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TexasHart

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Well, I'm a Rookie Rancher and have control of my family's 211 Acres in Texas. I have ~60 Acres in Coastal my Grandfather would hay, but all equipment has since been sold by other members of my family after my Grandfather's death. I have the following implements at my disposal: Ford SuperDuty, Yamaha Grizzly 4-Wheeler, Ranger Bass Boat :p. Well the boat isn't used for work...

I couldn't afford to have the fields fertilized this year and they weren't done last season either. I have uncles and do-wellers giving me 3 tons of advice and 4 ounces of help. I can't let this place get out of hand. I grew up on this place but shooting rabbits with a .22 was the extent of my ranch knowlege. I bought 5 blondes to keep the ag exemption and give me something to do when I'm not mowing the 3 acre yard my Grandmother had to have. I don't have anything to work the land with and wanted opinions of what is a MUST DO and what is a SHOULD DO and what is a BOAT IS IN SHOP-DO. I've been told to Fertilize! Cut it all down! Let my 50 head munch on it all summer! Let me help you with Dozer work, I'm cheap! etc.

The heifers are great, but the fields I'm afraid are going to return to their natural state - Mesquite Forrest. I have snips and REMEDY on the ATV, but don't know what to do about the larger trees, they're probably 3 or 4 years old and becoming obnoxious. I enjoy this site already and look forward to your recommendations/opinions.

Thanks,

Jason
 

D.R. Cattle

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Hard to visualize your situation, but a tractor is a must in my opinion. Keep the cows grazing hard and study it for a while. A heavy duty rotary mower wreaks havoc on saplings. Might not kill them but makes an area grazeable.
 

Arnold Ziffle

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When you say you have control of the place do you mean you own it? If you don't own it then many thoughts come to mind and you have many options, but it's hard to say what to do without knowing your financial arrangement with the other heirs. As you probably know, it could be quite expensive and labor intensive to control mesquite on 150+ acres if it has been "let go" for a few years.

If I were you and I owned that place I guess one of the first things I would do would be to find somebody to cut and bale the bermuda either on shares or just for a certain amount paid to you per bale he takes for himself. The first cut needs to be made NOW in most parts of Texas. And then make sure that part of the bargain with anybody that you lease the hay field out to is that he will properly fertilize and maintain it.

And get after that mesquite as soon as you can, like NOW. I would not shred it, since that just results in regrowth that is multi-stemmed and is much harder to control/kill. Remedy and diesel is good for killing the small stuff (applied to the stem/stalk, not the leaves). For the larger, rough bark mesquite, spray and cover ALL the leaves with a tank mix of Remedy and Reclaim along with a surfacant. As I recall the mix is about one gallon each of Remedy and Reclaim for each 98 gallons of water. Am not certain, but you may have to have a private applicators license to buy Reclaim. Also, there are certain times of the year that are better than others for foliar spraying. Check out the Brush Busters program at Texas A & M for additional details. For large mesquite you could also chain saw them and then immediately coat all the cut surface and all remaining parts of the stump with Remedy/diesel mix. Try to get after it pretty soon or you will be looking at another seed pod crop from the larger trees.

Is the place adequately fenced and cross-fenced, well watered, has good catch trap/pens/chute, etc.?

I don't know what the grass/brush/tree conditions are on the place, or even what part of Texas you are in, but the five cows probably won't make much of dent if it is decent grass range. You could essentially be stockpiling grass for the winter so that you don't have to feed. Or possibly could rent out some of your grass -- local extension agent could probably advise you on a reasonable rate per animal unit for the area. If you could find the right guy and make sure that he does what he promises to do, you might consider some arrangement whereby he runs cattle on your place for a while in return for working the mesquite problem. Just random thoughts --- it's real hard to say what to do without seeing and/or knowing a lot more about you place and ownership structure. May want to hold off on the tractor, pending resolution of various of the other issues, to see if YOU really need one or if somebody else does the tractor related work.
 

Frankie

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TexasHart":dil8tdlh said:
Well, I'm a Rookie Rancher and have control of my family's 211 Acres in Texas. I have ~60 Acres in Coastal my Grandfather would hay, but all equipment has since been sold by other members of my family after my Grandfather's death. I have the following implements at my disposal: Ford SuperDuty, Yamaha Grizzly 4-Wheeler, Ranger Bass Boat :p. Well the boat isn't used for work...

I couldn't afford to have the fields fertilized this year and they weren't done last season either. I have uncles and do-wellers giving me 3 tons of advice and 4 ounces of help. I can't let this place get out of hand. I grew up on this place but shooting rabbits with a .22 was the extent of my ranch knowlege. I bought 5 blondes to keep the ag exemption and give me something to do when I'm not mowing the 3 acre yard my Grandmother had to have. I don't have anything to work the land with and wanted opinions of what is a MUST DO and what is a SHOULD DO and what is a BOAT IS IN SHOP-DO. I've been told to Fertilize! Cut it all down! Let my 50 head munch on it all summer! Let me help you with Dozer work, I'm cheap! etc.

The heifers are great, but the fields I'm afraid are going to return to their natural state - Mesquite Forrest. I have snips and REMEDY on the ATV, but don't know what to do about the larger trees, they're probably 3 or 4 years old and becoming obnoxious. I enjoy this site already and look forward to your recommendations/opinions.

Thanks,
Jason

Are you within 100 miles of Ardmore, OK? If so you can contact the Noble Foundation and get tons of help from them, free of charge. Even if you aren't within their help region, there's a lot of stuff available online at their website, noble.org.

Also look at the Texas A&M Extension site. Visit your local extension office. Generally they will have brochures on how to maintain pastures, grasses suitable for your area, etc.

IMO, some of the best advice the Noble people ever gave us from the get go was don't tie your money up in equipment. If you need the coastal baled, find someone who will bale it for half the crop. Good luck...
 
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TexasHart

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AZ,

I own the property. We're exactly between Abilene and Fort Worth off of I-20.

I found a guy a couple of counties over who'll cut and bale it for a fee, $32 per acre with a $150.00 trip charge. I'd rather go local and on the halves or 40% or 30%. I'd rather not spend any more money. I had the AC units replaced last week and the septic this week. I'm BROKE!

When do the seed pods start appearing, typically?

The place is crossed fenced nicely and in 5 to 10 Acre sections each having at least one quality stock tank. The coastal that I'd get cut is separate. I have decent pens and 1 chute. My grandfather did an amazing job on the property, but he had a stroke and it started its decline then. I've only been working it now for a little more than a year, bought the cows 2 months ago, just now getting to where I can spend a good deal of time maintaining it.

Thanks!
 
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TexasHart

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Frankie,

I'm a little far from Ardmore. I have trouble getting to the Ag offices when they're open here too with my work schedule. Plus I feel like a doofus when I'm around people who know about this stuff.

I didn't want to tie up any more money in equipment, but if I needed to buy anything I could do it now better than later.

Thanks,
 

Howdyjabo

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Take into account I'm from the East coast and what I would do with overgrown pastureland--- wouldn't necessarily fit your environment.............

Would the fences hold goats?
With the cross fencing and rotation possibilities you have the perfect setup to manage goats(without going bankrupt worming)- and in turn they can help get the pastures back in shape.
What they can't reach you can push over for them.

And if money is an issue keeping you from getting an adequate stocking rate of cattle and goats---I would find a neighbor to rent to- and have them stock it heavily enough short term to get it under control- then back off to a maintainace level. I would also make bushhogging and fertilizing part and parcel of the deal.

With the fences and water in place - around here I would get more for a grazing contract than I would for hay.

Short term lease Gives you the time and money to invest in your own stock. And has the place ready when you are.

Karen
 

ollie

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The absolute best piece of equipment that I own for big brush is a dish soap bottle. Mix 1/3 grazon 1/3 diesel and 1/3 remedy . Soak one half or one side I guess of a trees stump in a swath up the side about six inches tall. Kills anything I have ever tried and uses less chemical than spraying the whole bush. Let me be clearer if I can . Hold the squirt bottle in your hand and spray a wet spot on the trunk until you have a spot that covers about six inches up and down and the width of one side. Cheap piece of equipment . Great for fence rows. You can even reach your neighbors side.
 

Campground Cattle

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Getting overgrown in mesquite Yikes. I would lease also until you can get established and require the mesquite to be sprayed as Arnold suggested.
I would rather have fire ants than mesquite, I don't know which is more invasive.
 
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TexasHart

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I researched Boer goats orignally, but the expense of getting the fences up to goat specs was too high. We've got huge feral hogs that have torn holes all in our fences. We've got goat wire on the bottom and 3 barb strands on top, but the wire mesh is in bad shape.

I'd rather have someone bale this and take 70% of it than have their critters all over the place.

How come nobody wants free hay????



Howdyjabo":2gdz9x8k said:
Take into account I'm from the East coast and what I would do with overgrown pastureland--- wouldn't necessarily fit your environment.............

Would the fences hold goats?
With the cross fencing and rotation possibilities you have the perfect setup to manage goats(without going bankrupt worming)- and in turn they can help get the pastures back in shape.
What they can't reach you can push over for them.

And if money is an issue keeping you from getting an adequate stocking rate of cattle and goats---I would find a neighbor to rent to- and have them stock it heavily enough short term to get it under control- then back off to a maintainace level. I would also make bushhogging and fertilizing part and parcel of the deal.

With the fences and water in place - around here I would get more for a grazing contract than I would for hay.

Short term lease Gives you the time and money to invest in your own stock. And has the place ready when you are.

Karen
 
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TexasHart

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The mesquites that are problematic aren't in the coastal. There are some little bity trees sprouting up in the hay field. They would probably be cut by what ever was cutting the grass. My grandad was retired and hated mesquites with a passion their elimination was job 1. I work 50+ hours in town and can't deal with them for now. I'm more worried about the coastal fields getting out of control.


We got fire ants too... And Copper Heads and Skunks and Hogs and....


Campground Cattle":mmbld5y6 said:
Getting overgrown in mesquite Yikes. I would lease also until you can get established and require the mesquite to be sprayed as Arnold suggested.
I would rather have fire ants than mesquite, I don't know which is more invasive.
 

txag

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TexasHart":1pmhx43h said:
The mesquites that are problematic aren't in the coastal. There are some little bity trees sprouting up in the hay field. They would probably be cut by what ever was cutting the grass. My grandad was retired and hated mesquites with a passion their elimination was job 1. I work 50+ hours in town and can't deal with them for now. I'm more worried about the coastal fields getting out of control.


We got fire ants too... And Copper Heads and Skunks and Hogs and....


Campground Cattle":1pmhx43h said:
Getting overgrown in mesquite Yikes. I would lease also until you can get established and require the mesquite to be sprayed as Arnold suggested.
I would rather have fire ants than mesquite, I don't know which is more invasive.

mesquite is much easier to control than huisache. we're lucky :?: enough to have both (& fire ants too :shock: ). our owned places are clean but most of the lease places already had a problem when we took over.....some a big problem. we use a remedy/diesel mix and base spray. this will even work on pretty good-sized trees. we use a spray tank mounted on the 3-point of the tractor w/3 20-foot hoses with hand-spray nozzles. one person can drive & then up to 3 can spray (we have jr high & high school boys help). spray the base of the tree, ALL THE WAY AROUND and about 6 inches high. as for the little trees in the hay patch. cutting them will not get rid of them. they'll always come back. you'll need to spray them, too.
 

Howdyjabo

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TexasHart said:
How come nobody wants free hay????


Probably because its not worth much- unless its a drought year.
Its not been fertilized, its over grown, has alot of dead growth matted down under the grass, probably clumpy, weedy or less desirable species growing in it.
A very low quality hay.
Its worth grazing down- but not the time and energy and equipment costs to bale- unless its a desperate year.

Karen
 
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Howdyjabo":3gipucve said:
Would the fences hold goats?
With the cross fencing and rotation possibilities you have the perfect setup to manage goats(without going bankrupt worming)- and in turn they can help get the pastures back in shape.
Karen

I don't understand the "(without going broke worming)" part of this. Goats need to be dewormed as often or more so than cattle. From the people I've talked to in TX it seems like they are on 4 -8 week doses. AND they are given either double or tripple the cattle dose. So an adult boer doe will get the same or higher dose as a 500 lb calf.

Goats will eat woody plant material; they may kill or weaken the plant by stripping the bark off larger trees and eating smaller branches. Not all of them are hard to keep in. If you get ones that are trained to an electric fence you can move them around in smaller areas until you get that eaten down then rotate the fence ................. Just remember goats are more easily taken down by stray dogs or predators.
 

TexasShooter

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I can empathize with you. I was in your exact situation the last few years – working 50+ hours a week in Dallas, TX, no money, no help, everyone wanting to give me advise, and meanwhile the land going to hell. I finally had to role up the sleeves and go to work…here are my two cents…
1. Find someone to cut your coastal now. If lacking $$, barter with him – example: he gets 2 bales to your 1 (or however you want to set it up). Keep a certain # of bales for yourself – this will feed your cows over the winter. In addition, you should have bales left over you will not need, which you will sale and make a little $$ (for fertilizer, misc., etc.). The amount of $$ will depend on the # of bales per acre, quality of hay, and the your bartering agreement).
2. You HAVE to work on the mesquite issue. Again - been there done that. If you don’t you will lose the use of your land or create a lot of extra work that will take major time and $$. I was on the verge of losing the use of my land and over a year ago, I ran over anything I thought I could mow over with a tractor and bush hog (I am surprised I did not tear something up, but I didn’t). I mowed down thousands of trees and only several dozen have come back. The larger trees I am cutting down manually. I know you said you don’t have a tractor, but rent one, borrow one, or something. You will be glad you did.

It has been 2 years of working evenings, weekends, holidays, vacations, but after your done…man, what a beautiful place, what a since of accomplishment. I bet your grandfather has a lot of pride and joy about his place and probably why you have ended up with the land. Hang in there - it’s well worth it!
 

Running Arrow Bill

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WOW! 211 acres inherited, work 50 hrs wk at a day job...blond cows!

IMO several options:

  • 1. Sell the property and buy another one smaller and in better condition: 50 acres of quality grass, shade tree(s) more valuable and managable than 211 acres of land that needs lot of work, now and on long haul.
    2. Put livestock on the property and let them eat marginal grass, weeds, small brush down to management level. Could even toss in a few cheap goats--if you lose one, no big $$ deal--they probably "paid" for themselves in vegetation removal.
    3. If you work 50 hrs wk at day job, probably don's have time to run a tractor and brush hog the area--figure maybe 5 to 10 acres a day mowing rate, plus equipment maintenance, etc.
    4. If the "hay" is not from very good grass, few contract bailers will touch it--too many weeds, junk in the pasture that could jamb their equipment--no one wants hay that has weeds in it (we all have our own weeds).
    5. Fencing is always a priority--repair & upgrade fencing as needed.
    6. After weed, brush managed, fertilize to stimulate grass.
    7. Area between Abilene and FTW is pretty arid and lot of "wild" vegetation--not high dollar ranch land, especially in the Ranger/Eastland area as well as Thurber, etc.
    8. If a lot of small weeds, and small vegetation problems that you don't want, consider contacting an aerial ag spraying service to spray weed killer from the air--quicker and probably cheaper than doing it with tractor rig.
    9. Would advise against leasing out pasture to another rancher--especially if your fences are not real secure--potential liability issues, stock getting out--there goes your "day job"...lol.
 

Howdyjabo

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I don't understand the "(without going broke worming)" part of this. Goats need to be dewormed as often or more so than cattle.

I am refferring to NOT getting into a situation where they NEED to be dewormed as much as people are doing it.
It ends up backfiring over time(ie resistance). And it just can't pencil out.

Much better to manage the worm burdens.
Have at least a three pasture rotation system with cattle or horses following(let them eat the hatching larvae). Worm 24 hrs before turning into new pasture.
Or Have a dry lot or woodlot to put them in during high contamination periods.
Don't let their body score drop too low while lactating(feed or wean early)

The ultimate system---- in addition to worm/rotate
Monitor membranes for anemia- worm and record on individual needs. Sell the chronics.
Group the resistant animals- so they get even less wormer than the general population- and identifies the best choices for replacements. Need to seperate them because even if they are not suffering from the worms they are high output contaminators to the rest of the herd- that are not as resistant.

Karen
 
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TexasHart

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The susceptibility of predator attack and the increased time to tend to goats is what prompted the heifer purchase. The cattle belonged to a next door neighbor and it was very easy. Plus I didn't have any 'goat friends' locally that could help out with goat specific issues.

Boer Goats were actually my livestock of choice, I just didn't have the time to tend to them like I should. The cows are easy in comparison.

goatlady":gav2y1ly said:
Howdyjabo":gav2y1ly said:
Would the fences hold goats?
With the cross fencing and rotation possibilities you have the perfect setup to manage goats(without going bankrupt worming)- and in turn they can help get the pastures back in shape.
Karen

I don't understand the "(without going broke worming)" part of this. Goats need to be dewormed as often or more so than cattle. From the people I've talked to in TX it seems like they are on 4 -8 week doses. AND they are given either double or tripple the cattle dose. So an adult boer doe will get the same or higher dose as a 500 lb calf.

Goats will eat woody plant material; they may kill or weaken the plant by stripping the bark off larger trees and eating smaller branches. Not all of them are hard to keep in. If you get ones that are trained to an electric fence you can move them around in smaller areas until you get that eaten down then rotate the fence ................. Just remember goats are more easily taken down by stray dogs or predators.
 
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TexasHart

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Thanks for your reply. I think getting the coastal cut is #1 but finding someone to do it is a problem. I'd give 3 to 1, or 4 to 1. I don't "NEED" the hay per se, I need the stuff cut.

The mesquites are a battle that I may not be able to win right away. I'm still plugging, but its getting harder as it gets hotter! Plus I don't have near the time I need. I'm running 100MPH everyday with work and stuff and can't "enjoy" this place at all. The weekends are a blur and the weekdays I get out there it gets dark so damn fast!

Its a beautiful place now!! I just can see it starting to decline and I'm losing ground!

Here's a pic of the blondes pen: http://www.jasonhart.com/IMG_0128.JPG

This is also a fairly close approximation to the mesquites popping up everywhere.

TexasShooter":pn8rxplj said:
1. Find someone to cut your coastal now. If lacking $$, barter with him – example: he gets 2 bales to your 1 (or however you want to set it up). Keep a certain # of bales for yourself – this will feed your cows over the winter. In addition, you should have bales left over you will not need, which you will sale and make a little $$ (for fertilizer, misc., etc.). The amount of $$ will depend on the # of bales per acre, quality of hay, and the your bartering agreement).
2. You HAVE to work on the mesquite issue. Again - been there done that. If you don’t you will lose the use of your land or create a lot of extra work that will take major time and $$. I was on the verge of losing the use of my land and over a year ago, I ran over anything I thought I could mow over with a tractor and bush hog (I am surprised I did not tear something up, but I didn’t). I mowed down thousands of trees and only several dozen have come back. The larger trees I am cutting down manually. I know you said you don’t have a tractor, but rent one, borrow one, or something. You will be glad you did.

It has been 2 years of working evenings, weekends, holidays, vacations, but after your done…man, what a beautiful place, what a since of accomplishment. I bet your grandfather has a lot of pride and joy about his place and probably why you have ended up with the land. Hang in there - it’s well worth it!
 

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