We all have this wonderful thought that as a small farmer that we will never be like those big ag farms and to tell the truth I do my best to make sure that is true.. but sometimes.. just sometimes , some of the things they do can be useful..
I am doing a meet in the middle for a temp moment, I am making a corral with both outside and inside access for the sheep and they are being dry lot.
They are going in for a full month, I need that time to reseed the pasture, let the pasture get a good start to it and when needed I will dry lot the sheep for a day or two this summer as well, I am keeping a solid acre into nothing but horse level grazing, which is not enough for my two, they need hay and horse feed on top of that but it will help cut the hay bill a lot, the sheep on the other hand are getting the big pasture, the corner pasture and the side pasture..
I am taking back the side yard for human use and some extra garden uses to boot.. small rabbit grazing tractors are the only thing that are going into use there..
I can now say that it takes 150 pounds of whole grains to be hand walked and hand seeded out per acre of pasture, it was a mix of oats and barley, not good at all for true pasture, they are out there to add quick green and bulk to the field..
We are going to close off a smaller pasture this year, use the horses to lightly rake it down and level it and properly seed it back down to high quality pasture and then it will be locked down for the whole year, it will take me five years to get all my pastures done that way, and till them, I have will use the quick and easy way to bulk up the green feeds in the fields they are grazing..
But where does that put me on the farm being able to help.. Its going to be a use fodder year.. fodder can be grown and taken to the sheep, pigs, birds etc, and that is just what is going to happen..
While I am excited about the great squash growout for 2015, 80 plants of squash is beyond anything I can use, while the best will have their seeds returned to the program, the flesh used for our own house use, the rest will be hacked up and served up as fodder.
Have you ever needed to dry lot your animals for the better good, I dream of those that have so many acres all fenced that they never need to worry about overgrazing, but I can tell you this, all those lovely homesteading books that have lots of livestock on little pastures, forget to talk about how to keep those pastures working properly..
the number one issue being overgrazing, and the second.. poo.. While the sheep poo is easy, leave it, the cow or horse, not so much, I spent just as much time, either lifting and removing it and or spreading it out with the rake so that everything could grow though it and it could be seeded out
I was looking over the fence yesterday as we were working in the garden and went, hmmm.. need to tromp out with the wheel barrel and pick up all the fresh horse pile and move them to the compost pile