Breeding Snow Cows for Bale Grazing?

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Breeding Snow Cows for Bale Grazing?

Post by Stocker Steve » Sat Jan 11, 2020 1:45 pm

The snow is getting deep. FWA can not get through the drifts, so now moving cows with a snowmobile. When the cows string out on a herd move - - I notice the taller traditional cows are in the lead, and the moderate cows are in the back. Do I need to worry about moderate smaller frame cows not being able to navigate thru deep snow in the future :?:


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Re: Breeding Snow Cows for Bale Grazing?

Post by Jeanne - Simme Valley » Sat Jan 11, 2020 4:28 pm

Yes, might be a sales pitch - cows are tall enough to handle deep snow!!

One year, we had over 36" of snow in less than 24 hours. We knew it was coming. Brought up front anything that was getting close to calving and loaded up the cattle in the back winter lots with extra hay. Well, when you are moving snow with just a bucket on a FEL, you don't get very far. After a couple of days, we needed to get the herd up front where we had cleaned paths to the hay supply. We put on snow shoes, walked to the back and called the cows. Fences were totally gone (under snow). Cows walked in a single file line - they would take turns as to who was in the lead. Lead cow would just sort of "sit/lay" in the snow, and the next cow would take the lead breaking thru the snow. When they got up close to the barn yard - they walked right over to the place the waterer was and stuck their nose down in the snow & were exactly at the waterer. Amazed me!!
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Re: Breeding Snow Cows for Bale Grazing?

Post by Aaron » Sat Jan 11, 2020 6:51 pm

Cows are pretty much screwed once the snow is above their belly. Especially if it is crusted. If they are lined out, they will take turns blazing the path.
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Re: Breeding Snow Cows for Bale Grazing?

Post by Stocker Steve » Sat Jan 11, 2020 8:47 pm

Snow crusted last week. Now it glows in the moonlight. Have to hope climate change happens faster than the dispersion of my squatty heifer bull genetics. ;-)
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Re: Breeding Snow Cows for Bale Grazing?

Post by Dave » Sun Jan 12, 2020 8:27 am

You could start your own composite breed. People in the south have done it crossing them eared cattle with everything under the sun. If I were you I think I start with Galloway and Char. A taller strong cow who is wearing insulated underwear and a heavy coat. Call them something like Northern Grazers. I would avoid using snow in their name. That brings up too many negatives to a lot of people.

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Re: Breeding Snow Cows for Bale Grazing?

Post by Stocker Steve » Sun Jan 12, 2020 1:38 pm

Good plan for the Northern Grazers. Could also consider a three way cross including moose or buffalo.
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Re: Breeding Snow Cows for Bale Grazing?

Post by Nesikep » Sun Jan 12, 2020 1:58 pm

Stocker Steve wrote:
Sun Jan 12, 2020 1:38 pm
Good plan for the Northern Grazers. Could also consider a three way cross including moose or buffalo.
I'd find a way to raise wooly mammoths!

Highland x something big could give them a heavy winter coat and a bit more size
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Re: Breeding Snow Cows for Bale Grazing?

Post by Stocker Steve » Sun Jan 12, 2020 2:34 pm

Grazing buddy tried to corner the market by buying up cheap Highlander cows. Then he bred them Hereford, and tried to market the heifers as extremely easy keeping mama cows to breed terminal angus. :cowboy: I don't think they sold real well...
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Re: Breeding Snow Cows for Bale Grazing?

Post by holm25 » Sun Jan 12, 2020 5:30 pm

This year has been particularly bad for drifting on the cows trails to water. New Year’s Eve I had to bust a trail that was hip deep on me. Cows couldn’t get through but when they saw me walking through they followed but didn’t leave my track. Only had 150ish yards of deep drifts but I was wore out after that lol.

Few years back we had one get stuck in a big drift. Luckily we saw her get stuck so could get her out right away. Neighbor found one of there cows dead stuck in some deep snow. Just couldn’t get out and they never saw her in time.

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Re: Breeding Snow Cows for Bale Grazing?

Post by chevytaHOE5674 » Sun Jan 12, 2020 9:15 pm

You guys are describing every winter UP here in the snow belts. We've had over 10 feet of snowfall this season, fences were drifted over weeks ago in places. Don't have too many issues getting around with my FWA tractor yet. When I do I hook up the snowblower and make some paths and go from there.

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Re: Breeding Snow Cows for Bale Grazing?

Post by Aaron » Sun Jan 12, 2020 9:41 pm

chevytaHOE5674 wrote:
Sun Jan 12, 2020 9:15 pm
You guys are describing every winter UP here in the snow belts. We've had over 10 feet of snowfall this season, fences were drifted over weeks ago in places. Don't have too many issues getting around with my FWA tractor yet. When I do I hook up the snowblower and make some paths and go from there.
Yeah, seems like Marquette always has a bullseye painted on it for every storm. I hate snow, so I am very thankful that Grandma never stayed to raise a family in Ironwood. Her stories of rock fields and snow were just too depressing. Great-Grandpa made some rock piles that I am sure are still there.
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Re: Breeding Snow Cows for Bale Grazing?

Post by Dave » Sun Jan 12, 2020 10:30 pm

Stocker Steve wrote:
Sun Jan 12, 2020 2:34 pm
Grazing buddy tried to corner the market by buying up cheap Highlander cows. Then he bred them Hereford, and tried to market the heifers as extremely easy keeping mama cows to breed terminal angus. :cowboy: I don't think they sold real well...
Don't use Highlanders or the belted Galloways. To many marketing negatives. Get the solid black Galloways. That way in addition to plowing through the snow drifts you can tap into CAB with the solid black calves.

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Re: Breeding Snow Cows for Bale Grazing?

Post by chevytaHOE5674 » Sun Jan 12, 2020 10:55 pm

Aaron wrote:
Sun Jan 12, 2020 9:41 pm
Yeah, seems like Marquette always has a bullseye painted on it for every storm. I hate snow, so I am very thankful that Grandma never stayed to raise a family in Ironwood. Her stories of rock fields and snow were just too depressing. Great-Grandpa made some rock piles that I am sure are still there.
I'll take 20 feet of snow over the cold weather that the guys north and west of me get. I can plow snow out of the way, but I cant do much about -30 or -40. Being right near the big lake we get a lot of snow but unless it freezes over our temps stay moderate, if it freezes then i may as well live on the frozen tundra.

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Re: Breeding Snow Cows for Bale Grazing?

Post by Stocker Steve » Mon Jan 13, 2020 5:15 am

chevytaHOE5674 wrote:
Sun Jan 12, 2020 9:15 pm
You guys are describing every winter UP here in the snow belts. We've had over 10 feet of snowfall this season, fences were drifted over weeks ago in places. Don't have too many issues getting around with my FWA tractor yet. When I do I hook up the snowblower and make some paths and go from there.
What did folks do before FWA?

Are you able to blow out large areas like a yard?
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Re: Breeding Snow Cows for Bale Grazing?

Post by chevytaHOE5674 » Mon Jan 13, 2020 7:15 am

Guys without FWA tractors generally keep the cattle in a lot right up next to the barn. Cattle keep the yard packed down and frozen so that they can get in and out. Also know a plenty of guys that just turn the cows lose in their bale yard when things get too deep. Or some guys feed squares and hand carry them.

I guess you could blow out a large area. I only ever do enough to get out to the pasture and thru the gates. Since I unroll daily I can almost always follow my tracks from yesterday once in the pasture. Big FWA tractor with enough weight and tire chains will go a lot of places.

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