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

Blaithin

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Alberta, Canada
Yes. They're bloody heavy!
The whole job is still a bit of a work in progress really. Dad wasn't keen on leaving bales out in summer so they still need taking out with the tractor. And he is used to feeding bales in ring feeders so it's all not too scary and different for him. He'll come around in time ;)
Bale grazing doesn't have to mean no rings.

The big herds can eat a bale with no ring quick enough that they don't end up shitting and sleeping on too much but smaller herds that finish the bale slower tend to leave an extra thick mat. No reason you can't put a ring around it to keep it more contained. I put rings on almost all of my winter bales no matter where they end up placed. The neighbours leave their bales where the baler spits them out and then wires off a certain amount for the cows and sticks rings on them. When those are done, they move the wire and rings over.

My rings are fairly lite, I just walk them around, no need for equipment to move them.

Bale grazing is flexible. You can do it just about any way that will get the old timers along for the ride to give it a try :LOL:
 

Kiwi Pete

Member
Livestock Farmer
Bale grazing doesn't have to mean no rings.

The big herds can eat a bale with no ring quick enough that they don't end up shitting and sleeping on too much but smaller herds that finish the bale slower tend to leave an extra thick mat. No reason you can't put a ring around it to keep it more contained. I put rings on almost all of my winter bales no matter where they end up placed. The neighbours leave their bales where the baler spits them out and then wires off a certain amount for the cows and sticks rings on them. When those are done, they move the wire and rings over.

My rings are fairly lite, I just walk them around, no need for equipment to move them.

Bale grazing is flexible. You can do it just about any way that will get the old timers along for the ride to give it a try :LOL:
Everything has to be flexible, eh?

I like the "just leave them where the baler hatches them" approach best of all.

See a few around here doing that, cows have legs
 
Everything has to be flexible, eh?

I like the "just leave them where the baler hatches them" approach best of all.

See a few around here doing that, cows have legs
That's what I want to do eventually I hate moving bales. Makes sense taking them back home when the stock is in the shed but if they're outside in the field then it's just carrying them back to the yard to carry them all back out again :rolleyes:
 

som farmer

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
somerset
we took over 56 acres today, all older/pp grass. There are some smaller fields, grazing only, 2 are orchards, we have kept some beef calves back to graze them, the problem, they do not 'connect' and are in the village, and elec fences are not allowed, so after going on about lec fences, back fences, back to set stocking ! The comparison will be interesting to see, the 2 small orchards will be what they are, the 2 others should hopefully improve by inc/decrease no's.
 
we took over 56 acres today, all older/pp grass. There are some smaller fields, grazing only, 2 are orchards, we have kept some beef calves back to graze them, the problem, they do not 'connect' and are in the village, and elec fences are not allowed, so after going on about lec fences, back fences, back to set stocking ! The comparison will be interesting to see, the 2 small orchards will be what they are, the 2 others should hopefully improve by inc/decrease no's.
Steam valve for your own land (y)
 

Kiwi Pete

Member
Livestock Farmer
That's what I want to do eventually I hate moving bales. Makes sense taking them back home when the stock is in the shed but if they're outside in the field then it's just carrying them back to the yard to carry them all back out again :rolleyes:
Smarter not harder - that's why we have cattle harvesting "the silage" on the land and put the money under the mattress.

Best effort I've seen is a haylage bale sat on top of each bale of hay, so the bale underneath has a roof and the bale on top has somewhere to fall from once the plastic is cut off.

Gravity works in any weather!
 

awkward

Member
Location
kerry ireland
Not done the Holistic training, but somehow wish I had. Gained most of the inspiration to learn from TFF, but more specifically, this thread.
Looks like your 5 year plan needs rejuvenating at the same time as opening up your mind and plan to others close to you. - I'm sure that you will get plenty of help and inspiration from those of us on here.
Good to see another dairy farmer here. For some reason dairy farmers tend to see holistic thinking as a wacky kind of cult. Yet as KP alluded to, dairying is probably the ultimate sector to be in when farming holistically 😎
Oh, and don't worry about the waffle, that's just enthusiasm!
It would be good if we could discuss pre turnout planning for the season ahead, I struggle to convert the discussions here to a dairy context at times, find myself confused but muddle through it but lots to learn and looking forward to learning more.
 

onesiedale

Member
Location
Derbyshire
It would be good if we could discuss pre turnout planning for the season ahead, I struggle to convert the discussions here to a dairy context at times, find myself confused but muddle through it but lots to learn and looking forward to learning more.
Maybe we'll get our heads round it and get a pre-turnout thread . tbf, I don't think its just a dairy context that muddles through this
 

Kiwi Pete

Member
Livestock Farmer
Maybe we'll get our heads round it and get a pre-turnout thread . tbf, I don't think its just a dairy context that muddles through this
It definitely isn't just dairy. Often the problem is that farming needs some degree of predictability and routine in order to function - anything that breeds "needs" a window
so there's a constraint there just for a start, plus the financial impact of less days in milk and breeding back etc etc

I guess you could say it puts a layer of complication on top of the natural complexity of nature?

But it can help to prioritise, lowering overheads mean less constraints in most contexts, you aren't so driven by "days in milk" or "production per cow" if you aren't oozing cash as fast as it comes in.

One thing I often smile about down here is "winter is the time we have our holidays" and that's the biggest time to get ahead of next season.
"We can't move the youngstock multiple times" because everyone is worn out from battling nature for the past 9 months and wants a break.

It was about this point I let go of my dream of being free to run with the ball - which is why I have so much admiration for you guys who do it!
 

onesiedale

Member
Location
Derbyshire
It definitely isn't just dairy. Often the problem is that farming needs some degree of predictability and routine in order to function - anything that breeds "needs" a window
so there's a constraint there just for a start, plus the financial impact of less days in milk and breeding back etc etc

I guess you could say it puts a layer of complication on top of the natural complexity of nature?

But it can help to prioritise, lowering overheads mean less constraints in most contexts, you aren't so driven by "days in milk" or "production per cow" if you aren't oozing cash as fast as it comes in.

One thing I often smile about down here is "winter is the time we have our holidays" and that's the biggest time to get ahead of next season.
"We can't move the youngstock multiple times" because everyone is worn out from battling nature for the past 9 months and wants a break.

It was about this point I let go of my dream of being free to run with the ball - which is why I have so much admiration for you guys who do it!
Thanks for that Pete. I've read that twice. It's just gone midnight here, I'm going to have to read it again in the morning 😎
Your philosophical poetry needs collating , binding in a book and publishing for the Ag Students(possibly everyone) of the future to reference in their college libraries!

By the way - Happy New Year! 🎉🎆🎉🎆🎉
Was hoping to have had one of my resolutions this year to be returning to NZ again. Sadly the current state of the world makes it look likely that I'll be doing well to get out of the county!
 

Blaithin

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Alberta, Canada
Smarter not harder - that's why we have cattle harvesting "the silage" on the land and put the money under the mattress.

Best effort I've seen is a haylage bale sat on top of each bale of hay, so the bale underneath has a roof and the bale on top has somewhere to fall from once the plastic is cut off.

Gravity works in any weather!
How would that work? Water just runs off my silage bales here. If I stuck them on top of a hay bale then all the water would run straight onto the hay like I pointed an eaves trough right at it. And since I assume the hay would be standing on end to support the silage bale instead of on its side, it would just be a giant wick soaking up the run off from the plastic instead of shedding it on its round side.

Unless your hay bales are smaller than the ones here and the wrapped bales hang a bit over the sides. Then it might not be so bad. But round bales here are all much larger than wrapped.

To me, it would work better the other way. Silage bale is the mushroom stem on its end, hay bale is the mushroom top on its side. Water runs off the outside of the hay bale and when it hits the silage bale plastic it just slips away to the ground instead of being able to sit there like it normally would.
 

Kiwi Pete

Member
Livestock Farmer
How would that work? Water just runs off my silage bales here. If I stuck them on top of a hay bale then all the water would run straight onto the hay like I pointed an eaves trough right at it. And since I assume the hay would be standing on end to support the silage bale instead of on its side, it would just be a giant wick soaking up the run off from the plastic instead of shedding it on its round side.

Unless your hay bales are smaller than the ones here and the wrapped bales hang a bit over the sides. Then it might not be so bad. But round bales here are all much larger than wrapped.

To me, it would work better the other way. Silage bale is the mushroom stem on its end, hay bale is the mushroom top on its side. Water runs off the outside of the hay bale and when it hits the silage bale plastic it just slips away to the ground instead of being able to sit there like it normally would.
Usually our hay bales have 3-4 laps of netwrap so stay 'at size' but most baleage bales are made with combis - baler + wrapper - and they're bigger by quite a few inches as they expand (because they only have to exit the baler to be wrapped, about 1½ laps of net).
If you're baling drier stuff, what these guys would call haylage, then the bales often end up nearer 5 than 4 foot round.

So yeah, your "mushroom" is pretty close, the rain runs down the plastic and then runs down the net of the bottom bale.
 

Kiwi Pete

Member
Livestock Farmer
Ah. Round bales here are 5-6’. Anything in plastic is usually 4, sometimes 5’. Be specialty sized bales to try and get them to hang over the edge at all.
I would love to find decent big bales, but those balers are relatively rare now.

Baler-wrappers seem to be more suitable for the type of jobs around here, because contractors do most of the baling it streamlines their business by saving a tractor and operator.

I often have a little grin to myself because the same guys who are moaning "the grass is turning to hay" are also heard saying "you can't make hay down here anymore" 🤣
 

Kiwi Pete

Member
Livestock Farmer
yes, but if you pop them out in June/july you really impact the grass growing underneath and the bottom6-8 inches will be pretty rotten.
Do you get wrapped bales? The circle ends (if you cut them neatly around the 'corner' of the bales) make great ground-sheets to put under hay.
Also very good for taping around young trees to keep the sheep off the bark
 

Kiwi Pete

Member
Livestock Farmer
I mostly have dry hay. I will keep your idea in mind next time I have a wrapped bale.
People look at "all that plastic" = "what a waste" but you don't have to waste it!

Next time I get a wrapped bale I'll show you how I open them to get maximum utilisation out of the plastic - hope you're patient 🤣 but it can be a great resource. You've already paid for it so why not get another use from the stuff 😎
 

Henarar

Member
Livestock Farmer
Usually our hay bales have 3-4 laps of netwrap so stay 'at size' but most baleage bales are made with combis - baler + wrapper - and they're bigger by quite a few inches as they expand (because they only have to exit the baler to be wrapped, about 1½ laps of net).
If you're baling drier stuff, what these guys would call haylage, then the bales often end up nearer 5 than 4 foot round
Off topic but interesting I have noticed that some will cut down the number of net layers on silage as you say, I have often wondered if its fools economy because its bound to cost more in wrap as it is much fervour round the bale
 

Kiwi Pete

Member
Livestock Farmer
Off topic but interesting I have noticed that some will cut down the number of net layers on silage as you say, I have often wondered if its fools economy because its bound to cost more in wrap as it is much fervour round the bale
Wrapping is where the cost is. We used to put 6 wraps on everything because most people like to cart the stuff about like a kid with his blanket, I think that meant 37 bales per 2 rolls of film.
Bit different if it's sitting waiting to be wrapped, you need more net, but in a Fusion it's only got to hang together for a few seconds.

You soon know those bales if you have a self-loading bale-buggy 🤬🤬
 

Early moves to target wild oats

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Growers and agronomists now face the dilemma of an early application to remove competition from emerged wild oats, or holding off to allow more weeds to germinate.

Syngenta grassweeds technical manager, Georgina Wood, urges Axial Pro treatment as soon as conditions allow, once weeds are actively growing.

“That offers the chance to control wild oats more cost effectively at lower rates, whilst there is still the flexibility to tailor application rates up to 0.82 l/ha for larger or over wintered weeds and difficult situations.

“The variability of crops and situations this season means decisions for appropriate Axial Pro rates and application techniques will need to be made on a field-by-field basis,” she advised.

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Miss Wood urges...
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