Are you doing research to establish a crawfish, catfish, or shrimp farm? Hopefully, you are not and are part of the state that has not received excessive rainfall. Unfortunately, we have not been that lucky. Our rain total for September was 9 inches and we received another 2 inches the night of Oct. 2. On the positive side, the growth on our stockpiled fescue has been excellent, so we can look forward to a good winter grazing season. But that, too, depends on snow and temperature. Remember, the weather problems of 2019 really started in November of 2018 with a very heavy, wet snow over unfrozen ground.

We loaded out the 90 steers on Sept. 25. They loaded very easily and looked really good, but we do not have any weights to report as of yet. Will defer to November. The freezer beeves went on the 30th, so we are left with only the nine bull calves being fed and 27 cows, still grazing reeds canary. It looks like we may struggle without supplemental feed to make the transition from the reeds to corn residue to winter fescue.

First frost on the reeds, a late harvest of the corn and lack of a hard freeze on the fescue will determine how that plays out. So, a late frost, quick harvest and early hard freezes would work well. We must work with the weather. When we get close to the fescue, we will welcome in a new grazing group to finish out the year, probably some bred heifers to join the cows.

I was invited to attend a convening of stakeholders interested in Regenerative Grazing on Sept. 27 in Springfield. Thirty people were in attendance and the discussion was interesting and extensive. The consensus at the end of the day was that all were in favor of promoting grazing in our state. A taskforce will work with the Pasture Project to further the effort.

We have been in the process of offering our grazing operation as a turnkey opportunity for someone for the next three to five years. By turnkey, I mean that all that is needed is the cattle. Pastures, lots, working facilities, feeding equipment, water, fences and some power equipment come with the lease. Also, the fences and infrastructure will be maintained. That’s what I will contribute.

We have worked hard to get this right and have had some valuable help from our banker, Travis Meteer from University of Illinois Extension and Nic Anderson of the Illinois Livestock Development Group. We completed interviews last week of five strong candidates and chose one today. We will share more of this story in coming articles. I want to do that because I know there are others just like us, who have operations that need someone to take over and be successful.

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