My new rubber boots arrived today and none too soon. Nearly every time i wore them this past year, my feet got wet. (which was a lot because it has rain incessantly except for Sept and October so we had absolutely NO fall regrowth for winter stockpile pastures). We are getting some Scottish weather albeit a bit colder.
The old ones are probably at least 12 years old and basically leak because they have cracked and dry rotted at the ankles where they bend. LaCrosse brand has been my go-to for 30 plus years. Hopefully, these new ones will last as long, but they do seem to be slightly less quality and a bit differently shaped in the foot. Made in China – too bad. But they fit nicely, so I am encouraged that they will live up to their historical quality.
Note how much taller the new ones are – that’s only because the heel on the old ones are just worn down! They also appear wider in the leg, but that’s just because my old ones are trained to stay open to receive my foot. Cheers! tauna
Depending on weather conditions, it’s quite likely our cows may need some energy. What we are concerned about is the lack of green in any of our stockpile which, from what we read, can result in a serious lack of Vitamin A. We are looking into supplementing that since the lack of this important vitamin results in expensive compromises to animal health.
Thankfully, we are still enjoying balmy weather with even right now at 11pm, it’s 63F! That’s at least 20 degrees above normal. And that is to continue the next couple of days, but then drop to normal. However, we are under a flood warning as considerable thunderstorms with lots of rain are expected. Gonna get muddy….
Interesting! check this out. We are the same temp in Laclede, MO as in Dubai UAE. Bet that doesn’t happen very often – especially in December.
Got a late start this morning, but headed up to roll up a polybraid, then take it to the paddock where the cows were and set it up. I had put off rolling this polybraid up all summer and because of that, there was some damage to the wire (it wasn’t energised all this time) from deer, calves, sheep chewing on it and breaking the tiny wires braided inside the poly.
Thinking the cows would be starving (they act like that a lot), I provided them far too large a stockpiled paddock. They just ran around trampling their food and kicking up their heels! Despite standing knee deep in fresh grass, after about an hour, some of them had wandered back into the old paddock to nibble on short clovers.
This is the first strip of winter stockpile I’ve turned them onto this season. The paddock size is 17.9 acres, but they’ve been alloted about 7, which as i said was far too much. It’s grown pretty good although this is growth since May, not August- September, so the quality will not be as good and I’ll need to watch the condition of the cows as winter becomes more severe and they need more energy. I estimated there are about 7 inches of forage at about 350 lbs per inch giving 2450# per acre. Given the number of cows and calves in this mob, they eat about 6000# per day, so this 7 acre allotment should yield about 17,150 lbs or 3 days of grazing. It will be interesting to see how close i get to the estimation.
This afternoon is forecasted to be a return to almost normal weather. Everyone here is looking forward to that to be sure, especially given that this is the second winter in a row of being exceptionally long and cold. Like last year, there has been little opportunity to do outside work, so we’ll all be in a rush to catch up once the weather cooperates.
My difficulties, like last year’s, have been pretty much self-induced. From not castrating the ram lambs in a timely fashion (so I have lambs being born now in this bitter weather) to having purchased fall-calving cows which are STILL calving. Had four calves born just this week! Thankfully, the calves have come without trouble and are doing well. The lambs, however, simply do not have enough body mass to survive the cold – more specifically, the wind and cold – so I’ve brought them indoors for nursing. It is unlikely that i’ll be able to get their mothers to take them back after being bottle fed for 3 days, but I will try this afternoon.
I also did not allow for enough stockpile grazing. When winters were more normal, it took about an acre of good stockpile per cow to get through the winter. However, winters have become more severe so it not only takes more food for the cows (because it’s extra cold and damp), but also the stockpile deteriorates months before new grass comes on in the spring. This year’s stopgap was to purchase and have delivered 150 additional bales of hay to carry me through another long and difficult winter.
It’s very difficult, i suspect, for anyone in the US to believe in global warming, but certainly there does seem to be some climate change and either I’m going to have to plan better or I need to move to a warmer climate. Even if this is a cyclical pattern (and i suspect it is), moving still sounds like an attractive plan.
Interestingly, we have begun considering the option of purchasing most or all of our hay needs and selling off our hay making equipment. Purchasing hay and unrolling it for feeding, not only feeds the cows, but adds considerable nutrient and fertilizer to the soil. We may also use hay feeding as a way to expand the cow herd without expanding our land base. Land has become far too expensive to buy now because of the government enhanced commodity support programmes and vast amounts of pasture land have been ploughed up for row cropping.
Additionally, the fences and trees have been pushed out to make more acres to plough, so it’s unlikely to return to pasture anytime in my lifetime. However, maybe it’s best not to purchase more land as my husband and I both approach retirement ages. We actually may not retire because we enjoy what we do, but we may cut back and additional land means additional expense and management. If we expand using purchased hay, we can cut back anytime. If we were to sell our land, it would be ploughed immediately by the new owners.