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

bendigeidfran

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Cei newydd
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 Jonny,
Interesting thread this one, grabed my attention as well, looking forward to hearing your ideas.
 

crashbox

Member
Livestock Farmer
Anyone got any photos of how they do their water troughs, when letting cows have a fresh break every day?

Wondering the best way to give the herd a fresh patch of grass at each grazing with minimal effort...
 

Samcowman

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Wiltshire
Anyone got any photos of how they do their water troughs, when letting cows have a fresh break every day?

Wondering the best way to give the herd a fresh patch of grass at each grazing with minimal effort...
Have you seen the kiwitech drag troughs? Had mine turn up here last week. Plan on moving it every other day so it’s between 2 breaks.
 

som farmer

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
somerset
Have you seen the kiwitech drag troughs? Had mine turn up here last week. Plan on moving it every other day so it’s between 2 breaks.
that's a very good idea, played about with a water trailor, but a frame to drag around, got to be better than pallet forks, modern big troughs, seem to lack strength. And flexibility in sighting it. Good one !
 
Have you seen the kiwitech drag troughs? Had mine turn up here last week. Plan on moving it every other day so it’s between 2 breaks.
Kiwitech microtroughs here. Really like them. Simple and easy to move, strong as.
Just requires sufficient pipework to drag round.
These can't be used straight off a mains supply though. Do you have a water tank?
 

sheepdogtrail

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.
The Biomass looks like a 3 week rotation on clay and a 6 week rotation on sand given your local. With my 50+ old eyes in readers (+2) I see chicory, white clover, cocksfoot and rye grass.
 

Kiwi Pete

Member
Livestock Farmer
The Biomass looks like a 3 week rotation on clay and a 6 week rotation on sand given your local. With my 50+ old eyes in readers (+2) I see chicory, white clover, cocksfoot and rye grass.
Pretty close (y) no ryegrass though: prairie grass and brome and cocksfoot (and timothy, but you don't see it til later on). 5 weeks since last grazed, about the same since our last rain (another reason you don't see timothy).
 

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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