Sunday, May 16, 2010

How I move the Cow's fence

It has been a week now since I have increased the herd impact. I like what I am observing and how the animals are eating more of the grass in the smaller paddock. The cows were able to stay in an area for a week which I normally would have let them graze for a few days. This dose not mean that there has been a increase in the forage. What I think is going on is that since the cows are not roaming all over a large area they cannot be choosy of what they have before them to graze and they are forced to eat the undesirable plants. I have been giving the cows about a 90 x 20 foot strip to graze at a time. I am presently grazing the cow on the land next to our land it has some good soil and some poorer soil. The owner lets us graze our animals for free as long as we do not use permanent fencing this has worked out well for us and to have this extra land(about 18 acres) and we don't have to pay land tax! I am using pollywire and fiberglass posts to fence in the cows. I really like this wire it is very easy to set up an area to graze and can be quickly taken back down by reeling it up on a hand cranked spool that hangs on my neck. To set up an area I guess about how big to make the main fence and set this up. Then I take a second spool of pollywire and make a cross fence this makes the fourth side of the 90 x 2o foot strip paddock. So once this is all set up and the cows are in it only takes a few minutes to move the cows by moving the cross wires.
After the cows grazed this area I noticed that there is a lot of dead grass from last year. This is okay as it will add a lot of humus to the soil as it brakes down.
This is where the cows grazed last week the new growth can already be seen.

One thing I have been taking notice of is non grass plants in the pasture. This is a plantain plant we use it as a antihistamine when we get a wasp sting and I am sure that it also a good plant to have in the pasture since the animals eat it. Many plants that are called weeds are actually very good to have in the pasture since they are high in minerals and vitamins which unlike the trace minerals and vitamin shots is in a ready plant form that is not rejected by the body.
This is Rocket a type of wild mustard
This is Chicory it has a deep tap root that brings up minerals from the subsoil.
This plant looks like a grass but is actually a type of Sedge it grows in wooded areas. Also there are wetland Sedges that grow in swamps.

This is a Michigan native bunch grass it seems to be dead but new bunches are coming up next to it.
A close up photo of the new bunches
This is a good example why I like polywire. The fence line happened to intersect the backdrop of our shooting range it is very easy to make it follow irregulars in the landscape.

1 comment:

Addie said...

The fields look very healthy, David! I'm sure the cows are happy with them too!