Ah – the joy of spring is here at the farm. While the temperature is still getting down to the upper 30s at night, things are definitely changing. And for a grass-based farm, perhaps the most important one is the greening of the pastures.
This is our second growing season to graze on our newly reclaimed land. If you haven’t kept up with the history of the farm, the brief version is that we converted to pasture a portion of the old family farm that has been in corn, soybeans, and wheat for ages (farmed with a non-family farmer in a profit-sharing arrangement).
Thanks to the wet weather last year, we weren’t able to actually plant anything until around mid-April. When we did, we planted (onto bare dirt) oats as a cover crop, along with orchardgrass, alfalfa, and white clover. In the fall, we overseeded fescue (endophyte-friendly) and medium red clover. We also planted a couple of acres of Bermuda to have a strong hot-weather pasture to use in our rotation cycle.
So here we are, almost a year later, after having intensively grazed (though relatively gently) this crop, and we’re just starting to put our cattle out to pasture for this growing season (we’re easing them onto it an hour or two at a time to avoid bloat problems). And since this is the rainy season and our pasture is still immature, we’re also taking it slowly so that we avoid too much growth-potential-killing tromping.
With all of that being said, the growth that we’re seeing in the pasture is really encouraging. We’ll post updates throughout the growing season that show the progress of a 2nd year pasture on a rotational grazing program.