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

Crofter64

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Quebec, Canada
It was a real win-win. My landlord gets a modest rent for land that was sitting earning nothing, plus it's a lot nicer to look at and I get 10 acres for reasonable money 👍
I am going to have a chat with my neighbour about a few acres sitting idle right next to my farm lane. Its got excellent drainage as it is on a rise and full of rocks and boulders. He used to use it as an exercise yard for his dairy cows but he has switched to a large loafingbarn instead. The prickly ash is taking over but the whole area is always the first to green up in the spring and it is a shame to let it turn into complete garbage.I have never rented any land and am not sure about how to approach the question .Any suggestions?
 
I am going to have a chat with my neighbour about a few acres sitting idle right next to my farm lane. Its got excellent drainage as it is on a rise and full of rocks and boulders. He used to use it as an exercise yard for his dairy cows but he has switched to a large loafingbarn instead. The prickly ash is taking over but the whole area is always the first to green up in the spring and it is a shame to let it turn into complete garbage.I have never rented any land and am not sure about how to approach the question .Any suggestions?
I just went round to see my neighbour about his bit. Have a figure in mind. I got mine free for the first year as it was so rough. Or give them a call? Does no harm to ask.
 

som farmer

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
somerset
if you don't ask, you can't get. A block of land was coming up to rent, saw the owner elsewhere on the sat, job done on the monday. His telephone has been red hot since ! My neighbour told me yesterday, chap told him, we are going to have that ground, we shall see the owner this coming week, to sort it out, no one else will have it. Neighbour didn't think he ought to say, he witnessed the paperwork last week ! So don't hang about, get straight in, nothing to lose.
 

exmoor dave

Member
Location
exmoor, uk
Here you go Pete, we're a wet hill farm on the edge of Exmoor
We do drain well though!

Jan 175mm
Feb 298mm
Mar 150 mm
Apr 25 mm
May 25 mm really checked the grass growth this month herbal leys were good mind.
Jun 194 mm
Jul 85 mm
Aug 239 mm
Sept 35 mm
Oct 398 mm
Nov 144 mm
Dec 386mm

Total 2154mm!

@tinsheet ...... meanwhile over on the exmoor coastal savannah .... on the free draining sandstone

Jan 102
Feb 158
March 60
April 32
May 2
June 97
July 27
Aug 120
Sept 33
Oct 159
Nov 62
Dec 135

987mm for 2020

Usually get alot less rain in june and august though.
Fairly good summer here last year to be honest
 

Kiwi Pete

Member
Livestock Farmer
So much variability between our respective areas.

Quite interesting @holwellcourtfarm that we had more rain in 2 summer months than your 2019 year yet we have the suitably "dry climate" that lets us do how we like.... 🙄

No wonder you see some positive changes through your planned grazing.
Its an interesting place thats for sure, the ewes seem happy in there though, there is plenty of trees for cover and dry places to lye down, hell of a mat of grass and stuff so they won't be in the mud for a while.
honestly some of the places we end up grazing most wouldn't bother
I'm amazed how your land moves, is that the case with this bit? Or has it always been a bit curly?
 

Henarar

Member
Livestock Farmer
I'm amazed how your land moves, is that the case with this bit? Or has it always been a bit curly?
We have only just started using this bit on a next door smallholding, at the top it has dropped away quite bad to the extent you can't really use it and a bit halfway down where the trike tipped up it looks to have dropped away years ago.
Dad used to work on that farm 60 odd years ago when it was much bigger than our farm, he ploughed a lot of the land with a TE20 with spade lugs, he said you had to be bloody careful what you were doing
 

som farmer

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
somerset
we had 1 decent bit of rain, beginning may till mid sept, our kale behind rye, caught it, that and the ground being sheltered by the rye, and 24 hrs sown and rolled, saved our bacon.
We kept the lows out on kale till early dec, looking back, that was a mistake, they just ate the leaves, and left the non woody stalk, dry cows are leaving some very woody stalks, but the hfrs are clearing those juicy ones, probably would have gained 2 weeks. Those stalks are sprouting, so carbon storage, and a second bite !
 

Kiwi Pete

Member
Livestock Farmer
I am going to have a chat with my neighbour about a few acres sitting idle right next to my farm lane. Its got excellent drainage as it is on a rise and full of rocks and boulders. He used to use it as an exercise yard for his dairy cows but he has switched to a large loafingbarn instead. The prickly ash is taking over but the whole area is always the first to green up in the spring and it is a shame to let it turn into complete garbage.I have never rented any land and am not sure about how to approach the question .Any suggestions?
I'd personally just chat with the neighbour - work out how they value it by their language.
You could make a silly high offer.... but is it going to help your situation? Or you could lowball it and offend them, and there goes a working relationship.

Maybe you could come to some sort of barter arrangement in return for tidying the land up?
A few steaks, some surplus veg or eggs, a bit of labour...?
I dislike a "deal" that revolves around money only, but maybe that's just me. Especially when it comes to grazing.... we need to do a bit of that to pay the mortgage but when it comes to the neighbours I'd prefer a swap.
We graze your grass and you can have some tyres for your retaining wall.
We graze your grass and you can have some compost. This is the type of deal that means nobody on our street buys vegetables or meat or eggs anymore, because of that regenerative spirit.... "community dynamics" 😉😉

It's far better, IMO, than a rigid transaction or rental or price.
 

awkward

Member
Location
kerry ireland
I'd personally just chat with the neighbour - work out how they value it by their language.
You could make a silly high offer.... but is it going to help your situation? Or you could lowball it and offend them, and there goes a working relationship.

Maybe you could come to some sort of barter arrangement in return for tidying the land up?
A few steaks, some surplus veg or eggs, a bit of labour...?
I dislike a "deal" that revolves around money only, but maybe that's just me. Especially when it comes to grazing.... we need to do a bit of that to pay the mortgage but when it comes to the neighbours I'd prefer a swap.
We graze your grass and you can have some tyres for your retaining wall.
We graze your grass and you can have some compost. This is the type of deal that means nobody on our street buys vegetables or meat or eggs anymore, because of that regenerative spirit.... "community dynamics" 😉😉

It's far better, IMO, than a rigid transaction or rental or price.
Our neighbours believe in a one way system, what ever you have, so we keep our distance
 

Kiwi Pete

Member
Livestock Farmer
Our neighbours believe in a one way system, what ever you have, so we keep our distance
I prefer to keep my distance from degenerates, too.

It's a bit like the "lovely nice clean crop" guys, you can't change a closed mind any easier than you can teach a pig to sing.

Avoiding wasting your time is a regenerative thing to do.
 

Fenwick

Member
Location
Bretagne France
quite agree, but why ? What is it about drying, that alters poor silage, to good hay ? Same stuff, just less water, but a huge difference to cattle, silk purse, sows ear job.
Thé drying process removed numérous alkaloids (which are often bitter), as well as vitamins and certainly other things too.

Hay is a significantly alterd product when comparéd to living pasture.

Imaginé us only eating dried food for 4 months of thé year!
 

bendigeidfran

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Cei newydd
I am going to have a chat with my neighbour about a few acres sitting idle right next to my farm lane. Its got excellent drainage as it is on a rise and full of rocks and boulders. He used to use it as an exercise yard for his dairy cows but he has switched to a large loafingbarn instead. The prickly ash is taking over but the whole area is always the first to green up in the spring and it is a shame to let it turn into complete garbage.I have never rented any land and am not sure about how to approach the question .Any suggestions?
As pete said try and barter maybe?
Iv'e a deal with a small caravan site owner, i can graze my rams there from january to march and in return i keep the field mole free.
 

Henarar

Member
Livestock Farmer
Thé drying process removed numérous alkaloids (which are often bitter), as well as vitamins and certainly other things too.

Hay is a significantly alterd product when comparéd to living pasture.

Imaginé us only eating dried food for 4 months of thé year!
Be better than some rank smelling second rate silage, was what I was getting at.

Imagine us only eating picked food for 4 months of the year
 

Fenwick

Member
Location
Bretagne France
Be better than some rank smelling second rate silage, was what I was getting at.

Imagine us only eating picked food for 4 months of the year
I agréé entirely. Just my two cents as to why they eat some species as hay but not in pasture.

Thé acidification of thé rumen caused by 'pickling' can't bé idéal either. (Though my cows love it, we get pretty much 100% consumption from baled wholecrop).

I think we should bé aiming to feed live plants year round. Got a way to go yet! But others are doing it, so it is possible. 😁
 

som farmer

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
somerset
I agréé entirely. Just my two cents as to why they eat some species as hay but not in pasture.

Thé acidification of thé rumen caused by 'pickling' can't bé idéal either. (Though my cows love it, we get pretty much 100% consumption from baled wholecrop).

I think we should bé aiming to feed live plants year round. Got a way to go yet! But others are doing it, so it is possible. 😁
but you are still creating a 'good' feed, from basically rubbish, it's what that change is, that interests me. But pickled or dried, variety is great, food wise, wouldn't be overlong ago that we had salted runner beans, and eggs in isinglass !
 

Kiwi Pete

Member
Livestock Farmer
but you are still creating a 'good' feed, from basically rubbish, it's what that change is, that interests me. But pickled or dried, variety is great, food wise, wouldn't be overlong ago that we had salted runner beans, and eggs in isinglass !
It's "sweetness" makes it attractive even to me and I'm not a fan of forage

This is related to the "holy trinity of processed foods": sodium, sugars, fats - that's how they manage to get so much sugar into your coke, they put heaps of sodium in to help you not taste it

Do you pre-mow for your dairy cows at all? It can be a good tool against bloating, and defintely drops milk production less than "making them tidy it up"

We used to mow about half the area, sometimes, and then we might mow the other half in a month or two.
 

onesiedale

Member
Location
Derbyshire
We tend to mow all of our cow paddocks once during the season. Before grazing? or after grazing? is always the discussion. One way you end up with much less residual and a shitty mower, the other way a clean mower , higher residuals and cows that never seem quite content with what's on offer. Either way it gives a clean reset for milking cows' grazing, it looks tidy for the landlord and everyone else who then thinks were doing a wonderful job of grassland management . . . but are we?
 

Bury the Trash

Member
Mixed Farmer
quite agree, but why ? What is it about drying, that alters poor silage, to good hay ? Same stuff, just less water, but a huge difference to cattle, silk purse, sows ear job.
time taken quite simply.
the time it takes to 'kill' (stop it respiring) grass and clover especially if stemmy is generally longer (weather) then it takes to get grass in and covered with plastic because the theres less moisture neededto be got out as well.
 

Kiwi Pete

Member
Livestock Farmer
We tend to mow all of our cow paddocks once during the season. Before grazing? or after grazing? is always the discussion. One way you end up with much less residual and a shitty mower, the other way a clean mower , higher residuals and cows that never seem quite content with what's on offer. Either way it gives a clean reset for milking cows' grazing, it looks tidy for the landlord and everyone else who then thinks were doing a wonderful job of grassland management . . . but are we?
I would generally tip a disc mower back so it's at least level, or even back a bit from there..
"cowshit height" as the staff would say.
It still means there's a bit of toothpaste left in the tube IYSWIM, ie once they're done with the wilted grass they can keep grazing until move time. But it does mean if you do end up behind the cows you don't end up with a camo tractor+mower.

Last dairy was about ½ "improved" pasture and half "old rubbish" so I'd graze a new grass paddock during the day and an older paddock at night (for the extra sh!t).
After 2 seasons we were getting more MS/ha off the old pasture than the new, looking back it was that extra 50% density overnight that put the milk into the grass... as well as the extra few hours in the paddock.
Pre mow was quite an effective way to achieve "non-selective" although a mower is a blunt instrument

Hard to answer "are we" because it depends on the goals. You don't make a lot of milk out of stalky feed, but it also doesn't assist you easily pushing the round out if you drop the cover too much. Hence the "maybe half now and maybe half later", a lot of the decision is based on what you think might happen in the future.
 

som farmer

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
somerset
It's "sweetness" makes it attractive even to me and I'm not a fan of forage

This is related to the "holy trinity of processed foods": sodium, sugars, fats - that's how they manage to get so much sugar into your coke, they put heaps of sodium in to help you not taste it

Do you pre-mow for your dairy cows at all? It can be a good tool against bloating, and defintely drops milk production less than "making them tidy it up"

We used to mow about half the area, sometimes, and then we might mow the other half in a month or two.
we don't premow standing grass, but we 'top' with a mower, when a tidy up is called for, if sunny weather, you cannot see the skimming's, they are eaten pretty well before the new wrap. Considering those skimming's are what the cows wouldn't touch, around cow pats etc, by cut and dry, they love them, it's the why. Basically we are talking about taking rubbish food, whether skimming's or rank grass, and by 1 simple process, turning it into something that they like. Put like that, sounds a bit like the philosophers stone !
Processed food is the opposite, turning something 'iffy' into a required taste to addict you. Cousin told me of his visit to a 'margarine' production line, the amount of yellow colouring, required to turn grey sludge to something to a respectable sight, was eyewatering.
as KP above, mower is set high, 6-8 ins
 

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