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

Ahh PP silage./.. been doing it for years... I have Zero knowledge of its quality as weve always been fitted in... no one wants to come cut 4-8 acres of grass...
but I am shifting to what i now conclude is a watermeadow due to its flooding nature even if its not next to the river.. and as such im going to have it cut this year for silage/hayledge and then im going bought in from then on unless it warrants a cut... the effort to get quality known quality and well made is now not worth me cutting our own.. ill let a contractor cut 200 acres of well grwon stuff and import those nutrients in.. oh and i may even start getting it analysed.
 

crashbox

Member
Livestock Farmer
Our neighbour has his dairy herd on that yellow-brown "stuff" on the hill behind our mob.View attachment 942817 feeding out ropey baleage (bought from the neighbour on the other side of us) when I took the stock agent around this morning... 🙂

that's what non-selective rotational grazing seems to do down here, goes good in the spring and hits the wall once the grass has done its "spring thing"

"untoward acceleration" in other words, now he's stuck on a 22-24 day round for the rest of the year and spending $$$$ to feed cows stocked at 2.1/ha, neglecting the youngstock because "milk pays the bills"View attachment 942818

I'm concerned that it could be us in that predicament, you know, hitting that wall where you got the back-pats for "wasting grass like Jim Gerrish/Greg Judy" and then degrading and dehydrating the land for the other half of the growing season because you wasted grass and thus wasted recovery time

I don't chase quality or quantity but "plenty of time between grazings" these days, seems to work out a lot better.
What sort of residual are you turning into there, Pete? Is that just old permanent pasture? Cattle look very happy, heads down.
 

Kiwi Pete

Member
Livestock Farmer
What sort of residual are you turning into there, Pete? Is that just old permanent pasture? Cattle look very happy, heads down.
New PP. Put it in 3 or 4 years ago so it's starting to get out of its baby stage (driven by seed energy) and becoming adolescent (not yet beaten down by life).
It's up to my knees or just below, and taking as much as I can within reason, next grazing could be in June or even July (midwinter) so there's nothing to gain by racing over it while it's dry.
 

crashbox

Member
Livestock Farmer
New PP. Put it in 3 or 4 years ago so it's starting to get out of its baby stage (driven by seed energy) and becoming adolescent (not yet beaten down by life).
It's up to my knees or just below, and taking as much as I can within reason, next grazing could be in June or even July (midwinter) so there's nothing to gain by racing over it while it's dry.
Looks great 👍. How long are cattle staying on each break? What legumes did you go for?
 

Kiwi Pete

Member
Livestock Farmer
Looks great 👍. How long are cattle staying on each break? What legumes did you go for?
½ a day or so. I really shift on behaviour/gut fill rather than at set times of the day.

Just floor-sweepings clover, so there are all sorts of reds and whites. A bit of crimson came up for a start.
Nothing too fancy but it seems to go pretty good most of the time, strong over winter as it lies the way you'd angle a solar panel. Has plenty of volunteer plantain.
 

Kiwi Pete

Member
Livestock Farmer
Thats like Christmas but better, whats the bunch of cables for?
They're the other part of the spring assembly, Rod.

It's to protect the spring from being overstretched if, for example, two scrapping bulls pushed into the wires and didn't stop - otherwise the spring would pull out of shape and then the wire would sag.

You thread your wire through the loops on the cable and then knot/crimp it to the spring (at each end) so most of the time it just hangs in space with the spring "shut".

Not really much tension on kiwitech fences compared to rigid fencing that we're used to, the whole system is designed to move and flex -machines going over, stock going underneath.
 

holwellcourtfarm

Member
Livestock Farmer
They're the other part of the spring assembly, Rod.

It's to protect the spring from being overstretched if, for example, two scrapping bulls pushed into the wires and didn't stop - otherwise the spring would pull out of shape and then the wire would sag.

You thread your wire through the loops on the cable and then knot/crimp it to the spring (at each end) so most of the time it just hangs in space with the spring "shut".

Not really much tension on kiwitech fences compared to rigid fencing that we're used to, the whole system is designed to move and flex -machines going over, stock going underneath.
Sounds like a design properly "tested in the field". (y)
 

Kiwi Pete

Member
Livestock Farmer
Sounds like a design properly "tested in the field". (y)
That's what I liked about this gear from the moment I first heard of it.
Every little detail of every part is, literally, 👌👌

Harry has an amazing ability to see things that could happen before they happen.. and redesign things so that what happened doesn't happen again.

Things that used to really annoy me with "conventional" infrastructure - stretched wires, broken knots, posts snapped off just below ground level, broken arms on ballcocks because the water ran out which then overflow everywhere..... all these issues just don't happen, Harry made everything so bad stuff doesn't happen.

Had to grin though, Laura was a little concerned that with fixed micros we may end up with "bull holes" around them and did we have a plan for if that happens.

I said, "yeah, I'll go to The Warehouse and get some of those little horseshoe carpets posh people put around the base of their toilets, that'll stop turf damage because they'll stand on the carpet" and there was DEAD silence on the phone

her reaction was "I don't know if I should tell Harry or not"
 
They're the other part of the spring assembly, Rod.

It's to protect the spring from being overstretched if, for example, two scrapping bulls pushed into the wires and didn't stop - otherwise the spring would pull out of shape and then the wire would sag.

You thread your wire through the loops on the cable and then knot/crimp it to the spring (at each end) so most of the time it just hangs in space with the spring "shut".

Not really much tension on kiwitech fences compared to rigid fencing that we're used to, the whole system is designed to move and flex -machines going over, stock going underneath.
{(Lightbulb Emogee)}
 
That's what I liked about this gear from the moment I first heard of it.
Every little detail of every part is, literally, 👌👌

Harry has an amazing ability to see things that could happen before they happen.. and redesign things so that what happened doesn't happen again.

Things that used to really annoy me with "conventional" infrastructure - stretched wires, broken knots, posts snapped off just below ground level, broken arms on ballcocks because the water ran out which then overflow everywhere..... all these issues just don't happen, Harry made everything so bad stuff doesn't happen.

Had to grin though, Laura was a little concerned that with fixed micros we may end up with "bull holes" around them and did we have a plan for if that happens.

I said, "yeah, I'll go to The Warehouse and get some of those little horseshoe carpets posh people put around the base of their toilets, that'll stop turf damage because they'll stand on the carpet" and there was DEAD silence on the phone

her reaction was "I don't know if I should tell Harry or not"
Yes, some heavy-duty pi55 gatherers should solve that problem 😁
 

som farmer

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
somerset
lessons from the past, hold key to soil health
multicut silage, using rotational grazing methods to get best results.
need a different approach to soil health, driving a wrecking ball through it, with chemicals, fert and diesel.
regen ag, receive, retain and release principles
we need to re-learn our forefathers way's in managing soil, as chemicals no longer working as before.
improving soil health is the answer to maximising milk, from high quality forage.

Not exactly what i expected to see, opening my 'grassland &silage toolkit' magazine this morning, quite a lot more, on the same lines, it does show that perhaps we don't spout a load of bullsh1t on this thread, does that mean we are the front runners, in another ag revolution ?
Not sure about being a front runner, but it is nice to know, that what we discuss on here, is slowly changing from 'cranky' to more main stream. Having had a good browse through the mag, which arrived with feb dairy farmer, it is full of good ideas, sensibly put, and must have landed on 1,000's of farmers doorsteps.
For us, cows have just started calving, so we are fast approaching the grazing season, if it dries out, and i can say, i'm really looking forward to it, and trying out some more ideas, some will work, others won't, but it definitely be the same old system. The old saying 'February fill dyke', certainly looks true, we have water bubbling up everywhere, so hopefully a good growing summer, the sun and warm wind are altering things rapidly, daffs, s/drops, buddlea out in leaf, in our garden, elders showing new leaf, all good pointers for an earlier spring, as long as we don't get easterly winds.
 

holwellcourtfarm

Member
Livestock Farmer
lessons from the past, hold key to soil health
multicut silage, using rotational grazing methods to get best results.
need a different approach to soil health, driving a wrecking ball through it, with chemicals, fert and diesel.
regen ag, receive, retain and release principles
we need to re-learn our forefathers way's in managing soil, as chemicals no longer working as before.
improving soil health is the answer to maximising milk, from high quality forage.

Not exactly what i expected to see, opening my 'grassland &silage toolkit' magazine this morning, quite a lot more, on the same lines, it does show that perhaps we don't spout a load of bullsh1t on this thread, does that mean we are the front runners, in another ag revolution ?
Not sure about being a front runner, but it is nice to know, that what we discuss on here, is slowly changing from 'cranky' to more main stream. Having had a good browse through the mag, which arrived with feb dairy farmer, it is full of good ideas, sensibly put, and must have landed on 1,000's of farmers doorsteps.
For us, cows have just started calving, so we are fast approaching the grazing season, if it dries out, and i can say, i'm really looking forward to it, and trying out some more ideas, some will work, others won't, but it definitely be the same old system. The old saying 'February fill dyke', certainly looks true, we have water bubbling up everywhere, so hopefully a good growing summer, the sun and warm wind are altering things rapidly, daffs, s/drops, buddlea out in leaf, in our garden, elders showing new leaf, all good pointers for an earlier spring, as long as we don't get easterly winds.
I fully believe we have to stop following the damaging mantra (touted by the extension agents) of "maximising production". What they actually mean is "maximising inputs"! :rolleyes: I prefer "optimising" which can be the same thing but is often completely different. It's about what's best for the farm and stuff "feeding the world".

As for "February fill dyke": it was a common saying round here but the weather data shows that, on average, February is a dry month for us. When it is wet though, it's wet. The worst floods in my career here were routinely in October or February (except snow melt ones, the very worst. Our biggest on record was March 1947 caused by warm rain on deep snow).
 

som farmer

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
somerset
I fully believe we have to stop following the damaging mantra (touted by the extension agents) of "maximising production". What they actually mean is "maximising inputs"! :rolleyes: I prefer "optimising" which can be the same thing but is often completely different. It's about what's best for the farm and stuff "feeding the world".

As for "February fill dyke": it was a common saying round here but the weather data shows that, on average, February is a dry month for us. When it is wet though, it's wet. The worst floods in my career here were routinely in October or February (except snow melt ones, the very worst. Our biggest on record was March 1947 caused by warm rain on deep snow).
used to lamb in feb, as usually quite a benign month, but i think we would have been caught out this year ! About sheep, our keep sheep still here, should have gone monday, 2 ewes on their backs, both with their eyes pecked out by ravens, barstewards.
Lets hope that feb fill dyke, has done it's job, we certainly have a lot of small springs that have come back to life, and the aquifers are renewed. Having fully geared up for another dry summer, no doubt it will be a growthy one, and we will manage to get a reserve of fodder, again.
Straights and grain prices are looking very strong, going forwards, and the more production all of us can get from grass, could be summed up as profit. Its a sobering thought that not so many years ago, there were grain mountains, wine lakes, free distribution of butter, and in the EU, food was in abundance, enough to limit production, and then, as now, millions of people were starving, around the world, they still are, but there are no massive stockpiles of food, in the EU. I follow mkt prices here, and i find it rather surreal to see the high prices of all livestock, except pigs, and their doesn't seem to be a reason for them, there is either a big bubble about to pop, or food is genuinely short, if the latter, great for us, and we deserve it. Looking forward to the summer, and next winter, unless that 'bubble' bursts, we are looking at an extra 1.5pence per litre increased concentrate cost, which sharpens the mind somewhat, and we have to find way's to absorb that cost, better use of forage is the obvious choice, and the reason regen ag is coming to the front. I find it somewhat disgusting that firms encouraging us to buy more concentrate, fert etc, are now preaching from a 'reduce' cost hymn book. This year can be seen as a new start, for us here in the UK, brexit and covid have changed our lives forever, and we really have no idea of how those changes will affect us, will cheap food imports flood in, will the sheep trade find new countries to export to, will are products fill shelves in different countries, or will our guv simply sell us out, in it's desire fore cheap food. We have no idea, but we do know, climate change, whether true or not, will affect us, and the best way forward for us, as farmers, is to maximise what we can produce on farm, and the 'things' we have debated on here, will help us to achieve, and preserve our little patches of ground.
 

Jonny B88

Member
Location
ballykelly. NI
Hi all. I just wanted to actually post on this thread as opposed to just read the comments.
The regenerative ag movement has made a bit of an impression on me since I really started reading into to it a few months ago.

I have been on the forum for a good while but sort of lost interest in a lot of the threads as they seemed to regurgitate a lot of the same things, however I always meant to tap into this thread but never did until about 5 months ago. Since then I’ve been reading the odd page throughout and just seemed to land on pages with stuff that struck a cord with me. Combined with other resources and things like the working cows podcast, mob grazing sights etc i have been really challenging by the paradigms i have been working with recently.

Basically what we are is a suckler with a small arable enterprise in NW Northern Ireland. We have a roughly 1100-1200ml annual rainfall. We have been expanding the cows the last few years and are calving down around 90 animals this spring from about half that 4 years ago. We have been rotationally paddock grazing with 18-21 day recoveries finishing a mixture of young bulls intensively and steers and heifers trying to utilise as much grass as possible. They are no doubt great methods to put beef on an animal and are profitable, however, I have also began to understand some of the shortcomings of fast rotations and intensive meal feeding. The latter being mainly a cost and carbon footprint negative.

The former is really interesting! With a 3 leave stage grass must be eaten or quality will evaporate mindset i am starting to see its drawbacks. Yes quality will be crap if you let it grow almost to head immersion, if you expect the animals to eat it to the dirt 1500kgs/dm. However it does seem obvious that if you don’t expect them to eat that low and leave a little performance shouldn’t be too badly compromised, perhaps even better. Parasite burden is also something i am really interested in. If most of the parasites live on the bottom 6-8 inches? Then eating above this will surely help. More diversity is a massive benefit I think we are missing out on and you all know those benefits. The soil benefits i think are the biggest potential posiitive and that in turn will create a positive impact on everything else.

Reducing our inputs from fert is of particular interest, i hate giving money away for it so i am hoping to adopt a grazing approach suited to not requiring it. Gradually is the approach i want to take.

so anyway I have many ideas i want to stick on here so please excuse if they have been covered already in the annals of this thread!

thanks
Jonny
 

holwellcourtfarm

Member
Livestock Farmer
Hi all. I just wanted to actually post on this thread as opposed to just read the comments.
The regenerative ag movement has made a bit of an impression on me since I really started reading into to it a few months ago.

I have been on the forum for a good while but sort of lost interest in a lot of the threads as they seemed to regurgitate a lot of the same things, however I always meant to tap into this thread but never did until about 5 months ago. Since then I’ve been reading the odd page throughout and just seemed to land on pages with stuff that struck a cord with me. Combined with other resources and things like the working cows podcast, mob grazing sights etc i have been really challenging by the paradigms i have been working with recently.

Basically what we are is a suckler with a small arable enterprise in NW Northern Ireland. We have a roughly 1100-1200ml annual rainfall. We have been expanding the cows the last few years and are calving down around 90 animals this spring from about half that 4 years ago. We have been rotationally paddock grazing with 18-21 day recoveries finishing a mixture of young bulls intensively and steers and heifers trying to utilise as much grass as possible. They are no doubt great methods to put beef on an animal and are profitable, however, I have also began to understand some of the shortcomings of fast rotations and intensive meal feeding. The latter being mainly a cost and carbon footprint negative.

The former is really interesting! With a 3 leave stage grass must be eaten or quality will evaporate mindset i am starting to see its drawbacks. Yes quality will be crap if you let it grow almost to head immersion, if you expect the animals to eat it to the dirt 1500kgs/dm. However it does seem obvious that if you don’t expect them to eat that low and leave a little performance shouldn’t be too badly compromised, perhaps even better. Parasite burden is also something i am really interested in. If most of the parasites live on the bottom 6-8 inches? Then eating above this will surely help. More diversity is a massive benefit I think we are missing out on and you all know those benefits. The soil benefits i think are the biggest potential posiitive and that in turn will create a positive impact on everything else.

Reducing our inputs from fert is of particular interest, i hate giving money away for it so i am hoping to adopt a grazing approach suited to not requiring it. Gradually is the approach i want to take.

so anyway I have many ideas i want to stick on here so please excuse if they have been covered already in the annals of this thread!

thanks
Jonny
Welcome to the chatteratti class (instead of the lurker one) :ROFLMAO:

Once you jump down the Holistic rabbit hole and really question why we keep doing things a particular way the established norms all start to fall apart..... :nailbiting::eek::banghead:
 

Guide your way through spring agronomy decisions

  • 135
  • 0
The incessant and extreme wet conditions are now presenting huge challenges for every farm’s spring agronomy and cropping decisions.

Plans are being urgently reevaluated and rejigged to set priorities for treatment, with a watchful eye on deadlines for timely spring crop establishment when a window allows. And all against a backdrop of potential damage to soil structure to fields from traveling in waterlogged conditions.

1614597288695.png

Lessons learned from last year have proved invaluable, with the latest Syngenta Spring Guide giving an insight into some of the tips and ideas to help with this season’s decisions...
Top