Monday, May 23, 2016

Temporary fencing vs. bull

What happens when our bull tries to eat the grass on the other side of a temporary hot wire fence?  He somehow manages to get the fiberglass pole with a small wire clip stuck in his hair... runs through the pasture like a crazy bull... cowards by his girls until hubby takes it off!
We were out moving irrigation and watched the whole thing... it was pretty funny.  More importantly, maybe he learned his lesson and won't be sticking his head through the fence anymore!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Milking Highland Cattle

A few days ago I was worried that our new calf was only nursing on one side of her mama's udder.  So we put Mama cow in the squeeze shoot and milked her out on the other side to make sure her teats were small enough for her calf to suckle.  She didn't mind at all and I got a half gallon of fresh milk.

I made some fresh yogurt, thanks to a recipe from The Prairie Homestead.  Super simple to do, I made it in the evening, used my oven's proofing setting overnight, and woke up to homemade yogurt.  Yum!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Scheduling beef

If you haven't yet, it's time (or possibly past time) to schedule Fall butchering with your local butcher.  I called our butcher this week, and mobile farm visits are scheduled out all the way until the end of December so we will have to haul this Fall's steer into the butcher.  The soonest they had any openings was the end of October.  Glad I didn't wait any longer! 

Maybe this isn't a problem with farms that have a large number of animals going to beef every year and are on a normal schedule with their butcher, but I will definitely be marking the calendar to call earlier next Spring.  We like to butcher in the Fall before we have to start haying the cattle.  We've had years that we've made it until Thanksgiving on pasture so late October should work out good.

If you are interested in locally raised Highland beef, check out our 'For Sale' page for more information.

Heifer number three...

We welcomed the last calf of the season earlier this week, another heifer.  She was up on her feet and quite active when I went out to do morning chores.  By evening it was hard to catch her to give her BoSe  and vitamin A shots.  

Friday, May 6, 2016

Irrigation season

Irrigation season has now officially started in Western Oregon.  We replanted half of our pasture several weeks ago, and it seems to be growing well with all of the unseasonably warm weather we have been having.  We are fortunate to have water rights to pump out of the local canal system, so we don't have to rely on our well for watering the pasture.  Hopefully by late summer this pasture will be established enough for some light grazing.  In the mean time, all the cows are getting their fill on fresh grass in the other pasture.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Pasture rotation

When we got our first cattle, we really didn't do any rotational grazing.  It was just a few cows, and we had installed a nice 10 wire New Zealand style perimeter fence with an electric wire inside.  As our herd grew and we experienced growing pains we realized how important it was to rotate and utilize smaller pastures.  The cows always have their favorite areas they would overgraze and others they wouldn't touch.  

We have two main pastures separated by a fenced run (and our house/driveway).  We utilize this separation when the boys need to be kept away from the girls.  Within each pasture we have created many small paddocks, just enough for a few days grazing for the whole herd.  The paddocks are created using hot wire and fiberglass posts.  Yes... there's the occasional fence jumper, but for the most part it works good (as long as the charger is working and wires aren't grounding out).  

This cow made it through the hot wire used to separate paddocks, and was patiently waiting to be let 'back-out' when I got home from work one day this winter.  I guess the grass isn't always greener on the other side in January... when the rest of the cows have nice hay to eat in the barn!

We had contemplated installing t-post fencing before we invested too much in the fiberglass posts, but I like our 'temporary' fencing system when it's time for pasture maintenance.  I can drop the ends of the hot wires from the fiberglass posts and drive over the wire to fertilize everything at the same time.  Last year part of our pasture grew faster then the cows could graze, so we easily removed all of the inside paddock fencing so that we could hay the pasture.