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Cattle or Pasture?

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Briar Ridge Angus

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I have put a lot of thought into my small cattle operation and what direction I should go in. We currently only have 15 head but I often find myself wondering what to do next. Do I try to obtain more cattle or do I try to address my pasture/hay field situation. We only have 95+/- acres to work with and I obviously want to make the most of it. So my question to you experts or veterans.... fix the pastures or obtain more cattle?
 

greatgerts

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dun":swr07te8 said:
Pasture then cattle

Ditto. You fix the pasture up to where you have more than enough grass. You could always sell some excess hay to help pay for the new cattle once things are in order.
 

BC

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Pasture first, then get cattle. We all like to think that we are cattleman, but in reality we are grass farmers who merchandise our grass with cattle.
 

Rafter S

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BC":g7ovod7o said:
Pasture first, then get cattle. We all like to think that we are cattleman, but in reality we are grass farmers who merchandise our grass with cattle.

Excellent point.
 

5S Cattle

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I'll play devils advocate. Cattle are cheap right now. They're givin hay away around here, I'm buying head more with what little cash I have left. I'll work on pastures when I can.
 

1wlimo

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5S Cattle":253bobf1 said:
I'll play devils advocate. Cattle are cheap right now. They're givin hay away around here, I'm buying head more with what little cash I have left. I'll work on pastures when I can.

Use more cattle and bought in hay with rotation grazing to increase your pasture :)

Under stocking can be as bad for pasture as over stocking, so I am a firm believer that the two go together. Here by slowly increasing the stocking I hope to increase the pastures production to allow more increase in future.
 

Stocker Steve

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1wlimo":29x06160 said:
Use more cattle and bought in hay with rotation grazing to increase your pasture :)

2X if your short term goals include increasing fertility, and medium term goals include drought resiliency and high stocking rates.

It is a bit complicated - - but you can run the numbers on different stocking rates which result in different average daily gains and different grazing season lengths and different profit levels. Where you start with something like this will effect the outcome. I would suggest that a grass farmer starts out by adding up the forage available by month, and the draws curve(s).
 

farmerjan

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I can see both sides. But 5S is right, cattle are comparatively cheap and hay is very cheap here at this time. Any hay brought onto the farm is like adding minute amounts of fertilizer from somewhere else. IF you have good perimeter fences, I think I would add some cattle now and buy some hay. Feed hay on the poorest spots to get some additional manure/organic matter there. Rotational graze the pastures, utilizing the cattle to maybe overgraze some of the "crappier" areas, then you can go through and clean it up a bit and try to improve it. Broadcast seed on some and let the cattle tromp it in a bit also. Don't know how accessible the 95 acres are for you to work on it; or what kinds of grass/weeds/brush you have growing.

If there is a good hayfield, I would maybe cut a first cutting early, and then see how it comes back. If there are alot of weeds then you need to think about renovating it; or make it all grazing land and buy your hay. If you don't have the hay equipment, and can find someone close with good hay, you will be money ahead to just buy the hay for the time being. Equipment is not cheap, especially when you factor it out over the amount of ground you will be usuing it all on; and there is the time factor in making the hay.

With the cattle market being down and probably staying that way for the next couple of years anyway, if you can buy some cattle right, then you will get the benefit of their manure on the fields, they will hopefully help to clean up fields that are overgrown with brush & "junk", and even with feeding some hay, you ought to get back a small return on your investment. And any type of cattle will work, from bred cows, to cow/calf pairs, to feeders. You could buy some bulls, steer them, and graze them for the season and get rid of them when the weather gets cold and not have to feed so much through the winter. There are all sorts of ways to go, but only you know what you have in the way of grass/weeds and what you want to try to accomplish/ and how fast you want to do it and what you have to spend on the project at this time.
 

jerry27150

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quickest way to improve pasture is to have enough cattle to rotate pasture by mob grazing. kills weeds & fertilizes at same time
 

midTN_Brangusman

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Buy the cows while they are down, unroll your hay in a different spot each time and you will be fertilizing/seeding your pasture while growing your herd. Just like farmerjan stated, you will be putting someone elses phosphorus and potash on your grass. You can sell your cows when prices go back up and do any pasture renovation needed.
 

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