So here is a short summary of the week of 10/28 to 11/2: Big news, we finally got a killing frost on Halloween. Even though the grass was frosty, I’m not sure how much it really effected the dense, rested pasture. I’m sure the quality will take a hit alittle so I continue to take forage samples as we go to see how much. I had a visit Thursday from writer, Jack Kittredge of NOFA’s Natural Farmer paper. In true farming fashion when we crested the hill to see the heifers grazing in the designated paddock, they had decided to go on a little hiatus into field 12 because my fence found a dead short along my gulley and some old buried wire. Jack watched as I got them all back where they were supposed to be with corralling them with poly-tape. They were well-fed to say the least and thirsty. Shit happens as they say.
I found that the first paddock in field ten had regrown 2 inches before we got the frost. The golden dung flies are still active and the manure is just about perfect still with a pumpkin pie consistency. We had 5.05 inches of rain for October and the temps are moving into seasonal averages. My grazing planning is always predicated on animals eating a third more when it gets colder. No snow to report as of this writing. The pasture has compressed some and looks much shorter as the orchardgrass has toppled on itself due to the rain and its own growth. We are not back-fencing since they are soiling up their feed area with poop, urine and trampling and seem to be leaving a decent amount of residual. I’m trying to get my hands on a digital raising plate meter to measure this residual since its hard to quantify the before and after. I’m probably over-thinking it. I continue to be amazed at the amount of late season green seed-heads. Since we have grazed and pruned (another name for clipping, ie: Cliff Hawbaker) we shouldn’t have these but we do. Might be showing how fertility and management decreases the stress of a plant to reseed itself and put more growth on. I did take soil samples last Saturday of the whole farm and was excited to see all the cool stuff at the soil surface. Can’t wait to see the results of all this litter and earthworm activity on organic matter levels. Stay tuned. And finally I am making it official, we are having a pasture walk on December 6th here and hope the readers will come see this live and share the passion with us and eat some awesome food prepared by my wife and family. Thanks to the over 300 folks who visited my site and OnPasture in seeing how this will all turn out. We are ahead by 5 days so far which makes the grazing plan wrong but hey that’s farmin’. GW