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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Swath Grazing

So this year we are trying something different, partly on purpose and partly cause it would not quit raining this summer long enough to get the oats baled and when it finally did our baler broke down so we said stuff it (or something like that) and lets just swath graze.  The only problem is its 2 miles from the normal winter pasture on flat ground and there is only a dugout out there.  Well we moved them out of the creek field on a cold day, glad I was driving that day!  and into a small field where Neil fed them for a few days, its thier least favorite field but they were OK in there this time.
(looking out the bedroom window they already want out)

(but they went back to eating after a bit)

And then on a half nice day he got Bob and I got the bale truck and away we went, out the field onto the road and into the swath field.  The cows were kinda slow going they followed the truck pretty good through the first gate and out it was going well then we got to the curve where we meet up with the road and the cows took off down the road, what am I to do but follow, they were headed the right direction so far and so I guess let them go.
(in the mirror, cows eating off my bales)

(and following along, some of thier white markings are sure different)

(and passing me)

(there they go, bye, bye cows)

  They went about half mile and stopped, waited for me and I caught up and went off road and they followed again, right into the field. Then they saw the oats and were quite happy about that!
(mm delicious, if you zoom, 
you can see Neil and Bob in the background bringing up the stragglers)

All in all took about an hour, we expected a lot longer, probly 2 hours was more likely but it was nice to be quicker than expected for a change.  We didn't feed them the bales from the truck they were not interested and so we headed home and Neil went out later to chop a water hole in the dugout.  He also ut our portable panels out there with windbreak slabs on it so they have some protection from the wind if it gets cold again.  So far they haven't used it at all and seem quite happy out there.  We shall see how long it lasts, Neil expects 2 months I think he will have to start feeding some hay before then to keep them happy in there.
(using a bar to chop the ice open)

(then a shovel)

(to scoop out all the ice chips)

After that they will get led back to the regular winter pasture and continue getting fed till spring comes.  Will save a lot of chore time, only has to chop a water hole rather than feed bales.  And today on the way to visit the neighbors we stopped o chop the water hole and I took pics lol.  This warm weather sure makes it a lot pleasanter (and easier chopping), less than 5 minutes today


TeresaA said...

It's always fascinating reading about Ranch life but what is 'swathgrazing'?

Crystal said...

Swath grazing is exactly as it sounds. We cut our field of oats into swaths and left it and the cows are now eating it, grazing sorta

TeresaA said...

ahh! thanks!

Shirley said...

That worked out good, better than trying to bale it wet. Chopping ice is no fun especially if it gets really cold again, but at least it doesn't take long compared to doing full chores.