April 14, 2024

From the Pastures: It’s a fun game

Hello from Graze-N-Grow. Well, still no oats in and not a lot of growth in the pastures. Not even the rye is tall enough to start grazing yet. I’m predicting a late spring. We did get 90 acres of field peas in between rains last month thanks to my friend, Richard, and his dad’s 40-foot drill. Altogether he drilled over 200 acres that day on four farms. And that was counting the 2 1/2 hours the tractor repair guys tried to fix a hydraulic/electric problem unsuccessfully. One downside was we ordered the seed and it came in bags and lifting that many bags convinced us to order bulk next time.

Half of mine will hopefully be harvested for seed and the other half will be worked in before planting organic corn. I will probably graze some before disking it under. I’ve saved two acres for Ella, Ruth’s milk cow. I sowed some ryegrass on top of it, so it should make a good dairy ration.

This time of year all farmers get a little antsy to get to the field and the cattle and sheep get that way, too. They just want that new grass and the cold weather is forcing them to keep eating hay. What was eagerly eaten all winter is not so relished when they can smell the grass on the other side of the fence. A gate blew over in the high wind we had today, so they got out on the road ditch and they sure didn’t want to go back to their sacrifice pasture. At least there’s no traffic yet since the I-80 overpass north of us is closed. Hopefully, it will get replaced by New Year’s.

Eventually the animals will have all the rye they can eat, but not until it gets around 4 to 5 inches high. By the time I pull them off the rye and disc it in ahead of beans, the pastures should have good growth and the race begins. It’s always a challenge to skim all the pastures fast enough to prevent seed heads forming and usually some ends up getting baled. I’m sure all you other graziers know the drill. I think by the time I get it right I will have to retire, but until then it’s a fun game.

Although it’s been too cold lately, we should be thankful for the moisture we have. With all the windy days this spring dry ground would be a problem. It’s a good thing we aren’t given the authority to control the weather or we would just screw it up. All we can do is keep the ground covered as much as we can and conserve this moisture we have. I’m sure we will need it eventually.

The gals in the greenhouse have a full house in the flower house and starting to fill the veggie house and cold frame. This is not a good time to have high propane prices in this cold weather. Thankfully they booked it early, but they are on their last fill of that. Opening day is Friday, April 15, so I hope it’s better planting weather by then.

As the days get longer it gets more challenging for me to keep going until sunset. I wear out before the sun does anymore, but like I said before it’s a fun game. Have a joyful Resurrection Day. Happy trails.

Jim Draper

Jim Draper

Sheffield, Ill.