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Gerald Fry?????

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Northern Rancher

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Has anybody read some of this latest cattle guru's rehashed Bonsma theory lately. He has a long article in the Grassfarmer about selecting for fertility etc. About 3/4 of the way through he reccommends not breeding heifers till they are 20-24 months old-so much for fertility selection-I think a Limo steer would get in clf if you exposed him to a bull at 24 months. It seems like every few years one of these ying yangs trots out his dog and pony show. If anybody wants to learn about visual selection for fertility get a copy of the Bonsma lectures not this boneheads hogwash.
 

Big Muddy rancher

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While on the sudject what about Tom Elliots booklet about bull selection? He put it out when he still had the N- . If I remember I think it had a lot of good points just alot to remember when checking out bulls.
 

Denny

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Most of these grass farmers starve their cattle through the winter they call it ruffing them through but it's starveing. So the replacement heifer's weigh less in the spring than they did at weaning. It take's them an extra year to mature I think it also affect's mature frame size so with some feed those Kit Pharo type cows could have been 5 frame instead of 3 frame the genetics are there. You can't starve the profit's out of your cattle.But many will try.
 

Northern Rancher

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Now now Denny there's alot of grass based outfits that have well managed cattle-heifers that breedd at yearling etc. Last I checked cows were still classified as ruminants not as corn cribs. The problem with a few is that they are trying to practice evolution instead of selection. I saw the funniest thing this summer-a friend was getting rid of his cows a few years back and buying bison because their input costs were so low. Well in midsummer I saw some big self feeders out in the buffalo pasture-when asked why he said you had to supplement those buff cows so they would cycle. Kind of a flip flop-guys are turning cows into buffalo and others are turning buffalo into cows.
 

DiamondSCattleCo

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Denny said:
Most of these grass farmers starve their cattle through the winter they call it ruffing them through but it's starveing.

We got one of those "natural" beef farmer idiots up here. The local ag rep even had him put on a seminar and some people even paid good money to listen to this guy. He feels that our pastures have to return to natual grasses (up here that means trees and Canada thistle), and that the cattle for millions of years grazed in the winter with no-one feeding them, so there is no reason why cattle shouldn't be allowed to graze in the winter again. He forgets that no frickin cow would have ever stuck around Northern Sask in the winter time. His cows calve pretty much whenever, and he never interferes with them. His calving rate is a little less than 35%, and its gross to drive by his farm and see the dead calves piled up.

There are indeed well managed grass outfits, but they sure can't do it up this far north. What I find unfortunate is when the SPCA is called, they don't do anything about it :(
 

Denny

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DiamondSCattleCo said:
Denny said:
Most of these grass farmers starve their cattle through the winter they call it ruffing them through but it's starveing.

We got one of those "natural" beef farmer idiots up here. The local ag rep even had him put on a seminar and some people even paid good money to listen to this guy. He feels that our pastures have to return to natual grasses (up here that means trees and Canada thistle), and that the cattle for millions of years grazed in the winter with no-one feeding them, so there is no reason why cattle shouldn't be allowed to graze in the winter again. He forgets that no frickin cow would have ever stuck around Northern Sask in the winter time. His cows calve pretty much whenever, and he never interferes with them. His calving rate is a little less than 35%, and its gross to drive by his farm and see the dead calves piled up.



There are indeed well managed grass outfits, but they sure can't do it up this far north. What I find unfortunate is when the SPCA is called, they don't do anything about it :(


I think they have these guys give speeches cause their amazed they are still in business.
 

Northern Rancher

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Come over to NW Sask.and we can go visit ten or so-there no such a word as can't-heard that a million times as a kid. Just was talking to one of the better ones at an X-mas concert tonight and he hasn't fed a hoof yet-trust me his cows will be hog fat too. I've been through your country alot it's much the same as ours and there are lots of great natural grasses that grow up there-I'm not saying you can run out all winter but you sure can extend your pasture season.
 

Soapweed

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Here is an observation from grazing winter pasture in the Nebraska Sandhills. No matter how good the grass is, even if it is plumb fresh, you can feed the worst old bullrushes on a sandy road in the pasture and that is the first place that cattle go to eat. They will eat it all but the moss.

Another observation is that junk hay and swamp grass put up early and green is more tasty to the cattle than is good timothy and clover put up for hay too late in the season.
 

Northern Rancher

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A big mistake is guys try and push it too hard in the winter-I found your better off leaving grass and turning out earliar in spring-those old cows get hunting grass once the snow goes they'll graze stuff they'd turn their nose up at in fall.
 

Soapweed

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We used to have a neighbor that grazed his ground to the nubbin. It was on state-owned school land that he leased. He has since gone out of business, and we now use the land. Anyway, with no grass cover on his land it was always a fact that we got all of the snow that fell on our pastures plus that which fell on his. The wind would just blow it from the overgrazed pasture right into ours, where the grass held it in place.
 

Faster horses

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Interesting that anything cut early beats everything cut too late.

Also interesting that when we had irrigated meadows, we could leave the grass standing on the ditch banks and the cows would not eat it; just would not. If we cut it with a mowing machine and let it lay, the cows ate it all up. We have now learned that if it is cut, the nutrients stay in; if is left standing, the nutrients leach out. Forage analysis taught us that, but of course, the cows knew anyway~and they didn't read the books. :wink:
 

DiamondSCattleCo

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Northern Rancher said:
I've been through your country alot it's much the same as ours and there are lots of great natural grasses that grow up there-I'm not saying you can run out all winter but you sure can extend your pasture season.

It'll depend on your year how long you could possibly stretch your grazing out. Some years, we don't have much snow until mid to end December. Other years, we've got 3 feet laying in the fields November 1. Even swath grazing won't work then.

As far as natural grasses go, I think you may be thinking of another area :lol: We do have alot of quack grass, and in the wet spots, we'll get alot of swamp grass (which the cows won't touch until its either cut or dead in the winter). Wire grass will tend to grow in the mossy areas, but cattle don't even like that stuff when its cut and baled. The majority of the land up here has been farmed for too many years and the natural grasses are all but gone from the soil. I've got a little 2 acre piece of dirt that I quit haying because it was a pain in the neck to roll into and cut every year. In 7 years of not being tended, its still nothing but dandelion and thistle. I spose if I went in and clipped the thistle each year that after 5 or 6 years I'd see some tree cover come back with some quack grass, but it would take some work.

This natural guy doesn't do anything along those lines. He theorizes that if the land is just left alone, it will come back to natural all on its own in a short period of time. I guess it would, if you consider a short period of time to be 40 years or so. In the meantime, his cattle are starving to death, and the weed seeds from his natural pasture are blowing into my brome/crested wheat/trefoil pastures. I think its despicable.

Sorry, didn't mean to hi-jack this thread :) I now quit with my rant and return you to your regularly scheduled other rant :)

Rod
 

Northern Rancher

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Weeds won't establish in a healthy stand of grass with much success-you must have some native fescue up there in your meadows-I let a field go back to see if succession works and it does-it was dandilions and weeds at first also-I kept track of my grazing days on it and we got $90 an acre worth of grazing off it. If you go from 'The Pas' straight west to Cold Lake' the native pastures are pretty similar. I don't know what 'natural' guy you are quoting but I haven't met him yet-you can see thin cattle,weedy pastures etc belonging to the chemical junkies too.
 

DiamondSCattleCo

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Northern Rancher said:
Weeds won't establish in a healthy stand of grass with much success-

Yeah, but the trick is to get the healthy stand of grass going, which is close to impossible to do naturally with thistle as thick as we get it here. Bear in mind that virtually all our pasture land around me is former farmland. It was farmed for years with the intent of eradicating any natural grasses (which are very easy to kill). All thats been left behind are the tough or impossible to kill weeds, and when the land is left to its own devices, thats all that will grow.

Some guys have had success with Round up, planting tame grasses and/or alfalfa then letting them go without any fertilizer. Eventually the tame stuff will die out, and quack grass will move in over a period of 10 - 15 years. I spose this is ok, but your carrying capacity is barely half of a tame grass. Quack has very little regrowth here unless we have alot of rain, and even then its not great.

But working up a piece of land, then letting it grow in 'naturally'? Uh uh. Not gonna work, at least not here anyway. You have to put something in that will compete with the thistle, choke it out, and give what natural grass there is a chance to start.

Rod
 

DiamondSCattleCo

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Faster horses said:
Why don't you sell some of that quack grass seed? I know we'd be interested in some.

:lol: That would involve having to actually fire up a combine and sit in it. I despise combining. Or seeding. Or anything else to do with dirt farming :)

But if you really want some of that seed, you can feel free to come on up here and take the manure out of the pens. The cows do a dandy job harvesting quack seed and throwing it over (or through I guess would be more appropriate). You'll have to figure out a way to deal with the pigweed and thistle though :(

Rod
 

greg

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Why in the heck would ANYBODY want quack grass :???: Can't get rid of the darn stuff,wifes STILL complaining about the nice manure I spread on her garden three years ago.... quack roots go to China
 

Faster horses

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While I appreciate your most generous offer, I think I will decline. :gag: :stop: :nod:

Quack grass will grow in barnyards and lots where cattle tromp the ground. As with anything, it has its place. They are actually touting quackgrass in some situations, although there is problem getting seed since it is considered a weed in most areas.

Pretty much I was joking...but not entirely.
 

Northern Rancher

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I'm actually a registered quackgrass grower lol. I can see why people would hate it persistant,palatable-fairly early in the spring. The key to grazing quack is the more you feed it the better it produces-we feed on our pastures so it gets a big shot of manure every year-I have some stands that are 20 years old and are still producing well. If you think it's getting rootbound disc the crap out of it and broadcast some alfalfa but wee haven't hads to do that for years.
 
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