Southern sawg getting started with animals on pasture
Steve Muntz, Firefly Farm Mount Sterling, KY
Why Animals? Quality of life, enjoyment of animals Compliment other existing enterprises
Why Animals? Generate additional income from the farm Under utilized land
Why Pasture?•Most sustainable way ofraising (particularlyruminant) livestock. You area “grass farmer”•Health and marketingbenefits from pasture raisedanimals•Different species cancompliment each other onpasture and reduce costsand/or increase utilization
Considerations in Starting Animals onPastureGoals What do you like? Resources – Capital, Land, People,
Pasture Availability by MonthWarmSeasonCoolSeason J F M A M J J A S O N D Zone B that includes Little Rock, AR
Pasture Quality Factors•Type of forage –annual/perennial,•Type of forage-Grass/legume/forb• Stage of growth-Vegetative, transitional, reproductive
Range of Palatable Species Narrowest range – grasses, clovers, some forbs Broader range including most of the same species that cows like as well as a greater range of forbs Broadest range with a first preference for brushy species but very adaptable to grasses, clovers and a variety of forbs
Suggestions • Get Help – other farmers, extension, field days, SSAWG, etc. • Get Your Hands Dirty • Start Small unless you are really convinced that you are ready to jump in with the big guns!
What’s Next?Let’s get into it a little more with a game of AnimalFarmville. This is sort of like Farmville onFacebook but a couple of steps closer to reality.
Animal Farmville Object of the game: To establish a 2-D pasture-based livestock farm and walk through the first three years of development. In the process we hope to learn some of the important considerations involved in starting such a farm and in successful management. Players: One person serves as the “farm consultant” and two people or groups of people will be the “farmers”. The consultant is actually sort of a combination of game moderator and referee (who can make up rules as he goes), real estate agent, banker, order buyer, regulator and feed dealer. We will also need a few “farm hands”.
Animal Farmville Game Set-up Each farmer starts with a 50 acre farm with landscape established by the consultant. Each farmer will be given a little time to do some initial farm planning and can decide to raise up to three species of animals during the course of the game. Each farmer begins the game with 12 credits and gains or loses credits based on game actions. Each turn is three months long based on a season of the year (Spring, summer, fall, winter) The game begins in the fall
Animal Farmville Playing the Game – during each turn farmers can choose to do three things from the following list as long as the conditions on the farm allow them to do so.Outflow choices Inflow choices•build fence, corral or waterline (-$1) • help neighbor (+$1)• purchase equipment or chicken pen • go to SSAWG (+$1)(-$1) • go to field day (+$1)• purchase barn (-$2) • market animals (+$3)• pasture work (-$1) • direct market animals (+$4)• purchase feed or hay (-$1) • direct market products (+$5)• purchase animals (-$1) • planning (+$1)• develop market (-$1)• develop product (-$1)
Animal FarmvillePlaying the GameIn addition to these activities, farmer may also breed animals, remove breeding animals, rotate animals or train animals to electric fence during any turn.In between turns, the consultant will comment on the moves and suggest strategies for upcoming moves. The consultant may also play a “Farm Factor” card which may influence the farm(s) in one or more ways. As this is a rather free flowing game, the consultant will also consider other expert opinions available to him.Ending the GameThe game ends at the end of three years