February 02, 2023

From the Pastures: The grass is growing

It’s a beautiful spring day at 65 degrees today, quite a change from the weather we have been getting every Thursday for the last four weeks. I even missed several grazing meetings because of the snow and ice and you know it’s bad when that happens.

I had to use a spreader truck to frost seed the nitrogen and red clover seed to my wheat field because the airplane was waiting for repair parts. The parts were probably on board a ship out in the ocean somewhere. But we picked an early morning when the ground was frozen and we didn’t even leave a tire track. Since then I’ve had several freeze/thaw events and some rain so it got into the ground.

I’m going to move the ewe flock out of the field that will be planted to soybeans this year and onto the stockpiled permanent pasture this week. I’m trying to keep the compaction down, spread around the manure and feed hay only as needed. I have several drowned out spots in the permanent pasture that I’ve already unrolled old rotten hay on and then put a heavy concentration of sheep on the spots to trample in the hay and seeds after they eat what good hay was in the bale. Hopefully this will reseed the spots and add organic matter to the soil to help it drain better. My electro-net fences worked great to outline the irregular shaped drowned out areas and keep the sheep away from the good grass.

I started to use apple cider vinegar again at a 1% apple cider vinegar to water ratio to see if that helps with the sheep’s health. Two weeks ago, I had all the ewes preg checked and I’ve got 80% of them having twins, 10% having singles and the rest having three, four, or five lambs. I moved the ewes having more than twins into the ewe lamb group to get better nutrition.

From my hay tests I determined that the hay I’m giving the old ewes averages 10% protein and the baleage and dry alfalfa big round bales the ewe lambs are getting average 16% protein. About one-third of the ewe lambs are bred so they are growing their body and a fetus so they need good nutrition. I also have two steers in that group that need to get fat and processed in June. If you know of someone needing some grass-fed, antibiotic-free freezer beef, contact me at 309-825-5435 because I’m looking for customers.

Smile, the grass is growing and spring is coming!

Elton Mau

Elton Mau

Arrowsmith, Ill.