Drought plan

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Lee VanRoss

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Are you saying you are unable grow forage without noxious weeds and sell at an honest verifiable weight?
If you, by reputation, build a good fence, why then am I not entitled to the same standard of service if I
purchase a bale of hay? If you can't back up the quality and weight of a load of hay I probably don't need your fence either.
 

anewcomer

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Caustic and Cowgirl8, do those costs you listed include replacement fertilizer costs, or just baling costs?
 

callmefence

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Are you saying you are unable grow forage without noxious weeds and sell at an honest verifiable weight?
If you, by reputation, build a good fence, why then am I not entitled to the same standard of service if I
purchase a bale of hay? If you can't back up the quality and weight of a load of hay I probably don't need your fence either.
No that's not what I said...you should lay off the noxious weed. That's for sure...
 

cowgirl8

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Caustic and Cowgirl8, do those costs you listed include replacement fertilizer costs, or just baling costs?
Just custom baling price. We bale 4x5 1/2 and 4x5... Just depended on what quality the hay was and how many bales we got to the acre. It was all over the chart on quality. We did put some of the lower end out for our cows to eat with a bale of their normal hay, they are eating the lower end and have barely touched their regular hay of bermuda, bahai and dalis... Has us scratching our heads. Some of this hay has some weed in it they seem to like... Its a tall weed, grows pea pods, has mimosa type leaves, cant remember the name.
 

Dave

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In this part of the world hay is sold by the ton. The only hay by the bale is to the backyard people who are generally horse people. It is pretty rare to see round bales being sold. The only people making round bales are those with cows making their own hay. The majority of hay goes into 3x4x8 big square bales.
 

crossbreed

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I don’t believe anyone in our area makes the big square bales, ver few small either for that matter. 90% sell by the bale. I cut 25% of our momma cows in may and spent part on hay while the 5x5 were $40. Should have my 2 year stash with same numbers I have now
 

LauraleesFarm

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Our drought plan is a bit similar to how we survived 2011, and there were lessons learned....

We have two major areas of mixed timber beside the pastures. We are cutting down 10 or so small to medium sweet gum and elm trees daily. The fattie cows are chowing down on the leaves. The unreachable parts on the limbs sticking up too high are then flipped over with the tractor the next day, so that the cows can eat them. This is clearing back some areas that needed cleanup, and the cows come running when they hear the chainsaw. And by doing so I have avoided putting out the hay I have. I was never a fan of sweet gum and elm trees. But they are feeding my cows so I'm grateful to have them now.

Kept all of our first cutting hay. Then, have had no rain. We plan to bale our bermuda field again if it would just rain one more time. Hoping for rain this week. Please, Lord. Have a field that is more bahia and the bahia has burnt up to nothing. Going to put cows out on it next week. One more cutting on the bermuda field will be enough to feed them 2/3 of the winter, if I'm stingy with it and keep out lick tubs.

Planning to sow winter rye in two large pasture areas in the fall, and hope to have them turned out on it by February 1.

I have weaned a couple of groups of calves early, hauled 2 loads of big cows and crossbred calves that I wanted rid of to reduce the burden. Going to wean some more in another few weeks.

Had to sort cows according to needs: Fatties, Moderate conditioned, and Gotte be Fed's. Rearranged the fatties together and the moderate conditioned ones together to be supported. Fatties have lick tubs and have to scrounge for what can be eaten in the wooded areas plus the pasture they have. Moderate conditioned ones get a little feed every day plus lick tubs.

I have separated the thinner older cows that I don't want to sell (ie give away) to be fed in their own area. The marketable purebred bulls and F1 heifers are being fed for sales in 2023. Prices were so dirt cheap on the calves I got shed of, that I will just feed these good ones out and sell them next year. These skinnies and the calves gotta be fed daily.

I'm feeding every group "something" every day, except the fatties. In other words, the first calf-heifers, the weaned calves, and the special needs group of older thin cows are all being fed daily. The fatties are looking decent on what they can find.

I figure I will have to invest an extra 10-15k to feed them until spring, if need be. And it's looking pretty likely. But I also remember paying $2600 for a 6 year old 5 month bred crossbred cow after the last big drought. So I'm counting on decent prices in the spring. I have been breeding for this group of females that I have for over a decade. And I'm committed to retaining them. Most of my sales are private individuals, as I have Purebred Brahman, and F1 calves. I still have a few good crossbred cows, but they will be sold in the spring.

I read through the comments and I don't see anyone else cutting down trees for feed. I looked up the nutritional value of sweet gum leaves and its got some protein in it. Better protein levels in the spring but beggars cannot choose. I figure we can keep cutting small trees until October or so. At which point I will rotate the herds onto the hay meadow to clean it up.
 

Lee VanRoss

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It is your choice but I would probably sell the thinner older cows as in my opinion they are most at risk for going backwards health wise.
That should leave room for a little floppy eared brimmer heifer! which alas! I will never have as I live too far north. good luck....
 

cowgirl8

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We fed chicken litter in 2011, cows love it. But cutting down trees, thats a new one but you couldnt do that for very long.. SInce 2011, we plan every hay season like we're going into a drought. We kind of knew this year was going to be the drought year, we have one every 10 or so years. 2011 caught us off guard because it was just 6 years and not 10. So now, we treat every year as if we're going into a drought. But even if you have a ton of hay, you run out of water, thats a different story. We prepared for that also after 2011..
 

DCA farm

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Food for thought right there my friend!

Cheaper to feed the calves than the cows huh?

Lots of folks selling small unweaned calves right now. And they are going cheap!!
Perhaps I should sell cows, buy all 250lb heifers and just start plumb the heck over. Not the worst plan I've heard by far
I been thinking about buying quite a few myself.
 

Stocker Steve

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We have two major areas of mixed timber beside the pastures. We are cutting down 10 or so small to medium sweet gum and elm trees daily. The fattie cows are chowing down on the leaves. The unreachable parts on the limbs sticking up too high are then flipped over with the tractor the next day, so that the cows can eat them. This is clearing back some areas that needed cleanup, and the cows come running when they hear the chainsaw. And by doing soI read through the comments and I don't see anyone else cutting down trees for feed. I looked up the nutritional value of sweet gum leaves and its got some protein in it. Better protein levels in the spring but beggars cannot choose. I figure we can keep cutting small trees until October
Cutting down aspen trees daily was common here during the great depression. Less forest and more concentrated livestock operations make this difficult today.

Annuals are always one of the drought management ideas from the talking heads A big issue is that annuals don't grow well w/o rain, and you don't get much rain in a drought. Hummmm... I planted a lot of them last year. Spring and summer seeding were money losers. Got lucky with fall rains and some of later seedings paid off. All in all it was not cost effective. I would not seed UNINSURABLE annuals again until after it starts raining.

I did plant some insured corn this spring. If it rains - - combine the corn and then graze the stalks. If it does not rain - - have the insurance adjustor look at it and then graze it out. Should have done that last year.

A hay shed, a corn field, some poly wire, and a stock trailer are some of your best drought management tools.
 
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Lee VanRoss

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Cutting down aspen trees daily was common here during the great depression. Less forest and more concentrated livestock operations make this difficult today.

Annuals are always one of the drought management ideas from the talking heads A big issue is that annuals don't grow well w/o rain, and you don't get much rain in a drought. Hummmm... I planted a lot of them last year. Spring and summer seeding were money losers. Got lucky with fall rains and some of later seedings paid off. All in all it was not cost effective. I would not seed UNINSURABLE annuals again until after it starts raining.

I did plant some insured corn this spring. If it rains - - combine the corn and then graze the stalks. If it does not rain - - have the insurance adjustor look at it and then graze it out. Should have done that last year.

A hay shed, a corn field, some poly wire, and a stock trailer are some of your best drought management tools.
Cutting down aspen trees daily was common here during the great depression. Less forest and more concentrated livestock operations make this difficult today.

Annuals are always one of the drought management ideas from the talking heads A big issue is that annuals don't grow well w/o rain, and you don't get much rain in a drought. Hummmm... I planted a lot of them last year. Spring and summer seeding were money losers. Got lucky with fall rains and some of later seedings paid off. All in all it was not cost effective. I would not seed UNINSURABLE annuals again until after it starts raining.

I did plant some insured corn this spring. If it rains - - combine the corn and then graze the stalks. If it does not rain - - have the insurance adjustor look at it and then graze it out. Should have done that last year.

[A hay shed, a corn field, some poly wire, and a stock trailer are some of your best drought management tools.]
Corn requires iron and oil between the sun and the ground and most of the time is about as economical to buy as grow unless you
are large enough to take advantage in the volume of scale. Not sure how dry it is there but I do know as you get further west
and south it gets very dry. West of there it is really tough. (I like the hay shed and poly wire!)
 

callmefence

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There's a couple of inherited pear burner rigs still in the loft of my barn. Lots of big ranches had trucks dedicated to pear burning to feed cows. Don't see it much anymore. We've killed most of the prickly pear with herbicide and when you need them for feed these days your usually under a burn ban and there's big liability concerns.
 

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