Wednesday, February 22, 2017
One thing that upsets the feeding plan to outwinter-feed on pasture-the cattle is a thaw. We have had several this odd winter already and the cattle generate an amazing amount of mud. They punch holes in the sod, destroying the pastures, and fouling the feed. It is becoming apparent that we must always have a plan B. Now typically we feed the cow herd on the cropping acres. We couldn't this year because of the wet late summer and fall. This meant we weren't able to get all our cornstalk bales-bedding-hauled in. Cattle out there would wreck the bales, so we gave it up and kept them on the pastures. Now they need to come off, to the lots I suppose, much as I hate it. The Sustainable Farming Association has made available several videos of Alberta, Canada farmers winter feeding their cattle and I am fascinated by the idea of placing the bales in October and then bale grazing by means of an advancing hot wire for the winter. But this winter shows me that at least part of that layout must be on the cropping acres for use during the warm times. The mess can be more easily corrected if you are just planting corn anyhow.