From the pastures
Wouldn’t you know after all these years of January lambing we switch to an April drop and we enjoy the mildest January, so far, I can remember. Not complaining, though, since it is nice chore weather, especially when ground turns to winter’s concrete.
This year’s meetings start Jan. 26-27 with the Driftless Region Beef Conference and then Feb. 2-4 with the Grassworks Grazing Conference at the Chula Vista Resort in Wisconsin.
I reviewed my article from one year ago and read that I started to graze my eight-way annual cover crop field in the middle of November and it lasted until Feb. 1. This year I’ll be done grazing the annual field by mid-December — what one year and a slow lack of rainfall can do.
Hello from Graze-N-Grow. We will be sending the last of our pastured hogs to the locker, so one less winter chore. We take orders in the spring from our regular customers and add a few more for new customers and buy our Berkshires from Ralph by East Peoria.
Today it is like winter here in northern Illinois — a rain/snow mixture with the cold wind blowing. As I like to say, it is “wool weather!” Those wool socks, sweaters and jackets feel so cozy.
The weather in November has been surprising. The warmer temperatures have been really nice. We had a chance to complete many of the projects on our fall to-do list. Harvest around us is going strong and it is a pleasure to see the combines in the field.
Hello from Graze-N-Grow. I keep looking at the 10-day weather forecast for a return of fall, but so far it looks more like winter to me. Harvest is now over for us and thanks to my neighbor’s drill we have 75 acres of wheat that’s looking good.
Well, with the coming of fall, the breeding flock goes into landscaping duties, so they have been traveling from farm to farm, making farmettes look pretty. With the warm weather we’ve had, it’s been fun and nice, but reality hit the third week of November.
Harvest has started here in northern Illinois. Many counties to the south have probably been harvesting for several weeks. Around us the weather has been perfect for picking beans for a couple weeks. My pasture still has a good grass cover for the small flock of sheep we have.
Well, the lack of rain has really helped with the harvest, but not so much with the forage growth. I looked at some pictures on my phone from one and two years ago and there really is shorter forage heights this year compared to previous years.
You know it’s dry when a deep taprooted plant like grazing chicory has drooping leaves and I have quite a few of those in my pasture. Since I last wrote, I’ve had only 2.2 inches of rain. Looking backward, I should have planted my winter cover crop Aug. 3 instead of Aug. 23.
Happy September! Always seems like the summer goes by so fast. It is nice to have a little cooler evenings. Great weather to sit out on the porch and enjoy. My Shetland lambs are growing nicely. Their color patterns are really starting to be vibrant.
Hello from Graze-N-Grow. As I write this, we’ve had about 3 inches of rain and the high temp today and tomorrow is 60 degrees. It’s a kind of a preview for upcoming attractions. With 80-degree temps yet ahead, there’s still some summer left, but harvest is soon here.
My flock is eating the 36-day-old wheat stubble weeds, as in forbs, and red clover right now and should have them eaten to the ground in eight days. I ordered a 10-species forage cover crop mix that I’ll plant into the eaten-down wheat stubble after they get it all eaten.
After hearing about some of the extreme rain events in Illinois and elsewhere the past few weeks, I am very grateful to have been spared those deluges. Here at home the pastures and row crops are faring well so far. And with the cooler temps the animals and I are thankful.