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Stockpile ? for Fescue Fans

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kenny thomas

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Based on that setup, have you ever thought about using those tumble wheels? I am just thinking about having to move all those step-ins if it is really cold and raining. I have no idea what they cost though.

That is some good looking grass. At what point, if at all, do you brush hog it during the summer? After the first grazing?
As I have said before I am a lazy farmer. If they are giving rain I will put the polywire up a day or more ahead of needing it. I have several reels so put it up whenever and when I am ready to turn in that section I just roll up the previous one. I don't backfence when grazing stockpile .
The field in the picture is 8 acres. I will strip it multiple times as they graze. When I move to the next paddock I won't let them return to this one until spring unless I unroll some hay on it late in the winter.
 

sstterry

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Adding to that the hill in the background is much steeper than it appears. It takes a 4x4 tractor or truck to get up it.
I have a ton of those, I flipped a tractor when I was in high school(I am sure some on here are sorry I survived). It has taken me this long to go up and down hills, which my 80-year old father would do routinely. Sometimes, my butt could pinch a 20 penny nail going up some of them!
 
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Stocker Steve

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Based on that setup, have you ever thought about using those tumble wheels? I am just thinking about having to move all those step-ins if it is really cold and raining. I have no idea what they cost though.
Tumble wheels are U$S 75 to 80 each depending on volume.
Seems like an option if you are doing frequent moves.
May get the wife some for Christmas...
 

kenny thomas

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What would be the value of stockpiled fescue after it was under snow for 5 months?
I have no idea because we get almost no snow. Only way to know would be to test it. I actually think it might not be really bad because it is protected by the snow some.
Interesting question.
 

kenny thomas

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I have a ton of those, I flipped a tractor when I was in high school(I am sure some on here are sorry I survived). It has taken me this long to go up and down hills, which my 80-year old father would do routinely. Sometimes, my butt could pinch a 20 penny nail going up some of them!
I turned one over also as a teenager. But now places I once would have driven on with a 2 wheel drive tractor i won't even consider anymore.
 

RDFF

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I haven't seen it in person of course, so a grain of salt is appropriate, but from what I see, I think if that "hill" was mine, I'd strip it out "up and down" with semi-permanent single wire HT like every 200-300', and then just run up with the quad to move the lead polywire out in front of them , placed on the contour across the hill (on foot). Pretty simple, and alot cheaper and easier than trying to drag tumblewheels, IMO. When they get done with a strip, move them over to the next one using a lane at the bottom. I've got my pastures all stripped like this (200' wide give or take, X 1/2 mile long strips), only need about 3-4 "step-ins" when I move the lead wire. Couple minutes to make a move.
 

wbvs58

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I have a ton of those, I flipped a tractor when I was in high school(I am sure some on here are sorry I survived). It has taken me this long to go up and down hills, which my 80-year old father would do routinely. Sometimes, my butt could pinch a 20 penny nail going up some of them!
Well ss, I for one am pleased you survived.

Ken
 

BFE

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Well ss, I for one am pleased you survived.

Ken
And I as well. Although we may not agree on many issues (though you wouldn't know it, I try to stay off Coffee Shop, it normally degenerates into a pixxin' match) we should be secure enough in our beliefs to heartily disagree and still be civil.
 

RDFF

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How did u decide on 200' wide strips?
Well, honestly, I had put my crop farm into strips of about that width right from the start when I moved here 20+ years ago... a carryover from the farm I grew up on down on the bluffs above the Mississippi, and the contour strips we ran there. Because that ground was alot steeper, those strips couldn't be more than about 80' wide... my farm here is still rolling (more than most of those around me), but nothing like we had down there. My strips "kind of generally" are laid out on the contour here... but they run straight from one end to the other. I converted 140 acres this spring to pasture, and when I did that I took out the last of the actual "contour strips" that I had. Fencing a straight run is SO much easier!

The strips that I put in now I try to achieve a width that will work out with my 12 row equipment... so the last ones I did were 215' wide.... but that's not set in stone by any means.... just works out for the width across the farm evenly, and for my equipment. Ideally a little more wiggle room would be nice... or else my "Ought to Steer" system had better learn to drive a little more accurately :) ! That being said, I LIKE that 200' or so width.... really easy to work with, and when I'm moving the front lead fence, I can really easily carry everything I need... 3-4 step ins and a poly reel. How long does it take you to put in a 200' run of fence? Simple! Nice even number for calculating how much area you're giving the cows each day too. I put my line posts on the subdivision fences spaced at 50', so each span on those is about 10,000 sq. ft., or around 1/4 acre (the 215' width is even closer... 50 x 215 = 10,750 x 4 = 43,000 sq. ft... so 217.8' would be right on!). Sometimes I'm giving them 2 spans a day, sometimes 10... just depends on how it's growing and what your goal at the time is. But this gives you a really easy way to "calibrate" your speed across, and to calculate how much you've still got ahead of them. I'm not anal about "measuring" post spans... 20 paces.... hits it about right. This isn't rocket science.

I leave BOTH ends of my strips open on the subdivision fencing... WIDE... wider than I would normally keep as a headland on my cornfields (I typically put 24 rows = 60', and so I usually go 80' from the end with my subdivision fenceline)... that way I have plenty of room to turn around when cropping it, and, if I want, I CAN still put a headland on the ends of a cornfield, without having to remove my subdivision fences that run the length of the field. Then I can just farm lengthwise between the subdivision fences. I close off any strip I want at anytime with polywire. And then I can use that 80' "headland" as a lane to move the cattle anywhere on the farm I need to. If not grazing it, I hay it generally... unless I would decide to put a cash crop as a headland.

Obviously, any "width" will work. This is just a really workable width that I've landed on.

Disadvantage to running up and down the hill is the cattle will tend to make cowpaths the length of the strip if they have to walk anywhere... mine have had to walk back across what they've already grazed within a given strip, and then use that headland "lane", to get to water. Makes for a fair amount of traffic. I intend to put a buried waterline in the lane, with an outlet on every other subdivision fence this next year, to eliminate the traffic in the "lane". That's where the most impact has been happening, because they have had to use that "lane" no matter which field they're on, all summer long. On the specific strip they're grazing on, I only let them be on any one strip for no more than 3-4 days, to avoid "backgrazing" on the regrowth. Then it has time to recover again for 30-60 days or more before they'll be back on that one again, so it's not TOO bad there. If I ran a surface line under the subdivision fence, I could avoid all that traffic and potential backgrazing, and that's probably the best. Would have water right with the cattle all the time then.... and I expect it might improve rate of gain some too.

It's not an issue to walk the cattle to water... they've been doing that since the beginning of time. The exercise is good for them. The issue is the damage that they do to the field when walking, and the cow paths, that form a channel for water to run in. Having multiple watering spots will reduce the impact around each one of them as well, and give "time" for recovery there then too. The issue I see with putting a waterline under the subdivision fence MIGHT??? be that you'll potentially end up with a "dead area" at every one of them. Maybe if you had them placed like every 100' along it, that would pretty well disperse the traffic patterns and eliminate/really minimize it.... might have 3 or 4 or 5 even watering spots on any given day then, right where they're grazing........ Gets to be alot of water pipe though...................
 
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kenny thomas

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I have no idea because we get almost no snow. Only way to know would be to test it. I actually think it might not be really bad because it is protected by the snow some.
Interesting question.
I ask this question to our extension agent today. She stated as long as it stayed green under the snow she felt it would be pretty good still. Do you normally graze any excess when the snow melts
 
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Stocker Steve

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If the fescue tops get ahead of me I will bush hog to get the tops. And some paddocks always do. The one in the picture actually was not clipped this summer.
Adding to that the hill in the background is much steeper than it appears. It takes a 4x4 tractor or truck to get up it.
Sounds like you do not hay these hills in the summer. So how do you manage grazing your cattle - - when you have a lot more pasture in the spring and summer but are then stockpiling in the fall?

Is it all about clipping?
 

kenny thomas

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I can't hay it so yes it gets ahead of me. Only thing I get concerned about is the fescue tops. I normally graze fairly heavy through the spring flush and then move about 1/2-2/3 of the cows to two other farms that offer free pasture but I can't use them in the winter. That allows me adequate grass through the summer slump.
 

SmokinM

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Only on my second year of doing a stockpile type setup. I dont strip it out as small as I should but after cross fencing this year I can now and may try it next year. Sure is nice to not feed for 2+ months out of the winter. Especially during bear season! Cows do well on it and it saves me 150-200 rolls a year and all the time and wear and tear to feed them. It is easier to feed hay in August than January.
 
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Stocker Steve

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I am looking at a complicated scheme:
- move cows to a remote farm during summer, then bring them home in September
- run some yearlings, and taking one cut on the home place, before stockpiling for fall cow grazing

This would slash both my hay usage and my cow herd size. Bud said "better to make money on 10 head than to lose money on 100 head".
 
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RDFF

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I've been considering something similar, Steve. Strongly considering putting some Tall Fescue into my mix, specifically because of how well it does as "winter feed". Not very good in summer I guess, but after a hard freeze, the cattle absolutely love it, it stays green well, and it is tough enough to stand up under the weight of snow more than native grasses will. Might grow some corn in wide rows, with a good mix of cover crop including tall fescue between that, and maybe even leave some corn standing out there for winter grazing.

Don't think I'd be considering bringing the cows onto my "winter stockpiled feed" in September though... I'd hold off on that till as late as possible, and save it for Christmas and on.... and I'd expect that whatever they might not be able to get to in the deep of winter because of deep snow will still be there for them once it starts melting in spring.
 
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kenny thomas

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I am looking at a complicated scheme:
- move cows to a remote farm during summer, then bring them home in September
- run some yearlings, and taking one cut on the home place, before stockpiling for fall cow grazing

This would slash both my hay usage and my cow herd size. Bud said "better to make money on 10 head than to lose money on 100 head".
I probably make more on trade cattle than the ones I keep but my cost per cow per year is lower than most. I probably spend more on minerals than I do feeding hay. I could work harder, keep more cows and feed hay but I'm a lazy farmer.
Example of the trade cattle. This weekend I bought a Jersey x holstein steer weighing 1205 for .57. Thats cow price. Turned him out with a few cows and today sold him for over $100 profit.
Last weekend I bought a black bull weighing 1000 for .70 so $700. Took him to a friend to breed 3 cows. In exchange he will keep him until April 1. Already have 2 people wanting him next spring. I will get $1200 with the only expense being hauling him 10 miles 2 times.
 

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