February 08, 2023

From the Barns: Listening to the experts

The early March weather has finally allowed us to complete the frost seeding. Conditions improved rapidly over the last weekend in February. Up to that point we had been thwarted by either extreme cold, high winds, cold and wind, or too much snow still present on many of the paddocks.

The going was challenging this year with large manure pats, rough pugged surfaces, or some heavy forage clumps, all of which made some of the spreading a challenge for man and ATV — my back is sore today.

We found that the coated seed this year required us to open our seed slots a little more on the Herd seeder. It was a slow start until we had the correct adjustment. We split paddocks into white clover and red clover this year, all coated. The red required more than our usual 1/8-inch opening and the white at 800,000 seeds per pound required slightly more than completely closed. I feel like the forecast, if it plays out, will be just what we need to get the seed in a position for germination.

The Western Illinois Grazing Group will be meeting at three different operations this summer for tours and pasture walks and talks. I will be planning these events similar to past years. If you are interested in hosting and sharing your grazing experiences, then please email me at tjtror@mtcnow.net. If you wish to be on our contact list, let me know and you will receive personal texts or emails for each event.

These events provide plenty of chances to see how other graziers operate and also a time to network with others. I believe there are many “experts” among us. We just need to have a chance to hear from them. The Illinois Grazing Lands Coalition has been busy pursuing funds that can be used to further grazing education in Illinois. Hopefully, we will be ready soon to announce other opportunities in the state to enhance your grazing knowledge.

I was fortunate to finally take in the Southwest Missouri Spring Forage Conference in Springfield on Feb. 22. It was a great conference with large trade show and attendance that looked to be in the 300 to 400 range. I found very interesting the talks by Hugh Aljoe of the Noble Foundation on Regenerative Ranching and Dr. Chris Teutsch of the University of Kentucky on Summer Stockpiling Fescue. More on those topics as we head to the grazing season of 2022.

Oh, speaking of experts, I hope to make it to the Illinois State University Farm at Lexington on Saturday, March 12, to see the Illinois Forage and Grassland Council winter meeting, beginning at 10 a.m. with producer panels that include my good friend, Elton Mau, who also writes for this paper.

Well, that’s all for now from River Oak. We hope we enjoy a good March. Although, it came in like a lamb, will it go out like a lion? Stay safe and sane!

Trevor Toland

Trevor Toland

Macomb, Ill.