Monday, April 19, 2021

The best time of year for a cattle farmer:

As a cattle farmer, I look at grass a little different than most folks. And this time of year, there is a lot of nice grass to look at. If I can be successful as a grass farmer, the cattle will take care of themselves. After all, 2 things we can't do as humans are 1) digest grass and 2) Photosynthisise energy from the sun. So it really is beautiful choreography to watch nature produce lush green grass from the sun's energy. Cattle are then able to eat that solar energy stored in the form of grass, and convert it into a high-quality protein (either meat or milk). All the while, fertilizing as they go. I get to not only watch but also direct this process. Some of the tools we have in our toolbox to direct this process are:
Electric Fence - We fence off sections of pasture so that cattle can graze more efficiently. This also allows the grass to get a rest period to regrow, as we move cattle to new areas.
Hay and haylage production - We are able to store excess grass growth that we have during the spring, for use later in the year when grass is not as plentiful. We cut and store dry hay, and High moisture hay called haylage.
Multiple Types of Grass are always in production - Basically, there are 4 categories of grasses. There are cool-season annuals (must be planted annually), cool-season perennials, warm-season annuals, and warm-season perennials. Add legumes as another category if you want, they serve to fixate atmospheric nitrogen into the soil and add protein to your grass forage. No grass is going to just stay green year-round, so we mix and manage all four types of grass to ensure that forage will always be available.
Orchestrating this process is fun and fulfilling, and honestly, in the springtime, it's pretty easy. That's why springtime is the best time to be a cattle farmer.