Monday, July 28, 2014

Rotational Grazing Update

One of our daughters really loves sheep. For the past two summers she's helped us out by moving the sheep to fresh pasture. But this summer she has been in New Zealand doing a college internship on a sheep farm. We sort of knew she was doing a lot of work here during the summers, but I am learning first-hand just HOW much work it is to move animals around. The Farmer helps out when he can, but many times it is me moving sheep, cattle or (college daughter's) horses to fresh pasture.

This has been a fabulous summer for pasture growth. Regular, plentiful rains and cooler temperatures have provided us with lush pastures. A couple of our pastures like the one in the photo below have loads of purple clover in them. 

The sheep know the drill. Every other day they willingly and eagerly pour through the small opening I make into the next pasture. I then spend time moving the waterer and the mineral feeder to the new pasture, take down the old fence and set it up for the pasture I will need next. The cattle are fairly compliant, too (same drill). The steers (naughty teenaged cattle), however, have been giving us all sorts of trouble, jumping over or going under their fence to live life on the lam. We are about ready to try putting them in with the sheep in hopes that the net fence will contain them better and cut down on the workload (moving four groups of animals is time consuming).

We try to graze cattle in the pastures that the sheep have finished with (after a period of regrowth). Intestinal parasites can be deadly to sheep, and regrazing sheep on pasture they've already been on infects many of them with the worms. We hope to break the worms' life cycle by grazing cattle after sheep.

1 comment:

  1. We have one lone horse for our rotational grazing, and the rams don't get to rotate but I am able to change feed lots for them at least twice during the summer. Its been a good year for pasture, hasn't it?


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