July 15, 2024

From the Barns: Keeping records

This morning, Oct. 6, suddenly feels like late fall. The chill factor dropped about 40 degrees from yesterday. Also, if they are going to get the beans cut, it needs to stop the misting and sprinkles — although we are already at the point where the beans are getting too dry and we are losing some on their way into the machine. So, maybe this will work out. I have all the fences down so they can just move from one field to the next. The bean head is 40 feet, so that won’t work with the 25-foot gates.

Our Illinois Grazing Lands Coalition grazing schools were very successful with everything working as planned and attendees who were very interested and stayed until the very end Saturday afternoon. I was grateful because I was the last speaker each time, with my topic, “Can We Really Make Money Grazing?”

My most important points were: keep good records of every graze for every paddock for the entire grazing season; know the acres in each paddock, the animals in each graze and their weight so that an animal unit score can be kept; then use all your records at the end of the grazing season to compile animal units grazed in each paddock; and use these scores to evaluate each acre and evaluate the entire grazing operation.

It is way past time for us to keep these records and then assign a value to each animal unit to see if we are indeed making money grazing. Our animal enterprise records should, of course, still be kept, but we need to evaluate our operation per acre, just as we do with grain enterprises. We might just need these records to show success to a prospective landlord or a potential lender, or even to show accumulated carbon credits.

Here at River Oak, with no rain now for several weeks, we are close to being out of reeds canary grass. That will probably put us in the bean stubble fields to first clean up and then to roll out hay until winter grazing begins in mid-November. We have not encountered this situation since 1955-1956. That is when, as an 11 year old, I temporarily dammed up the East Fork of the La Moine River with my bare hands. Little did I at that time realize I was doing something that would be historic enough to remember 68 years later.

It was great to have Martha Blum from AgriNews attend our Northern Grazing School. I assured our attendees that if they failed to write notes about anything important, they could read it in AgriNews.

Be careful during the crunch of harvest and take time to watch some football. I made it to the Bears game in Chicago last Sunday and then stayed north long enough to visit my daughters in Rockford and Milwaukee. I will have to say the highlights of the trip were visiting with the grandkids, one just starting at Marquette, one swimming in a meet on senior night and one eating Swedish pancakes with me at the Stockholm Inn — all good stuff. Be safe and sane!

Trevor Toland

Trevor Toland

Macomb, Ill.