Pasture rights...

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Well-known member
Feb 23, 2020
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Camden, TN
So I had an agreement with my neighbor that I can graze his grass as long as I care for it through the summer. Turned it green and thick from spotty, thin, dusty weeds. Well I spoke with his wife about two weeks ago, she mentioned how fast the grass came up after the rain. I told her the cows are already on rotation and will be on their way soon. So a few days later, while they are against the fence between our properties, he hired some one to cut it all down. Took the next days food away from my cows. Understand it's his but couldn't wait one more day? Seems spiteful... haven't seen him yet, but bummer I groomed his property all summer to make nice thick lush grazing. What a loss...
Haven't seen him yet. Didn't see him often before even when the cows were on his property or when I cared for it.
Unfortunately, this is not the 1st time this has happened and you aren't the first one it has happened to.
Not really enough information in your opening statement to form an opinion on your experience, but more likely than not, the owner probably likes a neat and smooth mowed piece of property and that doesn't go hand in hand with grazing. Even if you had gotten your cows on the grass, it probably still wouldn't be grazed evenly.

A well defined written lease goes a long way toward preventing this kind of thing.
We have one now that is the kind that is wanting all this "nice pretty green grass"... looking like a mowed lawn only 6-10 inches high so it is lightly waving in the breeze... and then cannot understand why we cannot give him that in every field at all times....
and another that proceeded to go through and say if we weren't going to cut the "hay" in the field... he thought it needed to be bush hogged... when it was grass we had stockpiled to move some weaned heifers in on... never have, never plan to "make hay" in there....not hay ground.....
but they have to have it look like the picture book perfect.... and always cut it too short and then we get a hot dry spell and cannot understand why it won't grow... and you can't get it through their heads that they have cut it so short that the ground gets "burnt" with no vegetative cover to shade the plants roots...
Sometimes rented ground is not worth the headaches of satisfying these know nothing people with more money and "book learning and research" than they have common sense....and NO practical experience with doing it themselves, because that would require time and money and they have other things that are more important to deal with..... they shouldn't be allowed to buy these places for outrageous prices.... and then those of us that try to keep the AG in Agricultural land could afford to pay for what the land can produce to pay for its' own self....
Yep... have had a bad day with a couple of landowners we lease from here lately....
It is hard to tell people what to do with there property!
I agree..... BUT when they come to you, and ask your opinion, and you give them some options... and then you do what you say you will do and things start to improve from what it was like when they bought it... in the one case, it was overgrazed, weedy, looked HORRIBLE and neglected...not been bush hogged or anything for years, and in the nearly 10 years, in the beginning of the lease; you have reclaimed it with judicious use and rest, and haying and fertilizing and spraying, and such... and then they decide, oh, it needs to be cut off for hay or this grass is better for grazing because it is a hot weather grass... and this whole "I have done research on it"...... and procedes to get certain parts of two fields put into this hot weather tolerant grass... even though one place they put it is in the lowest area with alot of trees so not exactly where it is hottest..and the other place is fenced off and along the road and no trees or other areas for relief from the sun.... and then do not do any type of fertilizing after the first year and it is "supposed to spread and fill in inbetween all the clumps with tillers"...and this is something we had to lose from the grazing area, while it "got established" and then expected us to do the bush hogging to keep it in a vegetative state... and after a meeting this summer, I tried to explain that the cattle do not even like it and that it gets way too fibrous and tough to eat, way too quick ; and it cannot be grazed like the rest of the pasture; it requires a different management... and it is a CLUMP GRASS and it will not look like the hayfield that is nice and even growth over all of it...and we are NOT going to be bush hogging or clipping it every 2 months either.... and I REFUSE to put my cattle in a field that has NO SHADE in the summer.... when we have 90-95 degree days, with the hot sun beating down, I will not force my animals to go without shade. They can do the bulk of their grazing in the cooler hours and they DO NOT HAVE to prove to me how tough they are out there in the heat. If they CHOOSE to graze during the heat of the day, God bless them. if they laze in the shade during the heat and are out there again late afternoon and graze into the night... that is perfectly acceptable... If they stay fat and happy, raise a calf and breed back, they can graze in whatever pattern they want... but they will not be limited to these fields without shade from the summer sun, even for a week or 2....
So yep.... their land, they can do what they want... BUT after doing exactly what we said we would do, and improving it so that the ground is productive and looks well cared for, now they have both "retired" and done research into this and that and the other, they have become more knowledgeable of what will work and what should be done.... yet, you never see any of them at the extension sponsored programs on forages or grazing or anything...
We go to all that we can... and try to continue to learn... and don't throw out what works while trying something else in a small spot..... and work with the cattle to make their life a little more comfortable and enjoyable...and make us a little profit at the same time...
It is hard to tell people what to do with there property!
You otta try wearing my moccasins! Work for the NRCS and give people money....supposedly for doing what you tell them to do on their property. The people want the money, but not to do what you tell them to!
It is hard to tell people what to do with there property!
Then they should not be entering into agreements! Verbal or otherwise.

Agree that a written contract would have been better so there would be an avenue to recover damages, but its difficult when you want to believe not everyone is a lying cheat.
I've been dealing with this one place lately. Pretty sure I nipped it in the bud though. Sure hope so.

They mowed down about 7 acres that was thigh deep warm season grass a few weeks back, during a poor growing year. Had a few weeds on it... sure. They've listed the property for sale after we had our agreement and want it pretty now. They can make it pretty after I pull my animals off later this Fall, or I'm out. Haven't paid them yet, and am not beyond doing a prorated thing and washing my hands.

I'm really getting tired of most people not being decent or considerate. We had just talked about it and I asked them if they could wait to mow it behind my cows. I was assured that was just fine.


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