November 27, 2021

From the Barns: Your next meal

Harvest of any remaining row crops has resumed this week in our area. There were many soybean fields left to cut. I have seen more temporary fencing and cows where I have never seen them before, around some cornfields that had a good bit of corn on the ground. Makes a lot of sense to me. Temporary fence is not that difficult to put up and take down. The work pays large dividends with an abundance of cheap feed. However, the best managers know to have the calves weaned before using stalk fields and if fields are divided into smaller units, utilization is greatly enhanced.

Here at River Oak, we have no corn residue since all our crop acres were soybeans. So, we sure have been grateful for the late frost dates. We had our first this week and four heavy ones consecutively. One night was a burning 24 degrees. That also means we can begin to move into winter grazing in the stockpiled fescue. But we are cleaning up the very end of the reed canary grass and the edges of our crop fields, including the big diversion terrace.

I am back to playing herdsman again as Carson spends the long weekend scouting for some good, priced-right heifers in Nebraska. As I moved the cows this morning, I am reminded of one of the greatest advantages in rotational grazing. Cows handle like never before when they know they are headed for the next good meal. Some of the bred cows were a little spooked with me when they first arrived. But after numerous moves in the last two months they handle quietly and perfectly.

Our only small problem with the length of the October grazing was the heavy rains we had. We ended up with some areas pugged up, but that is impossible to avoid at times in this part of the world. We just try and be vigilant and move as needed to avoid a complete disaster. Looking forward to a really abundant winter grazing season with no heavy snow. I know that is much to hope for, but I am sure we can adapt as necessary.

Stay safe and sane. Thank a veteran and have a truly deserved Thanksgiving with family and friends.

Trevor Toland

Trevor Toland

Macomb, Ill.