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

Walwyn

Member
Location
West Wales
That's right, the thing is if you're going pretty much totally forage-fed then you need to have at least a small spring stockpile of feed carried over the winter months - because you simply won't grow enough if you deck every acre before dry-off.

That leaves you the options of either making up the difference with silage, molasses etc... or giving them more area

the bigger the cow, the bigger that gap is, is the usual way it goes..
..because if you do the maths on various opening pasture covers then that 40m² I used as an example of stock density is ½ of the 17kg a little girl needs, more like ⅓ of what a gurt big holstein needs.

but that's really why the pasture-only operators have lots of tiny cows! It's a different road to profit. This changes as you shift away from that model, eg if you were using cubicles then less cows is less cost so they then get bigger.

It follows through the season but stands out more in the shoulders, those extra days you aren't topping the herd up mean the cows work for you

since you're a bright spark, how much area do you need to allocate to hit 200 tonnes of cows per hectare - and stay there? Our drystock system is geared for 20 tonnes on a tenth, to achieve it, this is why "we do youngstock"!
😆 was actually working out the density other night looking across the bank. It's a hectare for 340 cows @ 600 kg. Staying there? Not sure. So if the target is to maintain that density do we look to move say 4 times a day in fast growth periods and then just out for 1 grazing session at slower times?

The days not topping up is what makes me think we've maybe gone too far with our stocking rate.
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holwellcourtfarm

Member
Livestock Farmer
😆 was actually working out the density other night looking across the bank. It's a hectare for 340 cows @ 600 kg. Staying there? Not sure. So if the target is to maintain that density do we look to move say 4 times a day in fast growth periods and then just out for 1 grazing session at slower times?

The days not topping up is what makes me think we've maybe gone too far with our stocking rate.View attachment 952858
That's 204 tonnes LW per hectare. Once you've got the soil health buzzing along that's probably about the "sweet spot" but, until then, it's pushing things unless you've got plenty of land to allow long recoveries. It would lead to rapid soil improvement if done well though.

At those densities Pete's your man for guidance.
 

som farmer

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
somerset
KP remark about water, we have trouble with the modern boxes on troughs, cows play them, get them loose, calves mess with them, ending in a mess around troughs, found cheap rachet straps off e'bay, cure the problem
 

Kiwi Pete

Member
Livestock Farmer
😆 was actually working out the density other night looking across the bank. It's a hectare for 340 cows @ 600 kg. Staying there? Not sure. So if the target is to maintain that density do we look to move say 4 times a day in fast growth periods and then just out for 1 grazing session at slower times?

The days not topping up is what makes me think we've maybe gone too far with our stocking rate.View attachment 952858
It's always difficult until spring really springs. You think density is almost "hurting" rather than helping.. and then suddenly a great mass of feed arrives and your boundary fence keeps it from escaping 😀
What is your SR, do you keep your replacements etc on the platform or ship 'em off?

It varies quite a bit where I've been dairying, because "everywhere" seems to be slightly different in terms of growth pattern. It's easier to manage pasture overstocked than understocked IME
 

som farmer

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
somerset
but over stocked/grazed, looks just right, nicely grazed off, then compare that to what we do, and it looks understocked and under grazed, it's a big leap of faith to do it, and that is one reason, more don't. I often wonder where farming will be in 10/20 years time, certainly from my grandfathers time, till now, a lot of 'normal' practice, would have been alien, or magical, that's in 70 years, the only certain thing about farming is, they can't survive without us.
Used to know an old man, who claimed his grandfather had seen the last man publicly hanged at ilchester prison, never quite sure whether it was true or not, a rough calculation put it just just possible, it does show how close the past really is, in this 'modern rush', l think we overlook that sometimes, and in farming, it's worse, we are in a very long term industry, living in a very short term world, and we are still using 'basics' that haven't changed in 100's of years, modernised, but the same.
 

Walwyn

Member
Location
West Wales
It's always difficult until spring really springs. You think density is almost "hurting" rather than helping.. and then suddenly a great mass of feed arrives and your boundary fence keeps it from escaping 😀
What is your SR, do you keep your replacements etc on the platform or ship 'em off?

It varies quite a bit where I've been dairying, because "everywhere" seems to be slightly different in terms of growth pattern. It's easier to manage pasture overstocked than understocked IME
Platform 4 lsu/ ha currently, 103 Ha of which using 16 for R2s so 87 for cows. Have additional 52 Ha support block for silage and R1s and R2s go there after breeding but have to come off early autumn so we can graze R1s through winter. Additional forage bought in then one way on another. 30 ha rented for 2 cuts and neighbour grows us a field of maize.
 
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Kiwi Pete

Member
Livestock Farmer
In fact that sums up this thread, getting things to balance
Yep, and after 985 pages most of y'all still think there aint enough grass to go around 😅 so where does holistic management fit in to it, if we aren't working on the weak link of the whole?

Production is the strongest part of our 3 pillars

Grass supply should NOT dictate the success of a business
 

Crofter64

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Quebec, Canada
Are you familiar with a ' spring rotation plan '?

You'll really only need to know when your pasture balance date is (when you are growing and grazing the same DM, depends on stocking rate and calving date but it is predictable)

Draw a straight line graph, say you have a planned start of calving on the 15th of August in NZ, and a balance date on the 15th of October, you had a theoretical 100 day recovery at PSC and will be on what fastest rotation speed? 21 days? 33 days?

Yes you will need strong grass, ie save a few paddocks at the backend to go into, so you have 3500kgDM/ha to calve on (you probably don't calve on grass) and for the colostrum cows, springing cows etc, but you'll also see that you need to be considering area rather than cover/food available to get you through that crucial spring period when growth increases exponentially but demand jumps up faster.

It's when you graze large areas of low cover that you come badly unstuck in late spring, because you are grazing far too fast, so if you are going to do this type of spring plan then try the fast speed of 21 days x PGR and then try 35 days, you'll be amazed at the difference in covers and how that area allocated shrinks.
I’ve never heard of a pasture balance date- it makes sense to know it for planning purposes. How did you find yours out? Guess or observation or both?
 

Kiwi Pete

Member
Livestock Farmer
I’ve never heard of a pasture balance date- it makes sense to know it for planning purposes. How did you find yours out? Guess or observation or both?
A bit of both. The obvious: if you don't have stock, then you are in a surplus. And if you're overstockef, then it delays balance date.. but demand is easy to calculate and growth is reasonably easy to measure or find out (y)
 

som farmer

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
somerset
Yep, and after 985 pages most of y'all still think there aint enough grass to go around 😅 so where does holistic management fit in to it, if we aren't working on the weak link of the whole?

Production is the strongest part of our 3 pillars

Grass supply should NOT dictate the success of a business
without that grass, we wouldn't have a business.
do you mean we should be challenging the grass more, that we haven't yet learn't what we can achieve from it.
We would all agree, each farm has it's own good or bad points, whether natural or manmade, and i'm beginning to think that we should concentrate more, on what our farms grow best, rather than a list of varieties on a bag of grass seed. At the moment we are feeding a 'dry' ley, 4 types of prg, red fesque and clover, it is dry ground there, but other than the 'brow' where the stone shows, that ley is dense, this is year 2, not bad last year, but :) this year, which might suggest we need to give it time, to really get going, but that mix, certainly suits that patch. And it should be fairly easy to work out, what grows best where, like with herbs, plantain grows like a weed, but chickory more fussy, it's a learning curve, but could be a very profitable one. As have said before, we have a crop of h/rye and vetch in, it's amazing watching the battle royale, of which grows best, definitely fallen out with each other !
No idea what weather we will have this summer, but the signs don't look good, our stream is at 10% of what it should be for this time of year, ground is drying out fast, and the cold wind is hitting the grass. 4 dry summers, is not good for us, and over the last 2 years or so, new grass leys, have been 'dry' ones, so we are semi 'prepared', and it is noticeable that the 'natural' grasses, timothy, cocksfoot, fesques seem better than some prg's, we fully intend to try a fully diverse ley, in the autumn, and am thinking of trying a home concoction, of c/foot, tim, fesques and clover, with a small amount of prg, and probably plantain etc, if nothing else, it might show what our farm wants to grow, the only big concern i have, is weed control, on that, sprays are out.
 

newbie_farmer

Member
Livestock Farmer
Just checking in and still making my way through the thread. We've just about finished moving house and I'm now on the hunt for land to rent.

Viewed a few places already, not much acreage compared to most here but I need to start somewhere. At one place I have option of 3.7 acres split into 2ac and 1.7 ac sections and split by a public footpath. No fences between footpath and land and the boundary fencing is iffy too. I still liked it and the landowner are in similar mindset of holistic management, permaculture and whatnot, but now after a day or so of thinking the footpath scares me somehow.

Viewed another place last night,1 x 4.0 ac field, 1x 3.0ac in random shape right next door and option of a further 9.0 on a hilly section about 2 mins drive across the road. This would mean lots of land to grow into and get to grips with land management. Fencing is ok and has water access.

Will be starting out with sheep as I've worked with them in the past and possibly running chicken followers depending on how I get on with things.

My main concern now is working out the grazing and how to divide it all up ensuring that each section of grass would get the necessary rest. Just bought The Art and Science of Grazing by Sarah Flack and I hope that'll teach me some before I need to decide on what.
 
Just checking in and still making my way through the thread. We've just about finished moving house and I'm now on the hunt for land to rent.

Viewed a few places already, not much acreage compared to most here but I need to start somewhere. At one place I have option of 3.7 acres split into 2ac and 1.7 ac sections and split by a public footpath. No fences between footpath and land and the boundary fencing is iffy too. I still liked it and the landowner are in similar mindset of holistic management, permaculture and whatnot, but now after a day or so of thinking the footpath scares me somehow.

Viewed another place last night,1 x 4.0 ac field, 1x 3.0ac in random shape right next door and option of a further 9.0 on a hilly section about 2 mins drive across the road. This would mean lots of land to grow into and get to grips with land management. Fencing is ok and has water access.

Will be starting out with sheep as I've worked with them in the past and possibly running chicken followers depending on how I get on with things.

My main concern now is working out the grazing and how to divide it all up ensuring that each section of grass would get the necessary rest. Just bought The Art and Science of Grazing by Sarah Flack and I hope that'll teach me some before I need to decide on what.
The bit with the footpath might be more bother than it's worth. The other bit sounds ok.
 

som farmer

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
somerset
just had a 'do', got told there was a dog in with the cows, straight up, 1 family, 1 dog on lead, asked them etc, definitely not their dog. Told them dogs should be on a lead, no, we have the right to exercise our dog, it's a footpath, not a dog path, asked about worming etc. Just extra hassle, and not a lot we can do.
@newbie_farmer , footpaths, small fields and sheep, can be a noxious combination, good advice would be, walk away now, probably the owner likes your thinking, less than finding some mug to keep it tidy, having had 'problems' before you.
On the other hand, could be absolutely fine, perhaps a good idea would be to 'inspect' path, if well used...........if not, might be worth a punt. Think carefully before saying yes, or trial?
 

newbie_farmer

Member
Livestock Farmer
just had a 'do', got told there was a dog in with the cows, straight up, 1 family, 1 dog on lead, asked them etc, definitely not their dog. Told them dogs should be on a lead, no, we have the right to exercise our dog, it's a footpath, not a dog path, asked about worming etc. Just extra hassle, and not a lot we can do.
@newbie_farmer , footpaths, small fields and sheep, can be a noxious combination, good advice would be, walk away now, probably the owner likes your thinking, less than finding some mug to keep it tidy, having had 'problems' before you.
On the other hand, could be absolutely fine, perhaps a good idea would be to 'inspect' path, if well used...........if not, might be worth a punt. Think carefully before saying yes, or trial?
Could you permanent fence both sides of the footpath?
This would do two things, keep walkers where they should be and help sub divide the land

Thank you both for the replies.

When I was there viewing the 1st place, the single quiet lane lane was "busy" with walkers, joggers etc. Only saw one group walk across with a dog on lead, but it made me think. Chap has put down saplings either side of the path and I'd fence behind them, but I'm not after a 2 year + stint so don't want to lose a lot of cash into fences, although I could do with a Z post and stock wire netting fixed to each post and pull it up when I leave. Wonky field shapes and tall grass would mean I need to cut the perimeter back for electric fence line too. :unsure:

2nd place much better, no footpath that I've seen yet. See how things play out. No rush I suppose.
 

Crofter64

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Quebec, Canada
.
Thank you both for the replies.

When I was there viewing the 1st place, the single quiet lane lane was "busy" with walkers, joggers etc. Only saw one group walk across with a dog on lead, but it made me think. Chap has put down saplings either side of the path and I'd fence behind them, but I'm not after a 2 year + stint so don't want to lose a lot of cash into fences, although I could do with a Z post and stock wire netting fixed to each post and pull it up when I leave. Wonky field shapes and tall grass would mean I need to cut the perimeter back for electric fence line too. :unsure:

2nd place much better, no footpath that I've seen yet. See how things play out. No rush I suppose.
No rush whatsoever. remember :” Marry quickly , regret forever”!
 

Kiwi Pete

Member
Livestock Farmer
I'm a bit ignorant of all this. What are the other 2 pillars?
Just pointing out that all the stress created attempting to better the natural carrying capacity of the land is ultimately futile in a business sense, and inviting people to look outside the "yield is king" box they think they're trapped in.

There is very little point spending the evenings in a tractor unless you really want to avoid what's at home
 
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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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