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.
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.
The rain finally visited us here in late September with 2 inches over a three-day period. It turned things greener in a hurry. I know cattle can make compensatory gain after lean diets turned wholesome and our grass showed the same ability.
The same dry weather that has made our corn harvest go so smoothly has also wrecked our pastures. Only one herd of cows remains that is not needing some supplemental feed.
Pasture conditions are a wreck. Lack of any rainfall has finished off the grass for this season. Cows are existing on old growth and it’s disappearing at a breakneck pace. We are chopping corn as fast as machinery will allow.
My how things can change in just one month. I am talking about the weather and subsequent conditions. Every other month has been different all summer. May was wet, then June got fairly dry, then July was extremely wet. Got into August and it has turned really dry.
We are now experiencing a serious drought to a level not reached since 2012. All the summer months, so far, have provided us with nothing more than a few tenths of moisture at a time and nothing at all lately.
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.
In the last two weeks, in our area, we’ve had seven inches of rain or more. There are places within an hour of here where that number is in the teens.
We have had a few showers here at River Oak, but only showers. We are in need of some substantial moisture for growing forage, as well as bringing home the row crops. A few tenths is all we seem to muster, but we know from the news that we should be careful what we wish for.
The goal at River Oak Ranch is to provide the best meal possible every day for the cattle with a regenerative, adaptive, management-intensive rotational grazing system.
Forages are the base component of cattle rations. “When you’re trying to maximize animal performance or keep the animal’s health in tip-top shape, it starts with the animal’s diet,” said Travis Meteer, University of Illinois Extension commercial agriculture educator.
Hello from Graze-N-Grow. Whew, our annual holiday lamb slaughter just ended for our ethnic customers, and even though we had fewer ram lambs to offer because of last year’s flock reduction it was still kind of hectic.
Our weather has turned dry and temperatures are rising, as well. This has taken us from wanting some respite from rain events to hoping for a cooling and invigorating shower.