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Hilly



Posts : 388
Join date : 2010-09-24
Location : Sylvan Lake, Alberta

PostSubject: Swath grazing   Fri Oct 28, 2011 11:32 am


I took a few pictures of some of the swath at swathing time, mid October generally seeded the first week in July. This particular crop is predominantly oats and peas with just a little wheat, high quality that I use mostly for pairs.



I can get better tonnage with straight oats and generally feed that to the March calving cows and pull almost a point off the cows over winter with that feed. All swath is fertilised with 60 lbs of N in anhydrous and when the cows are on it I supplement with lose minerals to offset the imbalance in this type of crop, although it is the higher milking cows that go down first if the loose mineral is absent so you may be able to argue the need.

The frustrating thing with this system is that I don’t utilise the heat units in May and June, I have tried a few things like seeding crops that will regrow in the spring with mixed results, compaction, mud, and sometime with a dry year sucks up to much of the moisture needed to germinate the new crop. I have also tried corn, but we get borderline enough heat and the cows per acre per day was not much better than the oats with more cost.

I am interested in incorporating AC GreenFix http://acgreenfix.com/ in the swath grazing and eliminate the 60lbs of N has anyone tried it?

I have bits and pieces spread all over on the subject so the following are old posts and need not be reread...



The cows in the picture are going to the left, the fresh snow makes it hard to see but they do not leave anything but dirt, manure and some stubble if you move them once a day. The government test stations do weekly and monthly moves and most of the folks I see around here are doing the same and it is no wonder to me that swath grazing has become a swear word with all the waste.

Most of the profit in a year here comes from the swath, some of the ground has been in swath for 16 years and with the even manure distribution we only put down 60 lbs of N and no dry. Leaf disease can be a problem with barley but oats have no problem, so with the rotation of fields we only have to spray once before seeding.

Another thing that made a big difference was to swath perpendicular to the fence as you can regulate swath easier and less waste due to manure. On a group this small there are a few challenges, if I were to get 3 or 4 feet of snow or -40 or colder with a wind, I don't have a mob big enough to get out and dig and no matter what size of group the windrow has to be big enough to justify the work to get to it and we have found 20 feet or bigger is needed around here. We do not get the wind some do but as we swath the feed green it takes about 50mph wind to start to move some swath, if there is no snow cover. I think if I had less snow and more wind I would strip graze without swathing.

It takes about 20min to move the fence on the average, so I do like to run bigger groups. If you were in a hurry 5 min would move the cows, but you would need to set up fences in advance as the secound fence is very important in snow to ensure that if the cows get out it is only into tomorrow’s feed. Any disturbance in the snow will lead to ice in the swath and waste. The biggest problems I have are Chinook winds that melts snow and creates layers of ice, the older cows know to use their jaw to break through but young stock try to use their nose and they get fairly raw. The other problem is wildlife, in a hard winter there can be large herds.

We have modified galagers pigtails by cutting an inch off the step-ins and sharpening them so they work in frozen ground but if the snow and drifts get big enough and hard enough I just push them into the snow (not right at a swath).

We have not tried to swath hay, only annuals and leave the grass for muddy times in the spring. I would worry that swathed hay may rot too easy but in the right conditions it could work.

I seem to be a little long winded!! This is only what has evolved on our farm, the numbers work but I am sure could be improved. I have not read the books that are out there and probably should. When the snow is deep and the wind is blowing, the job saves on a gym membership. But when I think about the dairy days and working with all the equipment that refused to run at cold temps, as well as the countless hours putting up winter feed the old way, I and the cows can live with the extra exercise.


These are July pairs on a once a day move and you can see on the left that the calves creep out ahead of the cows.



One of the creepers



This is a look back and you can see that three days ago they had too much feed and they are using the waste as bedding, this is once a day moves you can guess what it would look like on weekly or monthly moves.



These are some March dry cows on swath




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PostSubject: Re: Swath grazing   Fri Oct 28, 2011 12:29 pm

How deep of snow can they graze threw, we generally will not more than a foot at one time.
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Hilly



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Location : Sylvan Lake, Alberta

PostSubject: Re: Swath grazing   Fri Oct 28, 2011 1:34 pm

The most dependent factor I have seen is the size of the swath, we use old 21’ and 25’ swathers and because I don’t process it any further I’m not sure of the exact tonnage but that picture shows an average crop size, straight oats can be a fair bit heavier.

We have not had a depth of snow issue yet, and I have been waiting for some big drifts to show how they can tunnel in and the fact that the swath is at right angles to the fence gives them an idea of were to start digging from the remnants of the tunnel from the day before. The ability to deal with deep snow is a learned behavior and would not be recommended for newbie cows.

A bigger challenge then depth of snow is ice layers from periods of warm weather.
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Grassfarmer



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PostSubject: Re: Swath grazing   Fri Oct 28, 2011 4:41 pm

Ah! swath grazing - the subject I have been pondering for a couple of years and still never figured it out. So i'll throw out some of my many random thoughts on the issue and welcome input from all.
Since we started growing our own feed a couple of years ago we have grown barley/oat silage but are intending to go to swath grazing. I am really scared of this late seeding Craig talks about. Our grass does 70% of it's years production by July 1st up here on average - seeding after July 1st seems to be going very much against nature given our short summers. By not seeding till July 1st we will have quack grass and dandelions growing in June and i'm not interested in going the "chem fallow" route to keep things dead when they should be growing. In the drought years of 02 and 03 a neighbor seeded oats in early July and had it wiped out with grasshoppers. If we could seed fall rye in with it and have that to graze through the following May it would be more attractive but I take the point about the moisture this would use potentially leaving the new crop dry.
It would be way more attractive to me to seed say June 1st and use that extra month of growing days and heat units but the challenge is what to grow? I have one friend who seeds earlier and swaths earlier - sometimes in late August which gives a big crop of poorer quality feed that gets moldy and rotten in a wet fall. Another friend seeded early and grazed the crop in early July with mixed results depending on the year. I have too much grass needing grazed in July to do this. How would seeding winter grains in the spring do? I suspect you would get a smaller yield of higher protein, lower energy feed. How about seeding a mix of winter cereal and something else?

Next the silage versus swath grazing conundrum. I seeded May 31st this year and silaged on Sept 1st and got 9 ton/acre, admittedly with 90lbs of N on a severely depleted field. My extra cost beyond swathing to make silage is @$10/ton custom cost and that hauls it into my pit. So I see it cost me $90 an acre to move feed that the cow could have eaten in situ. But if I seeded a month earlier than swath grazers, put in the same inputs how much more yield would I get? wouldn't that extra yield be essentially free? Research I've seen shows that mid June seeded oats and barley give up 25% and 30% silage yield respectively over mid May seeded. I don't know if that is the same for June 1st versus July 1st seeding. If it was I could expect to give up nearly 2.5 tons of silage yield by seeding later. That much yield loss would pay to harvest the 9 ton/acre crop. Advantages to silage are that you can harvest the feed at a know (and fairly high) feed value, I know I can always access it in winter and I'll always be able to feed the cows. There is a cost to transporting the feed back out to cows of course but I run a tractor and silage wagon everyday to feed calves anyway. I can feed a lot of cows with one trip out with the silage wagon and if I was swath grazing properly I would still have to travel to the cows every day - maybe twice in cold weather.
In my position I can graze till Jan 1st most years, Feb 1st some years and am usually back on banked grass by April 10th. So 90-100 days is our usual "non grass grazing period". Maybe I should be content to feed silage through this typically "deep snow" period?

On the fertility front - you are the most experienced swath grazer I know Craig but I've had other guys tell me they have done it for 10 years, conventional tillage, sprayed once in that time, added no fertiliser and their organic matter and crop yields have risen every year. Is that pure BS? I always think that when we graze in situ. we return most of the nutrients to the soil but are the losses to volitization so much higher in winter?

I'll quit now as I'm starting to convince myself that silage makes more sense than swath grazing while the point of the excercise was to convince myself that swath grazing made more sense than silage scratch
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Dylan Biggs



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PostSubject: Re: Swath grazing   Fri Oct 28, 2011 10:41 pm

Hilly wrote:

I took a few pictures of some of the swath at swathing time, mid October generally seeded the first week in July. This particular crop is predominantly oats and peas with just a little wheat, high quality that I use mostly for pairs.



I can get better tonnage with straight oats and generally feed that to the March calving cows and pull almost a point off the cows over winter with that feed. All swath is fertilised with 60 lbs of N in anhydrous and when the cows are on it I supplement with lose minerals to offset the imbalance in this type of crop, although it is the higher milking cows that go down first if the loose mineral is absent so you may be able to argue the need.

The frustrating thing with this system is that I don’t utilise the heat units in May and June, I have tried a few things like seeding crops that will regrow in the spring with mixed results, compaction, mud, and sometime with a dry year sucks up to much of the moisture needed to germinate the new crop. I have also tried corn, but we get borderline enough heat and the cows per acre per day was not much better than the oats with more cost.

I am interested in incorporating AC GreenFix http://acgreenfix.com/ in the swath grazing and eliminate the 60lbs of N has anyone tried it?

I have bits and pieces spread all over on the subject so the following are old posts and need not be reread...



The cows in the picture are going to the left, the fresh snow makes it hard to see but they do not leave anything but dirt, manure and some stubble if you move them once a day. The government test stations do weekly and monthly moves and most of the folks I see around here are doing the same and it is no wonder to me that swath grazing has become a swear word with all the waste.

Most of the profit in a year here comes from the swath, some of the ground has been in swath for 16 years and with the even manure distribution we only put down 60 lbs of N and no dry. Leaf disease can be a problem with barley but oats have no problem, so with the rotation of fields we only have to spray once before seeding.

Another thing that made a big difference was to swath perpendicular to the fence as you can regulate swath easier and less waste due to manure. On a group this small there are a few challenges, if I were to get 3 or 4 feet of snow or -40 or colder with a wind, I don't have a mob big enough to get out and dig and no matter what size of group the windrow has to be big enough to justify the work to get to it and we have found 20 feet or bigger is needed around here. We do not get the wind some do but as we swath the feed green it takes about 50mph wind to start to move some swath, if there is no snow cover. I think if I had less snow and more wind I would strip graze without swathing.

It takes about 20min to move the fence on the average, so I do like to run bigger groups. If you were in a hurry 5 min would move the cows, but you would need to set up fences in advance as the secound fence is very important in snow to ensure that if the cows get out it is only into tomorrow’s feed. Any disturbance in the snow will lead to ice in the swath and waste. The biggest problems I have are Chinook winds that melts snow and creates layers of ice, the older cows know to use their jaw to break through but young stock try to use their nose and they get fairly raw. The other problem is wildlife, in a hard winter there can be large herds.

We have modified galagers pigtails by cutting an inch off the step-ins and sharpening them so they work in frozen ground but if the snow and drifts get big enough and hard enough I just push them into the snow (not right at a swath).

We have not tried to swath hay, only annuals and leave the grass for muddy times in the spring. I would worry that swathed hay may rot too easy but in the right conditions it could work.

I seem to be a little long winded!! This is only what has evolved on our farm, the numbers work but I am sure could be improved. I have not read the books that are out there and probably should. When the snow is deep and the wind is blowing, the job saves on a gym membership. But when I think about the dairy days and working with all the equipment that refused to run at cold temps, as well as the countless hours putting up winter feed the old way, I and the cows can live with the extra exercise.


These are July pairs on a once a day move and you can see on the left that the calves creep out ahead of the cows.



One of the creepers



This is a look back and you can see that three days ago they had too much feed and they are using the waste as bedding, this is once a day moves you can guess what it would look like on weekly or monthly moves.



These are some March dry cows on swath





"I can get better tonnage with straight oats", no doubt Hilly, that is one pathetic looking crop you have there, heck those cows might starve. Rolling Eyes

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Hilly



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PostSubject: Re: Swath grazing   Sat Oct 29, 2011 12:14 am

Grassy,

Sorry for my late response, we got talked into another custom field but I think the combines are now parked for the year cheers

You raise valid points all of which I have contemplated for years, drives me crazy to waste those joules sunny

My problem is that we are grain farmers with cows and my system has kinda morphed into its present state. We have no silage equipment and no haying equipment, I buy hay for the backgrounders and feed them about every three weeks, so I have little need to start any equipment in the winter. I have little manure hauling, and the cows spread it amazingly even if you don’t allow waste. We are going on 20 years and I have only twice had to help with access to feed, last year being one of them due to the heavy deer traffic icing the swath, as i'm sure you seen,,, up right next to the highway Rolling Eyes

Because it is not custom I can be in control of timing, I can put up winter feed for 400 plus head in 4 or 5 days by myself but generally have help.

I don’t have exacted numbers and in November dad and I review the breakevens and budgets and I can be more exact, but for easy figuring I feed for 150 days and I allow an acre per mature cow for this time period, most years I have  extra and have someone bale it up in the spring.

Costs per acre
Spray $10
Spraying $6
Seed $20
Seeding $18
Fertilizer $35
Swathing $10
Opportunity cost $45

These are off the top of my head but current I believe and I may have forgotten something, over the years the potassium levels in the feed has been climbing hence the relatively cheap loose mineral crutch Smile

It has been my experience that the barley and wheat suffer from leaf disease were oats don’t have that problem. I am not much help on the organic matter levels as I have not had the agronomist soil test those fields, but with calf prices up I could maybe justify having him do some and compare them to old results. I do think that in the future with the oat/ pea mix or the greenfix deal I will eliminate the fertilizer and be further ahead soil and money wise with the sequestered nitrogen.

For about 7 years we would seed  Trilicale with the swath and graze the regrowth once early in the year a few problems with that were if it snowed early before we swathed it would be more than a little frustrating as it plugged up the cutter bar bad, but the worst problem was the robbing of moister and compaction. Compaction can really hurt yield with no till seeding as we do, now with conventional tillage as you talked about that would alleviate the problem with a little added cost and would in my estimation be cost effective when dealing with compaction.

I just have not found a way that justifies having the cows on the swath grazing land in the spring, mud compaction and moister lost being the more notable.

One of the big differences between your operation and mine is the length of your grazing grass, I would really like to have enough banked grass to graze late and early like you do, but I am competing with break evens in the grain and may have to look at hauling the cattle west to achieve the results you are managing.

In your area I would think the wildlife would be an even bigger risk then here with the swath, I have been wondering if you could silage the first cut and swath graze the second?

As to seeding early and swathing early, I have yet to see that work well and many try it,,, I maintain I would be further ahead to combine it as grain and feed the cattle grain and straw, than waste all that energy to mold, all the while trying to convince the cattle they want to dig through 3 feet of snow for some rotten straw.

There is little relevance in what I’m doing to most here, it’s definitely niche at best and I’m open for suggestions.


Last edited by Hilly on Fri Jan 08, 2016 8:06 pm; edited 1 time in total
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MKeeney
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PostSubject: Re: Swath grazing   Sat Oct 29, 2011 7:42 am

I so enjoy these pics and discussion; but unless someone twist my arm, I don`t think we`ll plan a Gathering around Hilly`s winter grazing...pack your snowshoes and go ahead on your own; I don`t want to ever pack anything heavier than a fly rod for Canada Smile
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Hilly



Posts : 388
Join date : 2010-09-24
Location : Sylvan Lake, Alberta

PostSubject: Re: Swath grazing   Sat Oct 29, 2011 9:50 am

The boys and I could use some fly lessons, they managed to catch this trout from their private fishing hole with a lot of patience on a night were flies appeared to be on the menu. All the jumping helped keep up their enthusiasm long enough to drag in a couple and of course true to form the supervisor need not pack a rod just the essentials to keep his mind hydrated and sharp Smile

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Grassfarmer



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PostSubject: Re: Swath grazing   Sat Oct 29, 2011 9:53 am

Thanks Hilly, that gives me more to think about on my drive to Canmore today to deliver beef and pig Will get back with more questions later.
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PatB



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PostSubject: Re: Swath grazing   Sat Oct 29, 2011 9:57 am

How much does fall moisture affect the quality of swath feed? Here in Maine the rain and heat would have the swathed material turned to slime long before the cows could eat it. If GF does not mind I would like more info on his extending the grazing season.
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Hilly



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PostSubject: Re: Swath grazing   Sat Oct 29, 2011 10:16 am

That is why I don’t swath or seed early, I swath in and around killing frost type weather which in turn sets my seeding date, moisture at freezing temps is no problem. Part of my unfair advantage that Mike is so jealous about, living in a giant deep freezer keeps the feed fresh Cool

.
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PostSubject: Re: Swath grazing   Sat Oct 29, 2011 11:19 am

Hilly wrote:
That is why I don’t swath or seed early, I swath in and around killing frost type weather which in turn sets my seeding date, moisture at freezing temps is no problem. Part of my unfair advantage that Mike is so jealous about, living in a giant deep freezer keeps the feed fresh Cool

.

Dam fine set of young HILLY'S there. I have always fed hay and am all ears to this swath grazing. And full of questions what is the best crop and what works well for arid environments, we have wheel lines and the height of the crop is a problem. All Ears.
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Hilly



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PostSubject: Re: Swath grazing   Sat Oct 29, 2011 9:55 pm

W.T thanks, two of the boys are mine.

I don’t know much about your climate other that what I just read on the internet , looks like you get about ¾ of an inch of rain every month but from what I see December and January and maybe February would be border line cold enough to preserve but dry enough you may get away with it, wind and wildlife may be factors as well,,, just to many variables for me to really comment. Same goes for crops they say you can grow oats I don’t know how high,,,
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Tom D
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PostSubject: Re: Swath grazing   Sat Oct 29, 2011 10:17 pm

Yep, typical Supervisor; smart enough to tell everybody what to do, but can't even put his boots on the right feet. Is the kid with the cell phone his personal assistant?
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Kent Powell



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PostSubject: Re: Swath grazing   Sat Oct 29, 2011 11:46 pm

I am interested too and those pictures have me pondering options. I had never seen oats like that until this summer in North Dakota. I am guessing here we could make that work with Sorghum/Sudan. Either wait for a freeze to swath then hope for adequate drydown, or swath in late July/Early August and seed wheat or Rye between windrows to keep it from blowing.
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Hilly



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PostSubject: Re: Swath grazing   Sun Oct 30, 2011 12:32 am

Keystone wrote:
I am interested too and those pictures have me pondering options. I had never seen oats like that until this summer in North Dakota. I am guessing here we could make that work with Sorghum/Sudan. Either wait for a freeze to swath then hope for adequate drydown, or swath in late July/Early August and seed wheat or Rye between windrows to keep it from blowing.

Kent,
I like your creativity, seeding between the windrows for a wind break, how would you seed between the rows (type of seeder)?



Tom,
He is different, always has his shoes on the wrong feet questioning who decide he was wrong, dislikes text book schooling, but his little mind never shuts off always inventing something. I like the supervisor analogy fits well Smile
That won’t be a cell phone, Leatherman, compass, matches; you get the idea, a regular survivor man.
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Grassfarmer



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PostSubject: Re: Swath grazing   Sun Oct 30, 2011 1:01 am

OK I'm back. I'll expand on the winter grazing grass in another post tomorrow Pat as I've been thinking about Hillys post on my travels today.
Have to share a laugh from my travels first - heading home as it was getting dark I came upon a truck pulled into a farmers gateway south of Sylvan a bit. Inside a guy with camo clothing and a pair of binoculars looking out over the alfalfa towards the treeline 1/2 mile away. About 40 yards beyond him in the ditch on the other side of the road was a white tail buck standing watching the truck. I thought that was hilarious.

So Hilly, I've kind of convinced myself that because the main field I plan on using is south facing, sloped and very sandy I'd better stick with seeding something early. That field is not a good choice for July seeding as we'd get no crop in a dry year - it probably better suits seeding ASAP in the spring while we still have moisture. I like the idea of silage early then swath but fear the swath wouldn't produce enough volume for them to access in deep snow. Instead if I could seed really early I could silage maybe early August and if I seeded oats would perhaps get enough regrowth to be worth grazing now while the calves are still on the cows. That would be a nice fit for my system. Problem will be persuading my Hutterite neighbors to seed mine first and silage mine first - it makes sense as this is about the earliest field in the are and will always be dry ahead of theirs. They always tend to think of custom work as something they do after their own crops, probably rightly so.

One comment on the compaction issue - you worry about compaction but use anhydrous? A friend of mine who knows quite a bit about soils and compaction claims anhydrous is basically the same as what was used in Vietnam to build landing strips from the air - 4 or 5 passes and the vegetation and soil turned to concrete. I've walked one guys place that felt like concrete and I'm told he has used anhydrous for many years. This is just heresay I've no experience of anhydrous myself.

I am interested in this new plant you are looking at in the US - that is a different issue in my mind - replacing chemical fertiliser with legume and one that will become very important I think. On another piece of rented land I was planning to grow continuous silage by seeding oats/fall rye and yellow sweet clover. I would silage the oats in August, lightly graze the fall rye later then if it all overwinters OK take rye/sweet clover silage off in June then work down the sweet clover in the fall. This would give 2 years of silage with one seeding operation and a lot of organic matter/nitrogen to incorporate. Would not eliminate fertiliser completely could could reduce it quite a bit I think. Biggest concern there would be making silage in June - our wettest month.

Enough for tonight, going to ponder some more.
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Kent Powell



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PostSubject: Re: Swath grazing   Sun Oct 30, 2011 9:27 am

Hilly wrote:
Keystone wrote:
I am interested too and those pictures have me pondering options. I had never seen oats like that until this summer in North Dakota. I am guessing here we could make that work with Sorghum/Sudan. Either wait for a freeze to swath then hope for adequate drydown, or swath in late July/Early August and seed wheat or Rye between windrows to keep it from blowing.

Kent,
I like your creativity, seeding between the windrows for a wind break, how would you seed between the rows (type of seeder)?



.



Any no till drill that would fit between would work. Perhaps raking would be necessary.



I know of some who fly wheat on growing corn so it is up and going when the corn is picked.
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Hilly



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PostSubject: Re: Swath grazing   Sun Oct 30, 2011 9:39 am

Interesting thoughts on anhydrous, I have to admit I hadn’t heard about that but dad is the soil guy I’ll mention it to him I’m sure he will have an opinion Wink

We have 5 swath grazing fields and of which are not the best for crop production due to how wet they are, seeding late we generally gain a lot of acres that normally would go unseeded.

We always fight compaction on 1 of the 5 and that is the home place as we calve there and generally have to many head around in April due to lack of banked grass and without the freezing temps it is too muddy for swaths. We always end up relenting and letting them out onto the whole field and feeding them pea straw and baled up old swath on the hills and I’m sure Larry can relate to the fact that seeding the grain acres takes priority over getting the cows out on grass Smile

It is ridiculous but we have no sod at the home place ( did I mention we are grain farmers with cows), anyway if we don’t work the hill tops as soon as everyone is out on grass they will grow next to nothing that year, we saw the same thing to a smaller degree when we regrazed the Trilicale that time of year. Could be that anhydrous makes it more prone to compaction, I can use dry just more drill fills is all but I really want to get away from chemical fertilizer altogether.

AC GreenFix is bred in Saskatchewan, I came across it at the grazing conference in Yankton South Dakota a few years ago and was set on trying some a few years ago until I found out that the mature seed is toxic to cattle, a minor point that was failed to be mentioned by the rep. Due to the seeds similarity to peas it causes a logistical nightmare for us unless we buy the seed every year.
As I understand, it has been a bigger hit in the states as they don’t have killing winters and spread the cost of seed over more years.

Cutting this short seems I’m late,,,
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Grassfarmer



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PostSubject: Re: Swath grazing   Sun Oct 30, 2011 10:38 am

I had a quick look at the AC Greenfix website and am not quite sure how you would use it in your swath grazing situation. It's a high N producer but with 80% of the N accumulating above ground removing it by silage or swath grazing wouldn't be contributing a lot of N to the soil. By dessicating or incorporating the whole crop you would put that N down for another year, similar to what i'm thinking of doing with the yellow sweet clover. They talk about 1000lbs of top growth generating 40lbs of N per acre on 5 or 6 inches of rainfall but "in wet summers" yields have exceeded 6000lbs of dry matter production. Wow, if we could get those kind of yields with our relatively wet summers - maybe ploughing down 240lbs of N maybe it would be economic to seed this as a stand alone crop one year in 3 or 4 purely to accumulate enough N for future years regular swath grazing/silage production?
I'm going to a forage group focus meeting in Lacombe this week where they are trying to find out what producers think they should be researching with the Western Beef/Forage Group. I'm going to try and interest them in this whole topic of growing crops specifically for N as it's something there is very little up to date regional information on.
I was quoted fertiliser prices the other day for spring delivery which are all 25-30% higher than what they were in spring 2010. Urea (46.0.0) was quoted at $660. Maybe works with $14 canola but not convinced it does growing cattle feed.
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PostSubject: Re: Swath grazing   Sun Oct 30, 2011 8:16 pm

Hilly, how about broadcasting a bulbless hybrid brassica, like Hunter from PGG or T-raptor from Barenbrug, in April to make use of the May/June growing season before planting the swath? The seed would only cost about $15 an acre, and you could seed it with a $300 broadcaster on a quad. You would have a lot of high quality grazing in June, whether you needed it or not.
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Austin Risty



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PostSubject: Re: Swath grazing   Sun Oct 30, 2011 8:54 pm

Tom D

You've tried this? Do you drag it in?
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Hilly



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PostSubject: Re: Swath grazing   Sun Oct 30, 2011 9:15 pm

Tom D wrote:
Hilly, how about broadcasting a bulbless hybrid brassica, like Hunter from PGG or T-raptor from Barenbrug, in April to make use of the May/June growing season before planting the swath? The seed would only cost about $15 an acre, and you could seed it with a $300 broadcaster on a quad. You would have a lot of high quality grazing in June, whether you needed it or not.

I’m not familiar with it, just tried to find some info on it quick and didn’t find much; I’ll look into it, thanks.
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Grassfarmer



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PostSubject: Re: Swath grazing   Sun Oct 30, 2011 9:23 pm

Hilly wrote:
Tom D wrote:
Hilly, how about broadcasting a bulbless hybrid brassica, like Hunter from PGG or T-raptor from Barenbrug, in April to make use of the May/June growing season before planting the swath? The seed would only cost about $15 an acre, and you could seed it with a $300 broadcaster on a quad. You would have a lot of high quality grazing in June, whether you needed it or not.

I’m not familiar with it, just tried to find some info on it quick and didn’t find much; I’ll look into it, thanks.

If it's a brassica its going to use a lot of water - don't they all by definition? Like the oldtimers used to say in Scotland about the swede turnips they grew - "87% water - aye but awfy guid water"
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Tom D
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PostSubject: Re: Swath grazing   Sun Oct 30, 2011 9:39 pm

http://www.bestforage.com/forage-seed/brassicas.html

I guess I've never had to worry much about conserving soil moisture, you guys probably don't have to tile your fields, eh? I like crops that I consider "Idiot-proof". To me that includes Brassicas, Oats, Red Clover, and Sorghum/Sudan. We plant brassicas either in spring and late summer, usually with Jerry Oats. We've used a brillion, a no-till aitchison, and broadcasters. Austin, it would be better to drag it in, but depending on your ground I think you might be able to get away with just broadcasting. A little freezing and thawing action might help, but I don't know how early would be too early to seed. PGG is a seed company out of New Zealand, and I see on their website that they have seed coated with some type of moisture absorbent that makes a prepared seedbed unnecessary.
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