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Thread: Mob (or planned high density) grazing

  1. #31
    maxxuum-man
    Guest

    Re: Mob (or planned high density) grazing

    IMO
    Your covers are too high. At this time of the year you should be cycling every ~20 days. Swarth quality will deplete after a few years of this, and many issues will arise. Any rye grass in the swarth will die out and be replaces with lower grade weed grasses. Also max output of grasses will not be achieved. You will stunt the grass too much.That's the swarth.
    For the animals, grass is at it's best feed value as it just enters it's 3 leaf stage, after this there is a big drop off in DMD, you can get animals to eat it, but the feed value isn't there. As you hold back animals to get control of that section, the next is gone out of control. It is a vicious circle. You are lucky at the moment that the weather is dry. You will not be able to graze those swarths in bad conditions.
    You need to control the grazing, to the point that you are achieving your correct cycle times, you are able to graze down to 3.5 - 4 cms without putting the animal under pressure, and you are entering sections as they have coverage entering the 3 leaf stage.

  2. #32
    y fan wen
    Guest

    Re: Mob (or planned high density) grazing

    Quote Originally Posted by NZBob View Post
    My brother has an Californian girlfriend at the moment, she was very impressed that we did grass feed beef, surprised that McDonald's were buying it though.
    Anyone familiar with Tom Clancy's novels will know that he looks with contempt on grass finished beef.

  3. #33
    johnspeehs
    Guest

    Re: Mob (or planned high density) grazing

    i heard the guy say on one of the youtube clips that they were stocking at 275000lbs per acre. correct me if im wrong but does that work out at 250cows per acre.??that may work well in america but in co antrim where i come from a wet week would soon put an end to any grazing plans i had at those kind of stocking rates.:cry: Is it hard to get the cows used to eating the harder swards??,, my bbx cows would be roaring looking a change after a cpl of hrs if i tried to get them to eat those type of swards.

  4. #34
    Willscale
    Guest

    Re: Mob (or planned high density) grazing

    Quote Originally Posted by y fan wen View Post
    Anyone familiar with Tom Clancy's novels will know that he looks with contempt on grass finished beef.
    As do the Japanese. And as actually would most of the USA because the work needed to get consistency vs feedlot.

  5. #35
    The ruminant
    Guest

    Re: Mob (or planned high density) grazing

    Quote Originally Posted by maxxuum-man View Post
    IMO
    Your covers are too high. At this time of the year you should be cycling every ~20 days. Swarth quality will deplete after a few years of this, and many issues will arise. Any rye grass in the swarth will die out and be replaces with lower grade weed grasses. Also max output of grasses will not be achieved. You will stunt the grass too much.That's the swarth.
    For the animals, grass is at it's best feed value as it just enters it's 3 leaf stage, after this there is a big drop off in DMD, you can get animals to eat it, but the feed value isn't there. As you hold back animals to get control of that section, the next is gone out of control. It is a vicious circle. You are lucky at the moment that the weather is dry. You will not be able to graze those swarths in bad conditions.
    You need to control the grazing, to the point that you are achieving your correct cycle times, you are able to graze down to 3.5 - 4 cms without putting the animal under pressure, and you are entering sections as they have coverage entering the 3 leaf stage.
    Maxxuum Man,
    Your certainty about this got me worried for a while. Am I going to have less grass output this year, and will I end up with poor, under-performing, weed-filled pastures in a year or two? Are my cows suffering because they're getting low quality forage? Am I losing growth rate in my calves, ditto?

    Who knows, as I've said previously, you might be right. However, for what they're worth, here are my thoughts on the points you've raised:

    (1) Re the 'too high covers/die-back of ryegrass to be replaced with poorer quality weed grasses'.

    We cut our silage ground last Wednesday 2nd June. This land had exactly the same amount of grass cover on it as the grazing ground has at the moment, pre-grazing. I would not expect the silage ground to suffer from ryegrass die-back because it has been left until then before being cut; also, whilst it won't make rocket fuel, it will make very palatable silage (high 60's D value, I'm estimating, based on previous years). Grazing in a mob takes off the grass almost exactly like the mowing machine does, but with the added benefit that gallons of urine and hundreds of cow pats are spread around and trodden into the soil. Therefore, why will grazing now be detrimental to sward quality but mowing won't be?

    (2) Re the low DMD - as mentioned, I'm grazing the ground at exactly the same growth stage / quality stage as I'm making silage. I'll be very happy to feed this grass (in the form of silage) all winter, even though the silage-making process results in the loss of a few nutrients, therefore, why would I not be happy feeding the fresh stuff of equivalent, or slightly higher, feed value?

    Also, last year, because silage stocks were running low by Christmas, I switched the spring calving sucklers onto a diet of ad-lib wheat straw with c.3kg/hd of milled wheat/protein pellet. They came through the winter exceptionally well on it, demonstrating their ability to utilise very low quality fibrous material. This grass is luxury by comparison.

    I'm very aware that I musn't let the grass mature until it sets its seed, otherwise everything you've predicted will probably come true - ie the grass will enter a dormant phase and weed species will be able to colonise and become dominant.

    I should re-emphasise that these are suckler cows. They are not 50+ litres/day holsteins with exceptionally high feed requirements. Their BCS tells its own story, which is that they're getting exactly what they need; likewise the sheen on the calves suggests the same.

    (3) Wet weather. Hmmm, you might be right, especially in the early years, before I have built up the humus levels in the soil. Time will tell and as said before, I won't hide anything.

    Finally, thanks for your post, it's really good to be challenged. It has made me think through all my actions, again, very carefully, and is exactly why I did the original post. Cheers.

  6. #36
    Willscale
    Guest

    Re: Mob (or planned high density) grazing

    Quote Originally Posted by johnspeehs View Post
    i heard the guy say on one of the youtube clips that they were stocking at 275000lbs per acre. correct me if im wrong but does that work out at 250cows per acre.??that may work well in america but in co antrim where i come from a wet week would soon put an end to any grazing plans i had at those kind of stocking rates.:cry: Is it hard to get the cows used to eating the harder swards??,, my bbx cows would be roaring looking a change after a cpl of hrs if i tried to get them to eat those type of swards.
    I'm really searching hard for my slide of the rooting depths of short grass versus long grass but can't find it. But longer roots = better moisture absorption so you may be see a change in the water cycle - "catch every raindrop and utilise it where it falls" I was told to aim.

    They can do up 1,000,000 lbs/ acre sometimes. These would be moved very often though - four times a day. This is where you need to weigh up the quality of life issues vs. stocking density. This takes a while and a lot of discipline but I would think 250 cows an acre is perfectly feasible with a contingency plan for those 40mm rain days. On breeds the ones I came across were Gelbvieh, South Poll, Angus (obviously), Hereford. ..

    These swards aren't hard. The diversity of species means nothing flower's and hardens off all at the same time so - its a smorgasboard. Different species, different maturing phases. One often quote phrase I remember was that if you went to a buffet dinnner would you want to eat just sausage rolls or would you want to have a little bit of everything? The same with ryegrass and cows!

  7. #37
    The ruminant
    Guest

    Re: Mob (or planned high density) grazing

    Quote Originally Posted by Willscale View Post
    I'm really searching hard for my slide of the rooting depths of short grass versus long grass but can't find it. But longer roots = better moisture absorption so you may be see a change in the water cycle - "catch every raindrop and utilise it where it falls" I was told to aim.
    I read somewhere (but can't find it again) that what happens is the organic matter in the soil increases. As this happens, earthworms, mycorrhizae, etc increase in number. Their tunnels aerate the soil. Moles follow, and their burrows are natural drainage channels too. Pretty soon, the soil is like a massive sponge, and when rain falls, it soaks in very quickly instead of lying in the top inch or two of soil/mud.

    That's the theory! I too doubt it would work in practice in County Antrim, Johnspeehs, with your rainfalls, whereas here in Hertfordshire we're more likely to get long dry spells for much of the summer (at least until the combine comes out of the shed). If I can improve my soil structure enough to retain water and deal with the occasional wet spell, then I'll know I'm on the right track with this method.

  8. #38
    Khan
    Guest

    Re: Mob (or planned high density) grazing

    It looks a very interesting theory but I get the impression it is targeted more at the US where there is more potential for a dryer summer and leaving more grass cover would help stop moisture evaporation and the sward dying back. I would be worried bout the base of the sward becoming yellow and stemmy and god knows what wet weather would do with 250 cows per acre. Thats a beast to a 13ft square.

  9. #39
    BSH
    Guest

    Re: Mob (or planned high density) grazing

    understand the theory, but I cant believe you can run stocking rates high enough to make it work in the uk. Will what are the stocking rates you have come across in the states over the holdings you visited. I dont mean the daily stocking rate but the rate over a whole 12 month period allowing for a single silage cut accross the holding for the winter? I cant believe that you can have a dense enough stocking rate to pay the rent in the uki. I think it can work on big arable units in rotation but how many animal do the americans think you can keep on 300 acres?

  10. #40
    organic guy
    Guest

    Re: Mob (or planned high density) grazing

    Quote Originally Posted by The ruminant View Post
    Maxxuum Man,
    Your certainty about this got me worried for a while. Am I going to have less grass output this year, and will I end up with poor, under-performing, weed-filled pastures in a year or two? Are my cows suffering because they're getting low quality forage? Am I losing growth rate in my calves, ditto?

    Who knows, as I've said previously, you might be right. However, for what they're worth, here are my thoughts on the points you've raised:

    (1) Re the 'too high covers/die-back of ryegrass to be replaced with poorer quality weed grasses'.

    We cut our silage ground last Wednesday 2nd June. This land had exactly the same amount of grass cover on it as the grazing ground has at the moment, pre-grazing. I would not expect the silage ground to suffer from ryegrass die-back because it has been left until then before being cut; also, whilst it won't make rocket fuel, it will make very palatable silage (high 60's D value, I'm estimating, based on previous years). Grazing in a mob takes off the grass almost exactly like the mowing machine does, but with the added benefit that gallons of urine and hundreds of cow pats are spread around and trodden into the soil. Therefore, why will grazing now be detrimental to sward quality but mowing won't be?

    (2) Re the low DMD - as mentioned, I'm grazing the ground at exactly the same growth stage / quality stage as I'm making silage. I'll be very happy to feed this grass (in the form of silage) all winter, even though the silage-making process results in the loss of a few nutrients, therefore, why would I not be happy feeding the fresh stuff of equivalent, or slightly higher, feed value?

    Also, last year, because silage stocks were running low by Christmas, I switched the spring calving sucklers onto a diet of ad-lib wheat straw with c.3kg/hd of milled wheat/protein pellet. They came through the winter exceptionally well on it, demonstrating their ability to utilise very low quality fibrous material. This grass is luxury by comparison.

    I'm very aware that I musn't let the grass mature until it sets its seed, otherwise everything you've predicted will probably come true - ie the grass will enter a dormant phase and weed species will be able to colonise and become dominant.

    I should re-emphasise that these are suckler cows. They are not 50+ litres/day holsteins with exceptionally high feed requirements. Their BCS tells its own story, which is that they're getting exactly what they need; likewise the sheen on the calves suggests the same.

    (3) Wet weather. Hmmm, you might be right, especially in the early years, before I have built up the humus levels in the soil. Time will tell and as said before, I won't hide anything.

    Finally, thanks for your post, it's really good to be challenged. It has made me think through all my actions, again, very carefully, and is exactly why I did the original post. Cheers.
    Ruminant
    You have thought this through very carefully and I think you are on the nail
    press on and keep us informed

  11. #41
    BSH
    Guest

    Re: Mob (or planned high density) grazing

    As above really interested to hear how you get on. I am sure what you are doing is right but i dont see it working on a smaller holding. what is your stocking rate accroos the grazing area?Persumably you are going to get the equivalent of two silage cuts accross the holding and are going to house the cattle for 5 months?%0% of the first cut will be needed for the winter feedor so giving only half the acerage for grazing. even then i imagine you will need 25% of the area for grazing because you wont be able to graze the aftermaths for a while. Would be interested to hear your calculations as I cant think it is sustainable on a small acerage.

  12. #42
    DHUGILL
    Guest

    Re: Mob (or planned high density) grazing

    Regarding root systems of long grass v short the Americans told me that the height of what you see above ground will be replicated in the soil with depth of roots therefore constantly grazed grass will never have the chance to develop a deep rooting system.Likewise a tall mature plant will have a good deep root system.When these plants are grazed a proportion of the root dies back is broken down by soil microbes and is deposited in the soil as carbon which is where the "saving the planet" bit comes into the mob grazing

  13. #43
    johnspeehs
    Guest

    Re: Mob (or planned high density) grazing

    So does this mean i no longer would need to buy expensive grass seed ?will the sward fill out of its own accord or do i have to sow diffrent species into the pasture?

    does it mean i will see a dramatic reduction in the amount of bagged nitrogen i need to use?

    will i be able to enter my topper for the next machinery sale in my local market.??

    All the above would definatley be of interest to me as i want to really cut costs to be able to continue in suckler cows.however I think this is only gonna be successful on large scale operations as there would be very little options for small scale farms if we were to get a wet season.

    Only problem i have in my area is id be branded as a very poor grassland manager as everyone round me uses a topper like a lawnmower,,total waste of good grass in my opinion.

    excellent thread bringing some much needed debate on new ways of making the best of the cheapest cattle feed we have,,,,,, grass...

  14. #44
    Willscale
    Guest

    Re: Mob (or planned high density) grazing

    Quote Originally Posted by BSH View Post
    understand the theory, but I cant believe you can run stocking rates high enough to make it work in the uk. Will what are the stocking rates you have come across in the states over the holdings you visited. I dont mean the daily stocking rate but the rate over a whole 12 month period allowing for a single silage cut accross the holding for the winter? I cant believe that you can have a dense enough stocking rate to pay the rent in the uki. I think it can work on big arable units in rotation but how many animal do the americans think you can keep on 300 acres?
    I wouldn't like to say. There are so many variables.

    Quote Originally Posted by BSH View Post
    As above really interested to hear how you get on. I am sure what you are doing is right but i dont see it working on a smaller holding. what is your stocking rate accroos the grazing area?Persumably you are going to get the equivalent of two silage cuts accross the holding and are going to house the cattle for 5 months?%0% of the first cut will be needed for the winter feedor so giving only half the acerage for grazing. even then i imagine you will need 25% of the area for grazing because you wont be able to graze the aftermaths for a while. Would be interested to hear your calculations as I cant think it is sustainable on a small acerage.
    These guys talk about Animal Days per Acre but it takes some understanding. Some of these guys just summer feed, some put them out onto extensive grazing of cornstalks in the winter. It is a summer based system and so you would be pushing it to try and stock the same in the winter as the summer. BUT - I'd say the first focus is to use it to maybe extend the season and to need less silage and then see how you get on. In not topping and having more forage ahead of him than normal The Ruminant has already gained.

    I'd say the principles are sound and would need tweaking for locality.

  15. #45
    devils advocate
    Guest

    Re: Mob (or planned high density) grazing

    Quote Originally Posted by DHUGILL View Post
    Regarding root systems of long grass v short the Americans told me that the height of what you see above ground will be replicated in the soil with depth of roots therefore constantly grazed grass will never have the chance to develop a deep rooting system.Likewise a tall mature plant will have a good deep root system.When these plants are grazed a proportion of the root dies back is broken down by soil microbes and is deposited in the soil as carbon which is where the "saving the planet" bit comes into the mob grazing
    So if you take a crop of hay the grass will have a large root system, what happens if you then keep the grass grazed tight surely the deep roots will remain.

    Personally I'm a keen fan of paddock grazing but think this mob grazing is purely for cattle on deep soils in arid parts of the world. Not suitable for this country.

  16. #46
    Willscale
    Guest

    Re: Mob (or planned high density) grazing

    Quote Originally Posted by johnspeehs View Post
    So does this mean i no longer would need to buy expensive grass seed ?will the sward fill out of its own accord or do i have to sow diffrent species into the pasture?

    does it mean i will see a dramatic reduction in the amount of bagged nitrogen i need to use?

    will i be able to enter my topper for the next machinery sale in my local market.??

    All the above would definatley be of interest to me as i want to really cut costs to be able to continue in suckler cows.however I think this is only gonna be successful on large scale operations as there would be very little options for small scale farms if we were to get a wet season.

    Only problem i have in my area is id be branded as a very poor grassland manager as everyone round me uses a topper like a lawnmower,,total waste of good grass in my opinion.

    excellent thread bringing some much needed debate on new ways of making the best of the cheapest cattle feed we have,,,,,, grass...
    Yes to the first three questions. Definitely. You can mob graze with two cows if they are tight enough.

    But yes your neighbours would certainly arch an eyebrow as would all the research institutions.

    Its hard to comment on wet seasons but if you were genuinely interested then just try it like what the OP has done. Give it a go, get some fencing, Greg Judy's Comeback Farms book, read a little on Holistic Management and try it. And let us know how you get on - what is there to lose? A little bit of electric fencing and some alkathene pipe maybe.

  17. #47
    Willscale
    Guest

    Re: Mob (or planned high density) grazing

    Quote Originally Posted by devils advocate View Post
    So if you take a crop of hay the grass will have a large root system, what happens if you then keep the grass grazed tight surely the deep roots will remain.

    Personally I'm a keen fan of paddock grazing but think this mob grazing is purely for cattle on deep soils in arid parts of the world. Not suitable for this country.
    Its done in Hawaii. 120" rain a year. I know why you say what you do though.

    If you graze it tight you will diminish the root system because the grass will feed of its roots in order to photosynthesise. I have a good document which i will scan tomorrow.

  18. #48
    devils advocate
    Guest

    Re: Mob (or planned high density) grazing

    Quote Originally Posted by Willscale View Post
    Its done in Hawaii. 120" rain a year. I know why you say what you do though.

    If you graze it tight you will diminish the root system because the grass will feed of its roots in order to photosynthesise. I have a good document which i will scan tomorrow.
    Why then if for any reason I have to graze second cut rather than mow it. I end up having to reseed the field because the trampled grass makes a mat that only docks & thistles will grow through.

  19. #49
    OogieM
    Guest

    Re: Mob (or planned high density) grazing

    Quote Originally Posted by Willscale View Post
    I agree sheep are a lot more difficult.
    Not all sheep , only most British breeds of sheep. ;-) Seriously, there are breeds here that won't step 10 feet away from the flock that do fine mob grazed that way. Anything on range with significant predator pressure has been highly selected to not stray from the main flock and the guardian dogs. Those that strayed got killed by bears, mountain lions or coyotes really fast. Doesn't take long to develop flock instinct in that situation.

  20. #50
    OogieM
    Guest

    Re: Mob (or planned high density) grazing

    [QUOTE=organic guy;463122Fascinated about root loss figures with consumption of top growth.[/QUOTE]

    Let me see if I can find a link to the grazing research that was done here at Colorado State University. They grew paddocks of various grasses, grazed them or mowed them and then dug them up and measured roots at various stages. It was fascinating, just have to see if I can find a copy I can send you a link to.

  21. #51
    JD_Kid
    Guest

    Re: Mob (or planned high density) grazing

    intresting no ones realy said grass grows grass and taken in to account how animals eat cows are built to eat long rank feed but people force feed them short grasses and wonder why they have probs ..

    more chance of paddocked running out under poor grazeing as better grasses grazed out weeds left hit and run a better system let's the light in deeper rooting etc etc keep in mind what seems new age is realy old hat most of it from low input systems of the past ..

    like most things in the agri world nothing is realy new sure it may be tuned a bit but it's not new

  22. #52
    Willscale
    Guest

    Re: Mob (or planned high density) grazing

    Quote Originally Posted by JD_Kid View Post
    intresting no ones realy said grass grows grass and taken in to account how animals eat cows are built to eat long rank feed but people force feed them short grasses and wonder why they have probs ..

    more chance of paddocked running out under poor grazeing as better grasses grazed out weeds left hit and run a better system let's the light in deeper rooting etc etc keep in mind what seems new age is realy old hat most of it from low input systems of the past ..

    like most things in the agri world nothing is realy new sure it may be tuned a bit but it's not new
    Yes a cow generally likes to wrap his tongue around stuff and pull it off. This isn't new completely but little things like electric fencing, alkathene, quad bikes, knowledge of soil biology and grass rooting, climate change even mean that there is renewed interest.

    But its not all that different from what Andre Voisin and Newman Turner thought about.

  23. #53
    Willscale
    Guest

    Re: Mob (or planned high density) grazing

    Quote Originally Posted by devils advocate View Post
    Why then if for any reason I have to graze second cut rather than mow it. I end up having to reseed the field because the trampled grass makes a mat that only docks & thistles will grow through.
    Docks are a sign of overgrazing. Persistently biting off grass plants and not allowing them to reach their potential, increases docks and thistles. You will get them in these sorts of systems but not excessively because you would be trampling them in as well and outcompeting them. If you set stock onto a second cut you will end up with overgrazing and undergrazing in different parts of the field - mob forces them to deal with what's in front and they get used to it.

    Trampling is a bit of an art apparently. If you stick animals in a pasture your aiming them to take about 60% to eat. You want about 20% trampling and this means the animal impact of hooves pushing down the grass to contact with the soil. It is important to aim for a lot of physical touching of old grass with the soil - if its a bit too up in the air or off the ground the microbes physically can't not jump up to reprocess it. So essentially that will oxidise - but you want the ground to recycle your nutrients not let it carbonise!

  24. #54
    The ruminant
    Guest

    Re: Mob (or planned high density) grazing

    Quote Originally Posted by JD_Kid View Post
    hit and run a better system let's the light in deeper rooting etc etc

    keep in mind what seems new age is realy old hat most of it from low input systems of the past ..

    like most things in the agri world nothing is realy new sure it may be tuned a bit but it's not new
    JD_Kid, what you say about there being nothing new is absolutely right. A year, or more, ago, I read a reprint of an old article from the early 1900's about a progressive dairy farmer who was buying up derelict land on the South Downs, fencing it and running dairy cows tightly on it for long enough to clean up the scrub, weeds, etc then moving them on to the next patch of land. From what I remember, it was exactly the same as mob grazing, (and this was 80 years ago). Within two or three years, the land had been converted to incredibly productive pastures.

    I can't find the article now (if anyone knows of it, please let me know as I'd be really interested to read it again) but it reinforces what you say, there's nothing new in farming. Things get forgotten and have to be re-learned.

  25. #55
    The ruminant
    Guest

    Re: Mob (or planned high density) grazing

    Quote Originally Posted by Willscale View Post
    If you set stock onto a second cut you will end up with overgrazing and undergrazing in different parts of the field - mob forces them to deal with what's in front and they get used to it.
    It's an interesting point about them getting used to eating what's in front of them. Yesterday, I moved the cows into a new block that was overrun with creeping thistles - I would estimate 50% of the growth in the block (c.0.5acres) was thistles, the rest being grass. These are thistles that are approaching maturity, ie I could see the flower buds forming at the top of each one.

    Normally, at about this time of year, we have to come into this patch with the topper and knock them down, then repeat every few weeks through the rest of summer.

    However, when I moved the cattle out of the strip this morning, there were maybe only half a dozen thistle plants still standing (which I went round and kicked off with my heel - it took a couple of minutes). The majority had been grazed right off, so not only have I got excellent control of the thistles, but also most of the nutrients the thistles contained are now inside the cow or deposited back on the surface as manure. I'm not sure what the feed value of a thistle is, but there must be something in there for the cows.

  26. #56
    Pedders
    Guest

    Re: Mob (or planned high density) grazing

    interesting thread Ruminant and great to see someone having a go at this and it looks like successfully too
    I think the the person you refer to may be Arthur Hosier who built his fortune based on outdoor milking bails on the wiltshire downs
    link to a talk he gave in 1929 is here
    http://www.journeytoforever.org/farm...st_hosier.html

    the more you look into it the more we seem to have forgotten

    other interesting stuff about using overwintered grass or foggage
    from the clifton park system
    '
    But in one part of the country the practice of saving growing grass for future use was much further extended, and Arthur Young, under the heading of 'fog', observes that it is a term given in South Wales to the growth of the whole year kept till the ensuing winter and spring, a practice commonly found nowhere else. On dry sound land that will not poach, the whole crop of grass is kept in Cardigan without being mown or fed; stock of all sorts fed in depth of winter without any other food, and always in excellent order. It kills moss, and much improves the pastures; nor will an acre of the best hay support so much cattle as one acre of fog. The grass is much improved by the quantity of seeds that fall'

    imagine how much that could save not making any hay or silage or buying any straw



    http://journeytoforever.org/farm_lib.../clifton4.html

  27. #57
    The ruminant
    Guest

    Re: Mob (or planned high density) grazing

    Quote Originally Posted by Pedders View Post
    interesting thread Ruminant and great to see someone having a go at this and it looks like successfully too
    I think the the person you refer to may be Arthur Hosier who built his fortune based on outdoor milking bails on the wiltshire downs
    link to a talk he gave in 1929 is here
    http://www.journeytoforever.org/farm...st_hosier.html

    the more you look into it the more we seem to have forgotten

    other interesting stuff about using overwintered grass or foggage
    from the clifton park system
    '
    But in one part of the country the practice of saving growing grass for future use was much further extended, and Arthur Young, under the heading of 'fog', observes that it is a term given in South Wales to the growth of the whole year kept till the ensuing winter and spring, a practice commonly found nowhere else. On dry sound land that will not poach, the whole crop of grass is kept in Cardigan without being mown or fed; stock of all sorts fed in depth of winter without any other food, and always in excellent order. It kills moss, and much improves the pastures; nor will an acre of the best hay support so much cattle as one acre of fog. The grass is much improved by the quantity of seeds that fall'


    http://journeytoforever.org/farm_lib.../clifton4.html
    Pedders, I'm indebted, Arthur Hosier was the man and this was exactly the article I was referring to.

    There's nothing new in farming, all that's new is our understanding of why things happen.

  28. #58
    BSH
    Guest

    Re: Mob (or planned high density) grazing

    Thanks Will for the info. Having found some more info last night on the web it does look as you say as mainly a summer grazing tool so it has limitations but as you say there is scope to mitigate early season shortages with say forage rye or similar. From other stuff on the web it does look difficult to manage calving cows etc but some flexibility could be brought in or calving dates changed. Well done ruminant for getting it going.

  29. #59
    Willscale
    Guest

    Re: Mob (or planned high density) grazing

    Quote Originally Posted by BSH View Post
    Thanks Will for the info. Having found some more info last night on the web it does look as you say as mainly a summer grazing tool so it has limitations but as you say there is scope to mitigate early season shortages with say forage rye or similar. From other stuff on the web it does look difficult to manage calving cows etc but some flexibility could be brought in or calving dates changed. Well done ruminant for getting it going.
    For calving cows some people say to try and get the cow and calf to stay behind for a day or two. I don't know how possible this is but it would give them a bit of space at least.

    The only thing with forage rye etc. is that it means your planting, sowing, spending ,fertilising and so whilst it could work in an arable/ stock rotation (see Gabe Brown Ranch, ND) ideally if your just cattle you want to get rid of those sorts of cost. So you kind of gotta decide which direction you want to head in. Strip away your costs or keep them and hope cash crops fund the gear.

    Personally I think Ruminant has got it bang on to start with. He's started at the easiest time of year and is not yet prepared to sacrifice his silage etc. I think he will find that he has more fodder than he knows what to do with in a couple of years but equally the trade off is that winter shedding for some months of the year is still a probability so although the fixed costs of a shed may not be reduced the winter season could be conceivably shortened by about 3 months. Maybe....

    Arthur Hollins was another name that springs to mind about foggage. His kids run the Fordhall farm next to the muller factory I think. I'm not totally sold on foggage yet as I think the summer grazing is the place to start.

  30. #60
    cozzie
    Guest

    Re: Mob (or planned high density) grazing

    so how much grass are you expecting to grow compared to say an intensive stocked grass paddock. This system my work where land is not a limiting factor. I remember being told that the best bit of fattening grass was what grew overnight and grazed the following morning in set stocking.

    I dont understand how in this proposed system the grass plant will have a better rooting system, if the soil biology and all other factors are equal, what is the explanation

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