For the past 15 years or so, we’ve had our calving season start about 18 May through first week of July. This worked pretty well, but since i have had scour problems the past two seasons, i was adamant about making changes, so i put the bulls in earlier. Thankfully, despite the earlier and shorter breeding season, most cows got pregnant again.
Official calving season this year for me started 25 April, but already have 16 calves on the ground and up and running! Weather has been pretty nice until today with temps only reaching 46F and it’s misty rain and mild wind.
I had someone ask me if Jesus was a vegetarian. That is a question I have never thought much about. Apparently there are some in the vegan world promoting this concept. Answer: Jesus was not a vegetarian. The Bible records Jesus eating fish in Luke 24:42-43. In Luke 22:7-15, we are told that Jesus ate the Passover meal with his disciples. This meal included the Passover lamb.
I would like to say that Jesus was a big beef eater, but I cannot find any scriptures to support that way of thinking. However, when Jesus tells the parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32, he said the “father killed the fattened calf” to celebrate the return of his son.
After the flood, God gave mankind permission to eat meat (Genesis 9:1-3). God has never rescinded this permission.
With that said… there is nothing wrong with a Christian being a vegetarian. The Bible does not command us to eat meat. The Bible does say, though, that we should not force our convictions about this issue on other people or judge them by what they eat or do not eat (Romans 14:1-3).
Started in 1988, Green Hills Farm Project is non-profit, family-oriented, sustainable agriculture group of like-minded farmer families who support each other in sometimes crazy ideas. Each month, we meet with a potluck and farm tour at members’ farms and ranches and once annually with an invited guest speaker. This year on 4 March, we welcome Jim Gerrish, world renowned grazing expert, back to his old stomping grounds at FSRC (Forage Systems Research Center) at Linneus, MO to share his unique perspective with a presentation entitled, “Grazing Around the World.”
Here is your invitation! (GHFP meetings and farm walks are open to the world)
Jim Gerrish, author of Management-Intensive Grazing – The Grassroots of Grass Farming and Kick the Hay Habit – A Practical Guide to Year-Around Grazing, is our guest speaker at the Green Hills Farm Project annual winter seminar March 4, 2017 At FSRC (Forage Systems Research Center, Linneus, MO). Known world wide as an expert in management-intensive grazing systems, Jim is also available for private consultation. Today’s seminar “Grazing Around the World” will be exciting insight into grazing management in many different climates and cultures from Jim and his wife, Dawn’s, personal experience. American GrazingLands Services, LLC. Jim and Dawn now reside near May, Idaho.
This annual seminar has a cost of $30 per family and will include a one year membership to Green Hills Farm Project. Please bring a potluck/carry in dish for lunch. More information contact Allen Powell at 660.412.2001 or myself (tauna) – firstname.lastname@example.org
In a recent farm magazine, a young farmer was recognised in an article as one of America’s (United States) best. Lo, and behold, he is from Tarkio, Missouri and the article made mention of David Rankin, Missouri Corn King, who died in 1910, but had amassed 30,000 acres, 12,000 head of cattle, and 25,000 hogs. It was reported that he raised a million bushels of corn in a single season, much of it from a 6,000 acre field.
So, i did a quick search online about Farmer Rankin and to my delight, discovered he wrote a small book about his life and how he managed his assets to obtain such wealth. ALthough the writing is not fancy and sometimes seems disjointed, his simple outline is a great insight into basic business management. Some of his early income would have been taxed at a 3%-5% rate, but that income tax was rescinded in 1872. Full on income tax didn’t come about until 1913.
But the crux of his idea, is to invest in time saving modern implements and buy land. For a time, he was paying 17%-18% interest on money he borrowed to buy land. Granted, he had some good hits that were just plain lucky, but not always.
Symptoms of ergovaline poisoning in livestock are:
decreased milk production (as much as 45% reduction!)
poor body condition
general poor health
decreased weight gain (stocker gains can be halved!)
delayed hair coat shedding
low conception rate
low birth weight
circulatory problems (ie: ear tips freezing, sloughing off of tail switch, even so far as to slough off hooves)
loss of appetite
poor circulation also leads to inability to dissipate body heat (especially troublesome in the heat and humidity of summer) (this is the main problem which leads to the above symptoms)
The cause is that the fungus is a vaso constricting substance called ergovaline. A good explanation comes from Endophyte Service Laboratory, College of Agriculture Sciences
Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon 97331 USA.
“The toxin ergovaline is a vaso-constrictor, it constricts the blood vessels and reduces blood circulation to the outer parts of the animal’s body. Animals that have consumed a toxic dose of ergovaline will have difficulty regulating body temperature. The constriction of blood flow also can cause “fescue foot”. Fescue foot is characterized by gangrene or tissue death in the legs, ears and tails.”
Seems mind boggling that we farmers and ranchers continue to allow this non-native plant to be grazed by our stock, doesn’t it!? Tannachton Farm is on a mission to remove it. It will be a fight since the grass is allelopathic and persistent!
Not even going to bore you with a long history of a specific grass – I don’t even want to read about it. Given the little dab of history i’ve uncovered that was already known about toxic endophyte infested tall fescue, E+ tall fescue being sold as a wonder grass in the early 1940’s must surely have been one of the most duplicitous marketing schemes ever played on the American farmer. And we fell hook, line, and sinker for it. Now planted and still being planted on at least 35-40 million acres across the midwest and southwest United States.
Tall fescue has good attributes – it surely does. You can overgraze it, trample it, burn it, freeze it, mow it, dilute it (with other forages), plough it and it will come back year after year even stronger yet. But, as i have shared earlier, that persistence is purchased with losses in the health of livestock and decimated wildlife forage and habitat.
As evidenced by the following documents, I suspect we could keep digging backwards in time and discover that at least one cultivar of Tall Fescue has been wreaking havoc for many, many years.
Boy, howdy, now there’s an exciting title and one to really pull in a reader eager to learn about such a thing. Well, not, of course, but to cattle farmers and ranchers across a great portion of the United States, it’s a reality that sucks an estimated $1 billion out of our collective pockets EACH year!
in 1943 Kentucky 31 variety of fescue was commercially introduced and sold, it seemed at first a godsend to sod forming, persistence, deep rootedness (soil conservation), and production for cattle and other livestock producers. In the late 1970’s, scientists at last identified that fescue hosts a fungus that can produce toxic compounds called ergovaline. However, it is important to note, that reports of toxic effects of grazing infected fescue have been around at least since the early 1900’s. Why didn’t the light bulb go off that there is a problem that needs addressing BEFORE scattering it all over the US!? The only answer that seems reasonable is that establishment of the grass is cheap and easy and the resultant health concerns in stock are a silent drain.
Whatever the case may be, I’m now on a mission to eradicate to a degree as much as possible toxic fescue from my pastures. In so doing, cattle health and numbers should increase, calf gains and cow milking ability should increase as well as reproduction improvements. Additionally, soil health and tilth should improve, thereby increasing its moisture capturing and holding capacity (resulting in less runoff and erosion). Lastly, but certainly not least, ridding the pastures of tall fescue will greatly improve wildlife habitat – especially ground nesting species such as quail.
The fruits of this project will likely be for the next generation and i ask myself if it is really worth the expense and effort to make a bold move in such uncertain times of low cattle prices. Time will tell, i guess.
I think I’ll put these entries in a separate category so my reports and progress can be easily accessed. I’m no Pioneer Woman like Dee, (ya gotta admire the outreach she has done with her whit and way with words), but if you have an interest in organic, no chemical, minimal tillage farming, pasture renovation, cattle rearing for producing clean healthy food while improving (regenerating is the popular term) our environment, come alongside and join the conversation. I will enjoy any questions.