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Old 12-16-2013, 08:32 AM
 
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Thanks for all the suggestions and info. The Purdue Ext article is very useful. The "Number of animals per Paddock" formula is exactly what I was looking for. I guess you think you know what it means by rotational grazing, as I guessed you would graze on one section for a month and then open the other. It was very interesting to hear how often they should be moved.

I should note, our goal is to raise some cattle as a hobby and I would expect or hope to at least break even. I know I will have to buy hay and other suppliments during the cold months.

Question on pasture. The land currently holds alfalfa. Do I seed other pasture grass into the alfalfa? Or do you have to completely start over? I guess I don't even know if alfalfa should be part of a pasture. Thanks again for all the replys.
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Old 12-16-2013, 11:21 AM
 
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Straight alfalfa is a bad pasture due to bloat.

Since alfalfa loses its productivity after a few years due to thinning................I would rent it out until it thins then work up and re-seed with a legume grass mixture.

My favorite has always been orchard grass and red clover ( not too heavy on the red clover due to bloat ,also )

Some people prefer the new fescue varieties and the newer brome grass varieties, also.
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Old 12-16-2013, 09:49 PM
 
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So Brent, how about these possibilities:

1) You buy 2 cow/calf pairs (going for about $1,850/pair) with February/March calves, keeping them on five acres for the spring and summer. You hay the other half on shares. Two cuttings, (3 big round bales/acre x 5 acres x 2 cuttings) Your share would be 15 bales that you could feed for the winter. Sell off the calves in the late fall after weaning them for a month. Have good fences and be prepared for lots of sad mooing.

Let the two mama cows graze the entire 10 acres for the winter. Breed the cows so that they would calve the following late winter/early spring, and the process could start over again.

Or....

2)buy four to five weaned beef calves to put out when the grass comes in. Let them graze the entire 10 acres, and sell them in the fall with a few hundred pounds of gain each. No hay needed over the winter. Repeat in the spring.

Don't know enough to give any advice on how to turn an alfalfa field into pasture. Ted and Fred seem to have a good handle on that.

Last edited by tambre; 12-16-2013 at 09:56 PM.. Reason: good fencing, not goo fencing...sounds icky.
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Old 12-17-2013, 09:14 AM
 
Location: Western Nebraskansas
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Brent, where you seem to not know anything, I'd go with #2 on tambre's suggestion. The first year with #1, you'd be fine. Cattle are fairly self-supporting when they're out on summer grass and have enough water.

However, in the winter when you're feeding hay and trying to keep weights ideal for calving, then calving itself, is not necessarily a good place to start a beginner, KWIM?
Also, it's pretty likely you'll have trouble finding someone willing to hay a mere 5 acres for shares...


But if you start with some weanlings in late spring, run them over the summer, and either sell them to a feedlot in the fall as heavier calves OR investigate a grass-fed, all natural beef type of thing and market direct to consumers. It's a hot market.
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Old 12-20-2013, 09:49 AM
 
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Thanks to all of the suggestions. I think I like Tambre's # 2 option. Always thought I would have to overwinter, but I guess I don't have to. Again, all the comments are appreciated. When you don't know much you can't research very well and can't even ask the right questions. Before I was not even dangerous, now I have enough info to start lossing some money and making my wife wonder. We appreciate our farmer who rents our land, so I gave him a years notice on my cattle plans, so I have some time to get all of this worked out. Thanks again - never had a web help page blog that was worth a dime, but you all have really helped.
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Old 12-20-2013, 02:43 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent33 View Post
Thanks to all of the suggestions. I think I like Tambre's # 2 option. Always thought I would have to overwinter, but I guess I don't have to. Again, all the comments are appreciated. When you don't know much you can't research very well and can't even ask the right questions. Before I was not even dangerous, now I have enough info to start lossing some money and making my wife wonder. We appreciate our farmer who rents our land, so I gave him a years notice on my cattle plans, so I have some time to get all of this worked out. Thanks again - never had a web help page blog that was worth a dime, but you all have really helped.
You're welcome, and please come back and let us know how things are going!
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Old 12-23-2013, 05:33 PM
 
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I guess I would like to know where all that.........."grass"....... that posters are talking about is located ? On his lawn?

He stated his field was alfalfa !

For those who don't know, alfalfa is not a " grass"

It is a legume that is used primarily as a feed for dairy cattle due to its extremely high quality and the fact 4 cuttings per year can be taken.

However, alfalfa is a lousy choice for grazing ( even for dairy cattle ) because of reasons I already stated ( but most of you ignored)

Not only is grazing alfalfa dangerous due to the chance of bloat, but alfalfa plants can get damaged by cattle hoofs on the crown of the alfalfa plant.

I have been a rotational grazer for 14 years and learned the hard way by trying to straighten out a hay field and extended the grazing strip into the alfalfa just a little.

I had 2 registered Jersey dairy cows die from bloat in one day.

But , hey, what do I know ?..................sarc
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Old 12-23-2013, 06:48 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Teddy52 View Post
I guess I would like to know where all that.........."grass"....... that posters are talking about is located ? On his lawn?

He stated his field was alfalfa !

For those who don't know, alfalfa is not a " grass"

It is a legume that is used primarily as a feed for dairy cattle due to its extremely high quality and the fact 4 cuttings per year can be taken.

However, alfalfa is a lousy choice for grazing ( even for dairy cattle ) because of reasons I already stated ( but most of you ignored)

Not only is grazing alfalfa dangerous due to the chance of bloat, but alfalfa plants can get damaged by cattle hoofs on the crown of the alfalfa plant.

I have been a rotational grazer for 14 years and learned the hard way by trying to straighten out a hay field and extended the grazing strip into the alfalfa just a little.

I had 2 registered Jersey dairy cows die from bloat in one day.

But , hey, what do I know ?..................sarc

Hey Ted,

Most, if not all, posters on here definitely respect your experience and opinions. I know I do!

Brent mentioned that he was seeking advice on how to turn his alfalfa field to pasture before putting cows out on it. I don't know that anyone ever answered his question on that. The two scenarios I mentioned were for after Brent had made his alfalfa field suitable for grazing.

Sorry about your two Jersey's. That's really sad.
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Old 12-24-2013, 12:58 PM
 
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I didn't see any issues at all with these posts, re grass. I was and am taking Ted's advice on the alfalfa. I have a good relationship with the farmer that rents my land and we are working out a deal where he will help me turn alfalfa into a proper pasture. I gave him a years notice and he farms a lot of hay around me which I can buy if needed. Thanks, Brent
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Old 12-24-2013, 05:32 PM
 
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Sounds good Brent.
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