May 13, 2021

From the Pastures: Let the fun begin

We really do live in a garden area of the United States. Friends from Hazen, North Dakota — northwest of Bismarck — told me Thursday that they are under a “No Burn” order from now until the end of the year. They have not gotten very much snow or rain the last six months and are very dry going into spring.

Then on Friday I flew out of Bloomington to go to Dallas to visit my daughter and her family. They are kind of dry down there. I always think of Texas as either too hot, too cold, too wet or too dry. They seem to have extremes in everything.

It was sure nice to fly back into Bloomington on Monday to see green grass and some green fields from the airplane. While I was gone, it rained for three of the four days, so I didn’t miss much. But, boy, did the grass take off — which reminds me to not start grazing too early before the grass is ready. Fescue grass should be at least 8 inches tall before grazing and orchardgrass should have at least four leaves. Then when you turn in, the stock only take the top third of the plant. Just let them take the top of the plant and then move them to another lot.

Greg Judy last year only took the top third of the grass plant off and then moved his cows the whole growing season and he had enough stockpiled forage this winter to carry him through the winter and up to green grass in April. Now is the time to plan for next winter. My planned date to start lambing was May 12, but I already have three healthy lambs on the ground. The rest are supposed to come the middle of May.

The Heart of America Grazing Conference will be held live Aug. 10-11 at the Double Tree Hotel in Mount Vernon. The Pasture Walk will take place on Perry Hottes farm from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Aug. 10. Perry’s farm is 10 minutes from the hotel, he has participated in Environmental Quality Incentives Program and has a winter feeding station and will have a summer annual plot to look at. On Aug.11, we will have many great speakers, including Greg Judy from Missouri who will be speaking in the morning and afternoon sessions. For more info, or to register before Aug. 3 to get the early discount, call the Clinton County Soil and Water Conservation District at 618-526-7815, ext. 3.

My Texas vacation was timed just right so it got me out of here so I didn’t start grazing too early. But now the grass and I are ready to go. Let the fun begin.

Elton Mau

Arrowsmith, Ill.