January 28, 2021

From the Barns: Something new

I am writing this piece on the first day of 2021, so Happy New Year. I will need to quickly finish this up and get it sent before we lose our electricity. Yes, it is that much of a stormy day here in the Macomb area. We have already received a quarter of an inch of ice on all surfaces with some sleet and snow mixed. More is in the hourly forecast going forward. We have heard no traffic all day on our township road or the county highway a quarter-mile away.

Yes, we are still grazing the stockpiled fescue and clover and have about 10 days remaining if the snow doesn’t get too deep. Without this weather, the grazing days could have extended further, but more damage is done to the remaining forage in these kinds of conditions. I will report next month on paddock yields per acre for the entire grazing year. I am currently working on the final totals. I feel it is very important to record data that can reveal the forage yield of each paddock. In what other way would one know and be able to plan improvements to each paddock? I just heard a county snow plow go down Airport Road, 1600 N Road.

I have documented the new South 20 Environmental Quality Incentives Program project further with a series of photos during our winter graze and after the heifers were removed. I plan to place those with captions into a PowerPoint that I can share. I also have been working on a new hand-drawn map of our 400 acres. Several of the paddocks have been changed and the South 20 has been added. So, a new version is needed.

Carson and I met formally here at the house the night before last to review the grazing year and make a few changes to the terms of our lease. We both feel like we had a very successful year in several ways. As far as becoming familiar with each other and working together, that came along really well. He is an outstanding young man with a very strong work ethic, so we get along well.

Remember, we started the year trying something unusual, in that I would take care of the infrastructure, mainly that is fence and water facilities, and he takes all cattle responsibilities. For this year at least, I also did quite a bit of mentoring of our adaptive intensive rotational grazing system, which I want him to use successfully. His understanding and practices have displayed a quick, sound grasp of our system. I feel his stockmanship is also very sound. Therefore, a very good year for River Oak and Welsh Cattle working together, despite the outside challenges of 2020.

Stay safe and sane and take in a virtual grazing conference.

Trevor Toland

Macomb, Ill.