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Lets get started grazing

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This presentation was given at the 2014 Future Harvest Conference.

This presentation was given at the 2014 Future Harvest Conference.

Published in: Education, Business, Technology

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  • 1. Let’s Get Started Grazing Steffanie Simpson White Hall Farm Kearneysville, WV whitehallfarm@frontiernet.net
  • 2. White Hall Farm  53 Acres in Jefferson County, WV plus 20 Acres leased for 2014  100 head of Commercial Katahdin Ewes  30 head of Replacement Ewe lambs (2013)  30 head of Commercial Kiko Cross, Nubian, and Boer Does  10 head of Replacement Doelings (2013)  95 % Ram Lambs and Bucklings marketed for Eid al-Adha  Ewe Lambs have been retained to grow the flock  Goal is for the flock to produces lambs/kids that thrive on forage
  • 3. Everybody Has Pasture, Right?  In 2013 we lambed and kidded in Feb/March  Purchased feed until we had grass growing  Beginning in 2014, Lambing and Kidding will start April 1  Allows for pregnant ewes and does to graze small grains last 30 days  Lamb/Kid on pasture and remain on pasture  Lambs and Kids will wean in July and graze Millet/Brassica until market  Looks like we need the most forage in the summer…
  • 4. Our Pastures consisted of …
  • 5. So, What Can We Do To Fill That Gap?  Planted approx 12 acres in Millet/Brassica mix  Rented No-Till Drill of local Conservation District  Grazed weaned lambs and kids---130 head  July 15 until mid to late September 2013  For simplicity 90 days of grazing  Sale price per pound $2.00, average weight 75 pounds=$19,500  The average daily labor for moving rotational fences=2 hours  Very similar to the daily labor to feed the same amount of animals
  • 6. Low Input vs. High Input Grazing Forages Purchasing Feeds
  • 7. What actually happened… 20 18 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 0 Grazing Total Cost Feed Cost Time $$ Return $1,250 $6,812 Return Grazing Feeding $18,250 $12,700
  • 8. Ewe Lambs and Doelings grazing Millet/Brassica
  • 9. Manage for re-growth Take Half….. ……Leave Half
  • 10. Added Benefits of Rotational Grazing  Disperse Manure Across Field  Eliminate Concentrated Feeding Areas  Reduce Parasite Risks  Continually Fresh Forage  Value-Added Product
  • 11. Tools of the Trade… Electric Net Fencing
  • 12. Gallagher SmartFence Reel
  • 13. Powering Your Electric Fence  Choose high quality charger that exceeds your needs  Proper installation and maintenance Grounding rods Connectors Cut-out switches Check it everyday
  • 14. What Is Our Target?  Quality Lambs and Goats with correct finish  Finish Lambs and Goats for Eid al Adha  We needed a few lambs for local, traditional processing  Ewe Lambs and Doelings to continue growing for replacements
  • 15. Ethnic/religious holidays impact prices. Price per cwt, ~70 lb. lambs, Prime and Choice, YG 2-3 Festival of the Sacrifice New Holland, Pennsylvania Oct 15 $240 $220 Orthodox Easter (May $200 Western Easter Mar 31 $180 $160 $140 $120 25-Nov 11-Nov 28-Oct 14-Oct 30-Sep 16-Sep 2-Sep 19-Aug 5-Aug 22-Jul 24-Jun 10-Jun 27-May 13-May 29-Apr 15-Apr 1-Apr 18-Mar 4-Mar 18-Feb 4-Feb 21-Jan 7-Jan $100 8-Jul Ramadan Jul 9- Aug 8
  • 16. Quality (finish) affects prices. 27-36 kg kids, $ per head (weighted average) New Holland, Pennsylvania USA April 1 -November, 4, 2013 $200 $180 $160 $140 $120 $100 $80 $60 4/1 4/8 4/22 4/29 5/6 5/13 5/20 5/27 6/3 6/10 6/17 6/24 7/1 7/8 7/15 7/29 8/5 8/12 8/19 8/26 9/2 9/9 9/16 9/23 9/30 10/21 10/28 11/4 Selection 1 $13 $15 $15 $16 $15 $15 $16 $14 $17 $16 $14 $14 $16 $18 $15 $12 $13 $13 $15 $14 $13 $14 $13 $13 $15 161 139 141 Selection 2 $10 $13 $13 $14 $12 $11 $12 $14 $15 $12 $11 $10 $14 $13 $13 $10 $11 $10 $10 $11 $11 $12 $11 $12 $11 120 102 118 Selection 3 $63 $10 $89 $70 $98 $88 $99 $71 $85 $10 $10 $83 $88 $10 $90 $79 $99 $97 $89 $68 $89 $94 $85 $10 $90 93 76 86
  • 17. Price Driven By Quality…Finish… Ready For Market Not Ready
  • 18. Pit Falls of Grazing System Forages not available when you need them Too Much or Too Little Forage Dependant on nature for rain Abandoning the System Mid-Season Poor Quality Market Lambs and Goats PARASITES
  • 19. Sometimes Things Don’t Always Look Good…
  • 20. What Went Wrong..Here?  Planted Late  Mechanical Failure of the Drill  No Rain for 3 Weeks After Planting Changes For Next Year….  Rent a Better Drill  Plant Earlier
  • 21. And Here?  INTERNAL PARASITES  Higher Diligence  Work EVERY 2 WEEKS  FAMACHA System  Treat Only Those Needing It  Weight and Records
  • 22. Use The FAMACHA System …
  • 23. The Five Point Check
  • 24. Handling Equipment We Use
  • 25. Chute System include a scale, headgate and turntable
  • 26. Predator Control is Very Important
  • 27. Forages
  • 28. Tall Fescue Pasture Growth Trend
  • 29. Orchard Grass
  • 30. Where Can You Get Help?  Local Agricultural Extension Agent – Resource and Information  NRCS Field Technicians - Resource  FSA Staff – Farm Maps  Local Conservation District – Soil and Forage Tests  Seed and Fertilizer Dealers – Product Information  New Equipment Dealers – Rental Department – No-Till Drills  Grazing and Forage Conferences
  • 31. How Can You Start Your Grazing Plan? Look At Your Farm: Field Size, Shape, Layout Acquire Fence Energizer and Electric Nets Select a Paddock size that will give your animals 2 days of grazing Be sure to move water and minerals with the animals Don’t over graze before making the next move Lots of Trial And Error to determine your division sizes
  • 32. Grazing Has Benefited Us Reducing Feed Costs Improved Animal Health Improved Our Use of Resources Start Toward Creating Local Market Our Experiences Have Motivated Us To Expand Our Grazing Plan
  • 33. Take Home Points Grazing is not without risk – You are managing Nature What works for one may not work for another It may not work the same year after year Stay Vigilant about Parasites Start small – Don’t overwhelm yourself Be Flexible and Adapt to adverse conditions Be a Mindful Steward of the Land
  • 34. My Favorite Websites Sheepandgoat.com Tennesseemeatgoats.com Premier1supplies.com Onpasture.com Ohiosheep.org