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Grassfarmer



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Join date : 2010-09-27
Location : Belmont, Manitoba, Canada

PostSubject: Re: Swath grazing   Mon Dec 05, 2011 11:26 pm

Bootheel wrote:


The best research on the subject I have seen, was from Neil Dennis, Grassfarmer. From previous converasation with you, I think you know that. His research showed a net negative affect with deep tillage. Bale grazing was his prefered method of restoration along with higher densities at some point, but not everytime, every year.

My problem here is lack of frozen ground. I know of no good, cheap, easy way to winterfeed. With six inches of rain last night, 33 degrees, the cows are mad, the land is mad, the owner is mad, the dogs are mad, there just isn't much happy environment right now. My solution was to kick some groups out on stockpiled grass. I am not mobbing them though, more like a few days suppy of grass, as my sward just will not support the weight for tighter groupings. As soon as it dries up, or freezes, back on hay they will go. With the extremely wet winters we have, and dry summers, it plays hell on the grass. What works today, makes you look like a jackass tommorrow. To me, your competive advantage is frozen winter land. Your disadvatage is short grazing season. I think the frozen tundra makes it easier to have a successful growing season, but I may be wrong.


I forgot to add that I have tried the deep rippers here. Our soils are very much prone to compaction, yet I saw no benefit. Rest, nutrition, and timely grazing has achieved far better results. I have also tried the Aerways with immeasurable benefit.



Bootheel,

Neil is probably 700+ miles from me and further from you so I'm a bit wary of expecting just the same results in different areas/on different soils. I'm not sure how much bale grazing he has actually done as I believe his main enterprise is summering custom cattle and he only had a small cow herd the last time I spoke to him.
I don't doubt bale grazing works but I still don't think you can cover enough ground with it to make significant progress. We can achieve similar results more economically by feeding all the cattle we winter out on pasture using feed bunks to limit wastage. The guy that probably does bale grazing best is from Alberta - he doesn't own much land, doesn't own cattle, a tractor or grow hay. He custom feeds cattle over the winter for some customers who must source and pay for the hay as well as provide the cattle and pay the yardage charges while he goes out on the grazing conference circuit telling everyone how easy bale grazing is and how profitable it is. I don't think that's sustainable as I think he'll run out of suckers to take advantage of Smile

When you said Neil thinks there is a negative effect to "deep tillage" do you mean plowing or subsoiling type activities?
I understand your challenge of wet winters - that was what I grew up with in Scotland. A 56'' annual rainfall with most falling October-April and it could get pretty dry in summer some years. We used sacrifice pastures/rock outcrops to keep them off the land in winter, most housed their cattle. One advantage I found with the wetter weather was you had better biological activity - grass left over is down on the surface and decaying by Christmas where in more brittle climates it can still be standing 3 years later and not contributing to the biological cycle. Our disadvantage isn't a short grazing season so much as a short growing season but that's probably what you meant. I did try an aerway one year and saw no positive effect but I did use it on the poorest pasture in what turned out to be the driest year ever here so maybe it wasn't a fair test.


Kent, what kind of pasture yields do you get when you are not in this severe drought cycle? How many AUDs/acre or acres to summer a cow?
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PatB



Posts : 352
Join date : 2010-09-25
Age : 53
Location : Turner, Maine

PostSubject: Re: Swath grazing   Tue Dec 06, 2011 7:49 am

If one reads and follows most of the so grazing guru's they have marvelous results using grazing alone until you read the rest of the story about custom feeding animals with someone else paying for the imported feed. The results are on section of the operation not the whole place. If you are making progress on improving the carrying capacity of the land and increasing desirable species you are making progress. In my area rotational grazing with appropiate recovery times can produce up 25 percent more forage over continous grazed pastures.
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Kent Powell



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Location : SW Kansas

PostSubject: Re: Swath grazing   Tue Dec 06, 2011 8:15 am

Kent, what kind of pasture yields do you get when you are not in this severe drought cycle? How many AUDs/acre or acres to summer a cow?

10 acres per pair is standard here for 4/15 - 10/15 summer grazing short grass. We had it right around 10 acres per year 2 years ago. We like to use tall grass in the summer and let the shortgrass cure for winter use. When calculated in tons, that doesn't seem like much, so I think we can do much better.
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PostSubject: Re: Swath grazing   Tue Dec 06, 2011 12:21 pm

Grassfarmer wrote:
Bootheel wrote:


The best research on the subject I have seen, was from Neil Dennis, Grassfarmer. From previous converasation with you, I think you know that. His research showed a net negative affect with deep tillage. Bale grazing was his prefered method of restoration along with higher densities at some point, but not everytime, every year.




I forgot to add that I have tried the deep rippers here. Our soils are very much prone to compaction, yet I saw no benefit. Rest, nutrition, and timely grazing has achieved far better results. I have also tried the Aerways with immeasurable benefit.



Bootheel,



When you said Neil thinks there is a negative effect to "deep tillage" do you mean plowing or subsoiling type activities?


Yes, on the subsoiling as having a negative result. The soil warmed up much quicker in the spring, which I would have thought would have been a good thing, but the trend carried on through the growing season. All of this lead to more moisture loss than the untreated, and nullified any resulting ability to ''catch''more water. The net result was a decrease in grazing days. I do not remember how many years out he took measurements. It was far more scientific than most any other grazing guru's "studies''.


On my own non scientific studies, a full recovery period did more good, to heal the land, than any mechanical means provided. It also made hell to ride a horse, through the area that had been ripped. Also cows would fall off in the soft spots. It did catch more water, becoming waterlogged, but after seeing Neil's study, I think the same thing occured as water loss was greater once it dried out.

I have tried no-tilling in grass seed without much luck. If it is a poor enough stand of grass, in the future, I will go back to a prepared seed bed. I put some cropland back into grass two and half years ago, and have had poor establishment on ANY method attempted. So once again, stuff happens. It is Life. Legumes seem to be the best band aid to buy time for the grass here. I am still experimenting with different warm season perenials, and will try some annualls this summer on lowlands. If I can stay off of the cool season pastures from late June till frost, the palatability improves, as does the pasture dynamics.

I should probably just keep my mouth shut Iian, as I am not a good student or teacher, but I did find Neil's studies interesting and congruent to my own observations.




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PatB



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PostSubject: Re: Swath grazing   Tue Dec 06, 2011 12:40 pm

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Grassfarmer



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Location : Belmont, Manitoba, Canada

PostSubject: Re: Swath grazing   Tue Dec 06, 2011 3:13 pm

I appreciate all input Bootheel, it's tough to understand all the aspects to grass/grazing. Like one of the grazing guys up here says "It's not more complicated than we think, it's more complicated than we can think"
I'm frustrated by the amount of conflicting information put out by different people trying to sell their product, promote their idea or justify their own paradigms. I'm particularly bad on the paradigm one - it's hard not to try and convince yourself of something you want to believe in/make work.
My pet peeve with the bale grazing guys, and swath grazers to an extent, is they never compare like to like. When they cost bale grazing they compare it to feeding cows in a corral with all the associated manure hauling. I always argue that they can't write off the "waste" feed so lightly under their system as I believe I can achieve similar results by feeding hay in rings, on pasture. If you import one bale of hay it has $x value of nutrients - I argue that putting as much of those as possible through the cow is desirable as it helps keep her in better condition and doesn't really alter the nutrients returned to the land. A cow on a maintanence diet over winter isn't removing a lot of nutrients from the cycle. Waste is waste and balegrazers may argue that when hay is 2.5c/lb but they usually go quiet when it's 5c/lb.
I read one recently on Ranchers where someone was extolling the virtues of bale grazing. He started by stating that it cost him the same to get hay delivered to the yard or the pasture. Then reported how long it took to set up several hundred bales in the fall for balegrazing (it worked out to an incredible 1 minute per bale and clearly didn't include removing strings) This was then compared to their "regular winter feeding" which took 2 hours/day. Running the numbers they were feeding just over 3 bales/day - so if it costs the same to get bales delivered to field or yard how come you can spread them under a bale grazing scenario in a minute each when it took 2 hours to set out 3 bales in the past? Not comparing like to like me thinks scratch
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PatB



Posts : 352
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PostSubject: Re: Swath grazing   Tue Dec 06, 2011 7:08 pm

How far is the hay stack area from were it is being fed and how many bales can be transported at a time. I will be relocating my tarp hay stacks closer to were they will be fed out to save time in transport by tractor. If the hay is unloaded in the field where it is to be fed and the trucker moves as needed then set out time could be reduced. Could it be that there is no simple answer but multiple options that need to combined and tweak for each situtation. Bale grazing, high density mob grazing, daily rotations, frost or over seeding new forage species, fertilizer and multiple other tools are just that "tools to be used to accomplish our goals".
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PostSubject: Re: Swath grazing   Wed Dec 07, 2011 8:51 am

Bootheel wrote:
Grassfarmer wrote:
Bootheel wrote:


The best research on the subject I have seen, was from Neil Dennis, Grassfarmer. From previous converasation with you, I think you know that. His research showed a net negative affect with deep tillage. Bale grazing was his prefered method of restoration along with higher densities at some point, but not everytime, every year.




I forgot to add that I have tried the deep rippers here. Our soils are very much prone to compaction, yet I saw no benefit. Rest, nutrition, and timely grazing has achieved far better results. I have also tried the Aerways with immeasurable benefit.



Bootheel,



When you said Neil thinks there is a negative effect to "deep tillage" do you mean plowing or subsoiling type activities?


Yes, on the subsoiling as having a negative result. The soil warmed up much quicker in the spring, which I would have thought would have been a good thing, but the trend carried on through the growing season. All of this lead to more moisture loss than the untreated, and nullified any resulting ability to ''catch''more water. The net result was a decrease in grazing days. I do not remember how many years out he took measurements. It was far more scientific than most any other grazing guru's "studies''.


On my own non scientific studies, a full recovery period did more good, to heal the land, than any mechanical means provided. It also made hell to ride a horse, through the area that had been ripped. Also cows would fall off in the soft spots. It did catch more water, becoming waterlogged, but after seeing Neil's study, I think the same thing occured as water loss was greater once it dried out.

I have tried no-tilling in grass seed without much luck. If it is a poor enough stand of grass, in the future, I will go back to a prepared seed bed. I put some cropland back into grass two and half years ago, and have had poor establishment on ANY method attempted. So once again, stuff happens. It is Life. Legumes seem to be the best band aid to buy time for the grass here. I am still experimenting with different warm season perenials, and will try some annualls this summer on lowlands. If I can stay off of the cool season pastures from late June till frost, the palatability improves, as does the pasture dynamics.

I should probably just keep my mouth shut Iian, as I am not a good student or teacher, but I did find Neil's studies interesting and congruent to my own observations.








Joe: You need to try less harder in going about your establishment efforts. Greg Judy can take an old soybean field and without any seed or fertilizer have a lush pasture a year later apparently. Maybe you are working too hard at it.
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PostSubject: Re: Swath grazing   Wed Dec 07, 2011 2:23 pm

Gregory Walker wrote:



Joe: You need to try less harder in going about your establishment efforts. Greg Judy can take an old soybean field and without any seed or fertilizer have a lush pasture a year later apparently. Maybe you are working too hard at it.

He's not all right, or all wrong either. If it wasn't for the natural occuring,{ nonplanted by me: grasses and forbs,} there would'nt have been piddly squat out there. Most of it consisting of warm season grasses. Winter annualls such as ryegrass or cheat come in pretty quick. But I WANT perenial cool season there. Fescue will naturally fill in over time. All of our old Redtop fields are now fescue, without ever planting it there. I planted a bunch of cereal rye and all I have is cheat and ryegrass in those fields.

Bootheel
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PatB



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PostSubject: Re: Swath grazing   Wed Dec 07, 2011 2:54 pm

link to Neil Dennis talk on Youtube part 1 of 10 each about 15 minutes

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JtwpDc3rv5w
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Angus 62



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PostSubject: Re: Swath grazing   Wed Dec 07, 2011 3:13 pm

I'm with Bootheel when it comes to full recovery being the best thing to heal land. In these times of high feed and cattle prices it is hard to resist the temptation to either overgraze or bale it up and haul it off. I rented grass out this year for the first time ever. We had more pounds of cattle here this summer then ever and I will being going into the next year with the most stockpiled grass ever for this time of year. We had a good Spring but a louosy middle and late Summer and the worst hopper infestation I have ever seen. Very long rest periods is the difference.
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PatB



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PostSubject: Re: Swath grazing   Wed Dec 07, 2011 3:35 pm

Jim Gerrish videos on youtuve on grazing system designs

video 1 of 11

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gz8AdQmYlv8
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sanjose



Posts : 20
Join date : 2011-12-13
Age : 58
Location : Williams Lake B.C. Canada

PostSubject: Grass, Grazing, Bales, and Management of pastures    Sun Dec 18, 2011 8:42 pm

Hello everyone, This is my first post and am still having trouble finding my way around the site. Hope I get the post right. Hilly invited me over to the dark side and I am also saying hello to Bootheel who I met in Missouri last year. I don't have much to add or comment on other than it has been quite interesting reading the old posts. Yesterday we trailed our cattle over to some new dormant reeds canary grass in about 4 inches of snow while we watched the neighbors roll out feed for their cattle. I was impressed to see Hilly's cattle grazing in deep snow on swaths. We grazed our cattle on this same ground last year until Jan 13 and are hoping to get into Feb a ways this year if nature plays fair. Bale grazing has been our method of feeding when we start and it sure is an improvement over daily feeding not only for time but has made a significant difference financially. Merry Christmas everyone. Clint.
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PostSubject: Re: Swath grazing   Sun Dec 18, 2011 9:29 pm

sanjose wrote:
Hello everyone, This is my first post and am still having trouble finding my way around the site. Hope I get the post right. Hilly invited me over to the dark side and I am also saying hello to Bootheel who I met in Missouri last year. I don't have much to add or comment on other than it has been quite interesting reading the old posts. Yesterday we trailed our cattle over to some new dormant reeds canary grass in about 4 inches of snow while we watched the neighbors roll out feed for their cattle. I was impressed to see Hilly's cattle grazing in deep snow on swaths. We grazed our cattle on this same ground last year until Jan 13 and are hoping to get into Feb a ways this year if nature plays fair. Bale grazing has been our method of feeding when we start and it sure is an improvement over daily feeding not only for time but has made a significant difference financially. Merry Christmas everyone. Clint.


Well welcome aboard sanjose. I am guessing I met you at the Powerflex deal. If not then fill me in, as I may have trouble sleeping if I am wrong.


Thanks,
Bootheel
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PostSubject: Re: Swath grazing   Mon Dec 19, 2011 8:50 am

sanjose wrote:
Hello everyone, This is my first post and am still having trouble finding my way around the site. Hope I get the post right. Hilly invited me over to the dark side and I am also saying hello to Bootheel who I met in Missouri last year. I don't have much to add or comment on other than it has been quite interesting reading the old posts. Yesterday we trailed our cattle over to some new dormant reeds canary grass in about 4 inches of snow while we watched the neighbors roll out feed for their cattle. I was impressed to see Hilly's cattle grazing in deep snow on swaths. We grazed our cattle on this same ground last year until Jan 13 and are hoping to get into Feb a ways this year if nature plays fair. Bale grazing has been our method of feeding when we start and it sure is an improvement over daily feeding not only for time but has made a significant difference financially. Merry Christmas everyone. Clint.

Do you spray the canary grass with molasses first? I can't get them to touch the stuff when it is dormant.
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Hilly



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PostSubject: Re: Swath grazing   Mon Dec 19, 2011 11:26 am

I hope Clint realizes if he puts up a post he may have to turn on his computer more than once a month Smile

Joe to put your mind at ease and let you get some sleep, Clint was one of the Canadian faction at the Powerflex happening... for some reason he remembered you Shocked

On the canary grass we go through a fair bit of it with the swath grazing as it tends to be wetter land we use and it grows well in areas too wet to seed, it may be the cold weather but we have no trouble getting them to eat it as is, my concern would be compaction in the cows if it was their steady diet, just from observation, as I have never pulled a feed sample on it in the dormant stage. It is interesting grass and I manage it different in the summer as I generally try to graze it twice as many times as the other more typical tame pasture paddocks.
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PatB



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PostSubject: Re: Swath grazing   Mon Dec 19, 2011 11:30 am

Hilly wrote:
I hope Clint realizes if he puts up a post he may have to turn on his computer more than once a month Smile

Joe to put your mind at ease and let you get some sleep, Clint was one of the Canadian faction at the Powerflex happening... for some reason he remembered you Shocked

On the canary grass we go through a fair bit of it with the swath grazing as it tends to be wetter land we use and it grows well in areas too wet to seed, it may be the cold weather but we have no trouble getting them to eat it as is, my concern would be compaction in the cows if it was their steady diet, just from observation, as I have never pulled a feed sample on it in the dormant stage. It is interesting grass and I manage it different in the summer as I generally try to graze it twice as many times as the other more typical tame pasture paddocks.

Hilly is your reeds canary grass a newer variety or the stuff that has been around for years and cannot be killed? I find reeds canary grass hard to get extablished in a pasture but if you succeed it last forever.
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Hilly



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PostSubject: Re: Swath grazing   Mon Dec 19, 2011 11:39 am

patb,

I'm not sure, it's just there... I could check with my dad to see if they seeded any before my time.

I seem to remember him saying something about the seed being expensive.
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Grassfarmer



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PostSubject: Re: Swath grazing   Mon Dec 19, 2011 12:08 pm

We have a few areas of reeds canarygrass also - certainly must have been seeded a long time ago. Like Hilly says you need to keep on top of it for summer grazing to keep it digestible. If we let it get away from us in summer and grow rank the cows won't touch it through the fall. That changes after we get some frost on it - my guess is the frost is locking the sugar in it and raising the energy level because they clean it up well this time of year. Reeds Canary as hay usually makes poor feed as it tends to be cut quite mature but without frost. We grazed some recently that grew all summer ungrazed, the seed heads would be 7 feet high in places and the cows cleaned it off before they ate anything else in the field.
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sanjose



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PostSubject: Winter Grazing   Mon Dec 19, 2011 2:22 pm

Hello All, Yes Bootheel We met at the Powerflex deal in Missouri and visited over breakfast a couple of times as well as dinner at the Amish Inn. About the Canary grass, it sin't available to us until winter because it grows around a small lake that is back flooded in the spring to irrigate hayfields adjacent to it. The boards are pulled out of the dam one at a time over about two weeks to keep from washing the highway out as the lake lowers back to about half its area. The neighbor takes the hay off the smoother ground and puts it in stackyards for us. There is lots of mature feed left and most years there is quite a lot of regrowth on the hayed ground. We can only let the cattle on the field when it has frozen enough to keep them from breaking through the sod which is usually late November. This year it was a few days ago. The first year we did this our cows showed us who didn't belong and we had to feed them differently when the snow got too deep and we went bale grazing. Most of the cows did fine though and the weaker ones we had to feed separately came up open next fall and effectively sorted themselves. Switching to this low input management system sure gets rid of the shirkers in a hurry and has completely changed my mind about what the perfect mother cow is. As for the palatability of the mature grass I have to agree with Hilly that they ate it fine. The first couple of years we put molasses tubs out with them to boost protein, not because we had tested the feed because we never have and were only thinking it was needed. Last year we had trouble getting tubs so they got none and they made it just fine so there goes another input. Maybe up here when we get hard frosts early and then mild weather there is more in the feed because we still see some green on the bottom of the older plants and some fresh but short regrowth too. Anyway thanks for the welcome. Today I have to go to the dryer meadow stackyard on the lease place and try to build an electric wall to keep the mule deer out. It didn't seem to be as much of a problem when it wasn't our hay. Clint.
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PostSubject: Re: Swath grazing   Mon Dec 19, 2011 2:38 pm

Hmmmm. When our Canary grass is green and growing, they love it. Like it baled as well. Don't touch it right now though. of course they can eat hay, so maybe it is a preference thing.
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PatB



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PostSubject: Re: Swath grazing   Mon Dec 19, 2011 3:29 pm

Thanx Hilly

The reeds canary is probaly the same that has grown around hear for years in the damp spots in my hay fields. I am experimenting with overseading reeds canary in the damp areas in the pasture.
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PostSubject: Re: Swath grazing   Tue Dec 20, 2011 9:59 pm

Ah Craig, does it make you jealous that another Canadian beat you to be the first to have breakfast with me. It should. You are still special, and it was different with Clint. And know I wasn't thinking of you while having breakfast with him.


Bootheel, spreading the love.
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Hilly



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PostSubject: Re: Swath grazing   Wed Dec 21, 2011 12:18 am

Bootheel wrote:
Ah Craig, does it make you jealous that another Canadian beat you to be the first to have breakfast with me. It should. You are still special, and it was different with Clint. And know I wasn't thinking of you while having breakfast with him.


Bootheel, spreading the love.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&v=L4ZqealF4rk&NR=1

Jealous... who’s jealous Question

I get three square meals, cable T.V and laundry is looked after cheers

I just wish my celly would quit calling me Princess... its Pansy get it right Rolling Eyes
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sanjose



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PostSubject: Swath Grazing   Wed Dec 21, 2011 4:58 pm

I hope y'all only get this-a-way on account of Christmas. I had no intention of breaking up the set.
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