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Discussion in 'Holistic Farming' started by Kiwi Pete, Apr 21, 2018.
The Catlins is a gorgeous area
There’s a few of those no needs that would be very rough if played out in the wrong area.
No need to keep animals apart? If they breed at the wrong time and calve at the wrong time then there’s definitely a need for round the clock checks here. Unless you’re just willing to let what will be, be.
Early calves are having a rough go right now with the temperature. Lots looking for spare calves to put on cows.
One regions no needs are not another’s.
At the other end of the country day old bull calves( any coloured breed) are worthless. Its very hard on the dairy people.
They're usually 200-250 here the last couple years. I've got a line on Fleck cross ones for $400 for when my dairy girl calves in the next week or so. Hopefully they have some! The bulls might not be worthless as day olds but they might as well be worthless as yearlings.
Oh, for sure - if you have entire males on the property.
That's not something that's completely necessary though, they can be bought to do the job and sold again.
Nobody says we have to keep them on our property, or run several mobs of lambs at different weight ranges etc - so it isn't a "need" but a want, or a choice
Some needs we create through the choices we make, but we're often more emancipated than we realise
Likewise "we can't do that here" is always a great excuse, often overgrazing and overstocking are merely oversegregation because we are looking at the stock and not the landscape. Some of the marginal reactions from brittle environments make sense in non- or less brittle ones.
You should take a look at the video called improving soil health David Brandt it's on youtube. Brilliant stuff and doing it from late 60s @Farmer Roy would enjoy this one aswell
Overstocking and overgrazing is one thing. That can be managed no matter what environment one lives in. But your "I need to graze my grass every _____ often." is completely different to the "The grass needs to rest for ______ long." that's necessary here. Your needs are not Canadian needs, are not Australian needs, are not even UK needs.
Your needs focus on needing to rotate the animals frequently enough to keep on top of grass. Even now in your dry time it seems.
Conversely here, the needs are currently focusing on needing to ensure the animals have open water, sufficient feed taken to them, regular checks to ensure they aren't succumbing to cold. Right now if you own any amount of animals beyond a number that you can pitch feed over the fence for, you do need machinery of some sort. You do need to take feed to them, you can't take them to the feed. You do need shelter of some sort, even if it's just a tree line. You do need bedding of some sort, usually straw that some arable guy has robbed his field of.
What can't I do here that you're doing? I can't graze my cattle. I can't move them around and take water to them. I can't not regularly check them. Not right now, not this season.
Yes, in an ideal regenerative situation, even in Canada, stockpiling forage is a great way to prolong grazing. It is a great way to mobilize resources and keep them out on the pasture to help keep that ecosystem as complete as possible. But to be able to graze stockpiled forage all winter is a pipe dream and very rarely possible for a number of reasons, including severe temperatures and snow cover.
These needs are created because of where I live and yes, it's my decision to live where I do. It's a choice I make, but that doesn't change the fact of the needs.
"We can't do that here" isn't always an excuse, sometimes it's just a fact of life. Crofter and I aren't lesser farmers because we can't rotate our animals on pasture the majority of the year or because we have to supply feed to them. Those are just facts of where we live, just like in some areas irrigation is a fact. I would love to not have to go out at -40 and feed, water and check animals, truly I would. But that just can't be done here.
Yes, soil health is important, but more so to me is and always will be my animals health. My animals get first dibs at me keeping them healthy in the winter, not the soil. The soil is a secondary consideration if I can manage anything.
Ive always wondered what would happen in a more natural situation with the cold .. would the animals move into forests or just head south....
the stockpiled forage thing is wonderful - but i guess with snow youve got one set of issues - with rain youve got the other end - that the energy is washed out of the grass... which you then need to provide.....be it a forage crop or in baled form.
no don't show my faviourite beach
that was how it was done when i was a kid .you would get shot today .
holding cows tight in the winter also hit the grass grub.
the only down side was, the paddock was out for 2 months
Here the bison went into the foothills. They overwintered on fescue, snow and springs. But they had the ability to go wherever. Since they went east and south for summer, that left the entire growing season for the fescue to grow and flourish then die back for the winter so when the bison came back into the area they had plenty of food. But you need the right kind of forage that holds nutrients above ground when dormant, and the right kind of animal that can dig it out of the snow. While they did, and cattle do as well, eat snow as a water source, having actual water as an option is much better. There are a number of natural springs here and a wild herd would have historically been able to come and go to them as they please.
What you're more likely to run into is, like you said, forage that doesn't have adequate nutrition. What an animal needs at -10 and at -40 is different. Some would struggle to even eat enough feed if it's too poor of quality, to meet their needs in such cold. So yes, we supply them with help. I'm sure there are still herds out swath grazing right now, but they'll be getting watched closely and they'll be getting supplemented in this cold if they need to be.
@ShooTa I think it's part 5 of his series that might be of interest sorry I'm not able to post these . I'll get it some day
ill add this -
In the past farmers on the Praries, Manitoba is where I read about this, would harvest their crops and then let the horses go. They would see them sometimes in trees and elsewhere during the winter. In the spring they would catch them again and feed them up in order to prepare them for working. Like the cattle on Swona most just managed somehow.
How about the next one round?
Quite, if we decide that we need livestock, especially during times of adverse conditions, then some things have to give.
Sometimes the stock have to give, that often isn't considered for various reasons, however as you mention with the migratory patterns: that would be their response, to leave our landscape for a gentler one.
It was one of the things we discussed regarding lamb finishing, especially with different seasonality we seem to experience over the past couple of decades - sometimes it is more beneficial to the lambs, ewes, the soil, and the farmer to simply get them away store to "greener pastures"... where it gets harder often is on the multigenerational farms where "Dad" insists that the lambs born on the farm, are finished.... at any cost, and sometimes those extra kg are very costly.
What do several extra worm drenches actually cost us?
So what is this factor, is it habit, is it sentiment, a bit of pride.. hope?
Again, what you'd call it is unimportant, it just needs to be considered, as per my "wants/needs" comment and my "reasons/excuses" lure.
It all comes down to changing your thinking to see things from a new perspective really. I'm ashamed it's taken me 50 years to realise.
Cheer up. Some people never realise.
I can’t remember or find it if it was here or roys thread that we touched on benchmarking.
Does anyone do it, is it worth doing it? I’m sure it got mentioned that it’s not about comparing prices to each other but more about profit per acre
Admitidly im only hoby farming but there’s a group meeting coming up to discus benchmarking which just out of interest I may go to.