Tag Archives: electric netting

Roadbank Grazing

Friday morning the plan was to fence off a portion of Cord Drive to let the cows in to graze the road banks.  Worked perfectly, except the cows had already had their brekkies, i guess ,and were really not interested in grazing!  Next time, i’ll put them on short pasture the night before, then they’ll be eager beavers.

They were mostly interested in watching me sit on the Gator and read my new book, Colorblind, by Amy C. Blake.

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Tools of the trade.

Shabbat Shalom!

tauna

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View from my ‘office’ window yesterday.
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Coming out of the pasture into the road.

Busy Week

Sunday – Hot, super hot, so first thing I took down, rolled up, and reset three sheep netting through a bit of timber so that the sheep could have shade!  They could die in this heat without.  Took up the polytape and posts that had divided the cow’s paddock in half so they had fresh break of grass.  Set it up in the next paddock, but boy that was work.  Grass was as tall as my shoulders and thick underneath with red clover, birdsfoot trefoil, and lespedeza.  Sweatin’ good.  Took it easy in the afternoon and drank a lot of water.

Monday – very early departure for Overland Park, KS for Allen’s Aunt June’s brother’s memorial service.  Visited with family and friend for the rest of the day.  Exhausting and stressful day for June.  Her brother was a just a few days shy of 97;  June, too, is 96 with a birthday in early fall.  She is the last of her family.

Tuesday – Morning chores, then RIck and I went to Chillicothe for appointments with Joyce for back, neck, shoulder treatments.  Back home for a late lunch followed by gathering up the tools necessary to begin work setting for sorting off the feeder lambs.  Couldn’t quite finish the job since we needed more tools.  It’s amazing how many holes there are in a corral when thinking about small animals.  They aren’t even an issue with cattle.  Very hot, so we cut out early – about 3pm.  Later in the evening, I went back up and took out mineral to cattle but found a 150 lb calf stuck in the muddy ditch.  I roped it and pulled it out with the four wheeler.  He seems like he’ll be okay, but he’s not getting up yet.  Will check him tomorrow and take milk for him to eat if he hasn’t gotten up to nurse.  Found a long dead lamb in the electric netting – won’t go into details, but got an idea of what it might be like to have worked the Katrina disaster.  The smell burns the eyes and throat.  Unfortunately, i did not have any rubber gloves with me, but mostly it had deteriorated enough that most fell through the fencing.  Man, it was gross – the maggots had done their work well.  Could hardly stand riding in the pickup home with myself even with the windows open!

Wednesday – up early again for a trip to Kansas City for a presentation as a female farmer to the Farm Service Agency Payment personnel.  I enjoyed meeting everyone and was well received.  But turned around and was home by 1pm.  Quick trip – took just a hair over two hours each way.  Now i have a few hours to clean house before taking out this evening to check on the down calf and muster the sheep into the corral just before dark (after it cools down).  First thing in the morning, we’ll sort and load the feeder lambs for weaning and turn the rest back out.  If it’s not raining. (Calf died 😦

Thursday –  Dallas, RIck, and I met at 6:30 at the farm for sorting and loading the older lambs from about 150 ewes and 100 spring born lambs.  We finished off the chore in short order despite the heat and humidity – we were thankful that it remained cloudy for the duration.  We hauled the lambs to the Lamme farm and unloaded them into the already prepared paddock to contain freshly weaned lambs weighing 30-50 lbs.  Then back to our house to gather up the 10 orphaned lambs.  Incredibly, they just followed me straight into the trailer!  We were speechless and and shaking our heads in wonder.  That was just too easy.  After preparing lunch, I headed back to my farm and rolled up seven sheep nettings and installed four of them back around the pond lot.  The sheep will be turned in there tomorrow.  I was so hot, I just couldn’t quite finish since i knew i still had a reel of polywire and posts to pick up to give the cows a fresh break, take out mineral, and just in general check on them.  Water is so important right now, it’s important to check its availability often.

Friday – Excess heat advisory once again today – with heat index at 109 for most of the day.  I checked my lambs first thing and rolled up the three 164 foot electric sheep nettings.  Then moved the lambs to the paddock to the south.  They are chomping through the forage quickly!  This paddock had some questionable areas for their escape, so I set up one of the nettings alongside those areas.  THe other two, I set up in the areas to which they will go in the next few days.  I have eight calves that didn’t sell a couple of weeks ago because of lameness, eye problems, and one had been stung by bees!  So, I’ve been shifting them to fresh breaks of grazing each day.  They are scheduled to go to Milan Auction on monday.  Then went to my farm up north after lunch and rolled up the two remaining nets that were through the timber.  Takes longer because of brush, etc.  Installed that last one needed around the pond lot, then electrified the whole thing and opened the pond lot gate.  A couple ewes and their lambs ventured in but most stayed in the shade – they’ll find it this evening.  Allen is finishing up bushhogging my fence rows.  Really appreciate him doing that – it is a dangerous job.  Helped Rick hook on to the hay baler which was in the barn – WHEW!  Just in a few minutes, I think i sweated off a couple of lbs – too bad they won’t stay off!

Saturday – SHABBAT SHALOM!

Sheep In the Road!

Could have played that classic Smithfield Fair song yesterday when i received the call from the highway department guys that the highway is full of sheep!  Sheep In the Road.  Thankfully, Dallas and I were already up at my farm tending to the cattle when the call came through.  Frustratingly, however, just 20 minutes earlier we had been with the sheep cutting down scrub trees and brush in the timber for them to eat.  Killing two birds with one stone, so to speak.  Nevertheless, all but about 20 head were strung out about a 1/4 of a mile along Hwy Y. Usually, I’m absolutely and totally ticked that the sheep are out.  This time was way worse, because they had never been out of the perimeter fence, only before out of the confines I had set for them.  Although, I kept the sheep netting ‘hot’ (very well electrified), there was always something knocking it over, sometimes deer, sometimes the guard dogs, sometimes a lamb that decides it’s invincible gets tangled in it and through its struggles wads up and takes down a good section.  So, even though the tangled lamb didn’t get out – all the rest do. Untangling a struggling lamb from electric netting can be a challenge, but they sure are happy to get free! The sheep have just become FAR TOO burdensome.  I’ve tried for three years to make them work in my system, but they are just too much work.  They can certainly be used for pasture management, but the constant threat to their lives (predators, mud, water, heat, getting lost) is more than I’m willing to take on anymore.  Add to the fact that sheep are worth far less than cattle right now and the economics and quality of life for keeping sheep are simply not there.  So, with this escape, the sheep selling off has been fastracked to hopefully within the next 30 days, although some of the lambs may be too young to sell.  However, the vast majority of them should be gone soon.  At my age, I’m going to to cut back on work load and the sheep will go. The marketing starts next Thursday, with sorting off all fat ewes (those who have lost lambs, so aren’t suckled down) and the older winter born feeder lambs and they’ll go to Midwest Exchange Regional Stockyards in Mexico, MO.  Once those are off, then the feeder lambs’ moms will fatten quickly and then they’ll go to market.  After that, I’ll see how the nursing ewes and spring lambs look and make a decision as to when to market them. I’m really disappointed that the sheep won’t work out – I had such high hopes of them being part of my grazing management plan, but they are just too much work and worry  Perhaps if they were located closer to our home, it would be better, but driving 35 minutes to check them nearly everyday is more than what i want to spend, plus too many times i’d have to round them up and too much death loss to predation. CHeers! tauna