.38p/ltr if I got the math! How much is milk out the bulk tank selling for?
dec milk, we banked 33.5ppl, jan will be + 2.2
but, we are required to keep milk out for 4 days post calving, so we use that, as we block calve, very soon adds up. We will have reared up about 65 calves, as sold a few, for the cost of the formic acid, £72 ish, from memory.
As a student, they just 'stored' the colostrum, in barrels, without any preservative, you got a crust on the top, mix thoroughly, 50% hot water, calves drunk, and did well on it, but most definitely not recommended after a late night. It was gross, but the calves did very well. Tried it here, when l finished college, dad didn't think to much of it, so stopped, couldn't really blame him, l agreed.
But a very cheap, efficient way to feed calves, if you are close to a block calving herd, might be worthwhile asking, there's no real expense to it. Not sure how many keep it out for 4 days ....
One other point, we actually have a job to get more than 2 litres a feed, into them, not till 5/6 weeks, will they take more. There again, colostrum is 'rich' stuff.
 

Rob Garrett

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Derbyshire UK
dec milk, we banked 33.5ppl, jan will be + 2.2
but, we are required to keep milk out for 4 days post calving, so we use that, as we block calve, very soon adds up. We will have reared up about 65 calves, as sold a few, for the cost of the formic acid, £72 ish, from memory.
As a student, they just 'stored' the colostrum, in barrels, without any preservative, you got a crust on the top, mix thoroughly, 50% hot water, calves drunk, and did well on it, but most definitely not recommended after a late night. It was gross, but the calves did very well. Tried it here, when l finished college, dad didn't think to much of it, so stopped, couldn't really blame him, l agreed.
But a very cheap, efficient way to feed calves, if you are close to a block calving herd, might be worthwhile asking, there's no real expense to it. Not sure how many keep it out for 4 days ....
One other point, we actually have a job to get more than 2 litres a feed, into them, not till 5/6 weeks, will they take more. There again, colostrum is 'rich' stuff.
That's interesting thank you. How long will the formic acid treated stuff last in barrel's? Do you need to keep it cool or just in the shed?
 

som farmer

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
somerset
That's interesting thank you. How long will the formic acid treated stuff last in barrel's? Do you need to keep it cool or just in the shed?
bit variable, we reckon 7/8 weeks, but care has to be taken mixing it with the acid, or it curdles, look it up on the internet, canadian, or finnish sites, seem the best.
untreated, would keep for months, after crust had formed, but, yuk,
 

Fenwick

Member
Location
Bretagne France
In our situation, I would assume that Poa sp. (June grass, meadow grasses) are probably towards the earlier end of the scale, with cocksfoot/orchardgrass, tall fescue and toetoe being our climax grasses. Hard to really say for sure as the environment has been modified to suit every other imaginable grass yet reverts to cocksfoot, browntop, fescue once you stop getting in the way of them

I came to a similar conclusion. Withperhaps bent grass being one of the early grasses, ryegrass in the middle and tall fesce and cocksfoot being the climax species.

Funny thing is though. Despite several notable authors refering vaguely to the early, middle and late grasses in relation to fungal bacterial ratios. I am unable to find a list of grasses under each catégory.

Which is a shame as it would be useful as an indicator to the evolution of the prairie biotope we are working to create.
 

som farmer

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
somerset
You could probably go by rooting depth we’re be a rough guide to where they are on the scale it seems. With shallow rooting grasses designed to do well where the fertility is on the surface
cotswold seeds on line catalogue, has loads of info, has a chart showing root depth of grasses, herbs and clovers. Plus info about the 'sorts'. One of the very few, l would be prepared to buy.
 

beardface

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
East Yorkshire
I'll ask this question here before daring the facebook groups!

Does anyone following this thread have any idea on the classes of grasses based upon their place in succession during the regeneration of grasslands?

I.E. early grasses, middle grasses high (or climax) grasses.

Preferably the european C3 grasses, but I'll take anything as I'm not getting far with this!

Back in 2005 we got accepted into HLS. We had 65 acres of what was permanent set aside. A lot of it was crap and not far off becoming scrub. My old man seeing an opportunity to pocket easy cash decided not to reseed properly with modern grass. Instead we topped it hard and put some 24D on. The fields were then grazed with sheep or mown for hay. The result is what you would call native pasture. There's plenty of yorkshire fog, cocksfoot, tall and meadow fescue, odd bit of rye grass, bent grasses and some wild white clover. I've managed to add a bit more ryegrass and clover to the hay ground too.

The land floods at various times, BUT the pasture takes it in its stride as well as drought conditions too. Of we'd resend with more modern ryegrass type mix it would of needed resending time or 2 in the last 16 years I recon.
 

Fenwick

Member
Location
Bretagne France
Back in 2005 we got accepted into HLS. We had 65 acres of what was permanent set aside. A lot of it was crap and not far off becoming scrub. My old man seeing an opportunity to pocket easy cash decided not to reseed properly with modern grass. Instead we topped it hard and put some 24D on. The fields were then grazed with sheep or mown for hay. The result is what you would call native pasture. There's plenty of yorkshire fog, cocksfoot, tall and meadow fescue, odd bit of rye grass, bent grasses and some wild white clover. I've managed to add a bit more ryegrass and clover to the hay ground too.

The land floods at various times, BUT the pasture takes it in its stride as well as drought conditions too. Of we'd resend with more modern ryegrass type mix it would of needed resending time or 2 in the last 16 years I recon.

Permanant pastures are very resiliant!
 

Bowland Bob

Member
Livestock Farmer
View attachment 1009432
Took this after dropping daughter off at the swimming pool this afternoon.
Me making a statement in full view of the main road. 34 cows out on that 24 acre hill getting a bale of hay and a strip of grass every day since early November. It should have been a lot longer but the gras there never really grew after a dry summer and autumn I expected twice as much grass on it but there we go. They won't be there much longer now but it's already saved me between £1 and £1.50 a day per cow depending on how you add it up like everything in farming and numbers. Might run a drill though the worst bits in spring. The other side of the hill was brown like that but is already greening up.
I haven't had many comments but I've not seem many people either I guarantee there are plenty of experts who think I'm doing it all wrong.
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20220105_113150.jpg

My way of getting hay out to the cows. By default I can get quite high density for an hour or so!

I'd like to add that I hope to make less and feed less hay and have more stockpiled forage (deferred grazing) However feeding hay like that on the bracken certainly does give it a good hammering and we're getting some good results.
 
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Crofter64

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Quebec, Canada
This is stating the obvious, but sometimes seeing it in black and white makes everything clearer:

12H2O+6CO2 through photosynthesis = C6H12O6 +6H2O

A bit like Pete’s comment above. It’s the basics that keep the show on the road
 

som farmer

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
somerset
Just as well, or there would be a lot of bankrupt grass-farmers out there, I don't think many really rate the "permanence" part of permanent pastures as being what keeps them going - as they spend money on fancy stuff they don't need
but that is exactly what we have been taught, pp is bad, till now, when it's good !
no idea of how many talks, lectures, farm walks, l have been on, showing/telling us how new reseeds produce xyz more than pp, and we need to reseed, to 'improve' our grass, and get more production from them, right since college, 1973, has that been drummed in.

It is only as one gets older, and can look back over longer periods, can you realise how much money, has been wasted, by listening to those ##########

There is a time and place for everything, and l begin to realise/wonder, how much we have been manipulated. Is pp worse than leys, because we have treated it as 'less productive', and not spent the time/effort in improving them ? Certainly l have been very quick to reseed, and have no pp on my farm, thinking it 'bad' and less productive, and then, how many times have l reseeded, because the rye grasses have 'died' out. Now, we do actually farm some old ley/pp, and it is surprising what it yields, and in our reseeding, we now sow 'old' types of grass, because we think they will last longer, esp when stressed.

But good grass management, can save you serious money, as below, shows what can be achieved, 2nd cut, 25 may, off a cut only ley. On another thread, dairy, some one was mocking me, about letting sheep 'tidy up', over winter, as we do, and suggesting our silage making, wasn't up to scratch, suffice to say, he didn't respond ! But the truth is, we need to make quality, to keep concentrate use down, not only for us, but carbon foot print, but l think by management, we can get good quality off pp, we just need to try harder.
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