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Turned out on “grass”, right or wrong

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leanin' H

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Turned my cows out on pasture this weekend. And turned out a bull today. The grass is trying but it’s sure slow. I leased this piece of ground two years ago and didn’t use it at all last year.
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It’s got a well on it and that’s a good thing in our dry country. And a good cement trough
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The new grass is about three inches tall. And there is enough old grass to give them dry matter and fill them up. I always try and leave half but it’s sure hard during drought.
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Our old sage flats work well for spring and fall grazing.
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It’s been a windy Cur all day. Supposed to blow in a storm. Fingers and toes crossed!!!!!
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We had the fellars who make the annual rounds shearing sheep come by Saturday morning and knock the wool off of little H’s stockshow flock. They make a tough job look easy. I’ve sheared enough sheep to know I wasn’t cut out to shear sheep. Like horse shoeing it’s a dang hard job. Somehow littlest H was the wool tromper. I think his sister owes him a soda 😁
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We find lots of ways to keep entertained out here on the desert. There is a full summer of fencing, corral repair, scale install, additional hog pens, farming and irrigation ahead. It’s a dang good thing we all get along and love our chosen lifestyle. I kinda get a kick out of listening to my day job coworkers discussing weekend plans. Lots of camping and shopping and eating out and vacations plans. They’re happy doing what they do but if I’m not busy I’m not very content. Y’all have a fine evening

H’
 

webfoot

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Everyone has been turning out here. Ready or not here we come. Hay stacks are gone. It is either buy hay or turn out.
One of the neighbors turned out on the BLM behind me. This is split allotment. One year spring to the east and fall to the west. Next year it flips. This year is spring west. I heard him say a week or two ago that he was just going to open the gate at the east end and let them drift to the west. About a third of the east part is actually deeded land of mine. But there is no fence so it becomes a shared grazing with the BLM. I wish it were fenced but it is about 3 miles of nasty steep rocky ground. A fence would cost a small fortune to build. So for now it is shared with BLM. The neighbor came off a horse at a branding. He has a compression fracture in his back as a result. So he went with his idea of just opening the gate. The majority of the cows must have drifted west. But about 20% took a right. And they are on my deeded ground that is supposed to be grazed in the fall. I want to be a good neighbor to a guy who is hurt but I don't want ground that I own to get beat up. Hmmmmm
 

Mountain Cowgirl

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Yes, that is a tough situation but building fences in that terrain requires youth and a love of building rock jacks. The value of the grazing probably wouldn't be worth a fraction of the fence cost even if you did all the labor. Be that as it may, losing fall grazing can weigh heavy on a rancher's mind. I am thinking of all the ranchers in Eastern Montana that aren't going to have sufficient spring grazing and probably no fall grazing at all even for a reduced herd. To answer the question of turning out on the range grass that is behind this year, I say there is no right or wrong. It is a gamble. I am afraid we are going to have a bad wildfire year in the west that would wipe out any chance of having fall grass.
 

Faster horses

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Still no moisture to speak of in SE Mt. Thanks for caring Mountain Cowgirl. Everyone of our customers ordered their summer mineral, which was surprising. The land of eternal hope. If they can get rain by mid May and get enough, they
will be okay. One particular year we lived there, it was very dry and we didn't expect to get any hay. We went to see our family in Wyoming on Father's Day. When we got home it had rained 6"!! We were able to put up hay and had plenty of grass. That country is amazing. It doesn't take a lot of rain, but it needs some and needs to come at the right time.

Story, WY, which isn't far from us but much higher in elevation, is in a Winter Weather Advisory. They could get 10" of SNOW, mostly tonight!

Leanin' H, you are correct about the dry matter. It will help alot. We found in SE Montana in the fall, the new green crested wheat grass mixed with old grass (dry matter) really put the pounds on the calves. Dry matter is a requirement that isn't talked about much. We had to learn it and have presented it to our customers so they are aware of it. A good example was when we visited friends in SW Montana. Their cows were on irrigated ground. The cows were on the road, trying to get some dry matter and those cows didn't look so good. Putting out a round bale of old hay, straw, anything, would have solved that need for dry matter.
Even in spring with a lot of green grass, we learned to put out an old round bale of something. We didn't unroll it, just let it set. They didn't eat it like when they were on full feed in winter, but soon it was gone. It helped them to be content and surprisingly, they bred up excellent. What we used to think in spring, the cows were 'chasing green grass'....what they were really doing was chasing dry matter. It's all interesting.
 

leanin' H

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Grass is a complex plant. What you see above ground is roughly 1/3rd of what’s under the dirt. When animals graze the top half of the plant the root mass shrinks slowly. But when you hammer the top, the roots shrink much faster. That’s why leaving some is such a huge benefit to the grass. It can grow up instead of rebuilding the root mass first. I have always been a believer that ya have to take care of the grass for it to take care of the livestock. Thankfully the rain today will be a giant boost for it.
 

DosArroyos

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Have you thought about electric fencing for that rough terrain area?
 

leanin' H

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Man that sure looks like our high desert country. Steep and dirty rough. No fun fencing. We usually just put drift fences in the saddles but cows learn to go around if they want to bad enough.
 

webfoot

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Actually I am standing about on my property line when I took this picture. My side is just as steep as what is in the picture. The line goes down to the right and eventually crossed the canyon and goes about half way up the side in the picture. It is a mile from where I am to the property corner. At the corner it goes back down across the canyon and up over the near side.
 

leanin' H

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Webfoot I’ve built a bunch of fence in my life. But if ya asked me for a bid on that one I’d kindly pass 😁
A guy would about be better off to do a land trade with the BLM and give up that piece for another one in a better spot. Although that’s is easier said than done. And it’s probably part of your place and the trade would give ya a piece of ground not connected to your place
 

Mountain Cowgirl

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Actually I am standing about on my property line when I took this picture. My side is just as steep as what is in the picture. The line goes down to the right and eventually crossed the canyon and goes about half way up the side in the picture. It is a mile from where I am to the property corner. At the corner it goes back down across the canyon and up over the near side.
I get the visual perfectly having been there. It is hard to explain in words and even photos the rugged terrain of the Burnt River Canyon. We used to joke that you could tell which direction a Burnt River calf predominantly grazed by which side legs were longer. Hahaha!
 
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webfoot

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That picture is not Burnt River Canyon. It is Sinker Canyon. One of little feeder streams to Burnt River. The first picture is looking down into Burnt River Canyon. The picture was taken off the ridge in the middle of that first picture looking down the other side. The second picture is looking up Little Sinker from the canyon road. Little sinker is a good portion of my deeded range land which is in the shared deal with the BLM. The road at this point is about 2,700 feet elevation. The top of the hill from little sinker is 4,700 feet.
 

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Mountain Cowgirl

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That picture is not Burnt River Canyon. It is Sinker Canyon. One of little feeder streams to Burnt River. The first picture is looking down into Burnt River Canyon. The picture was taken off the ridge in the middle of that first picture looking down the other side. The second picture is looking up Little Sinker from the canyon road. Little sinker is a good portion of my deeded range land which is in the shared deal with the BLM. The road at this point is about 2,700 feet elevation. The top of the hill from little sinker is 4,700 feet.
Thanks for that info. Your property must run good ways up Burnt River Canyon or maybe I am off of where I think you are. Based on the bridge info I am thinking you are the place that became a guest ranch about 2010. I am not sure who owned it then or before. I forget names. I do remember taking the side road that crossed the bridge to deliver several priority packages from a vet supply somewhere around 25 years ago to a two-story house down a long lane. There was no white fence that I remember. Maybe the guest ranch put it in or I am still confused.
 

webfoot

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Thanks for that info. Your property must run good ways up Burnt River Canyon or maybe I am off of where I think you are. Based on the bridge info I am thinking you are the place that became a guest ranch about 2010. I am not sure who owned it then or before. I forget names. I do remember taking the side road that crossed the bridge to deliver several priority packages from a vet supply somewhere around 25 years ago to a two-story house down a long lane. There was no white fence that I remember. Maybe the guest ranch put it in or I am still confused.
The people we bought from had grand ideas of making a guest ranch. Something like that doesn't just happen on its own. They bought it 2009ish. We bought it in 2018. It was several generations who were going to make a guest ranch. The older ones were just getting to be too old. The next ones had day jobs in town and didn't want to work that hard once they got home. And the youngest ones were way too young. That middle generation moved to town and took their kids with them. The old ones couldn't do the work or afford to make the payments, so they had to sell. Stan and Mo (two owners back) put up the fence about 2000-2008.

A couple land marks. The Durkee shooting range. I go about half a mile up river from there. Probably a quarter mile past the Durkee swimming hole. The road swings north at that point but the property line is straight. So the property line is several hundred feet south of the road at that point. It actually crosses the road about 200 yards down stream from the shooting back stop. That picture looking up Little Sinker was taken from about the middle of the shooting range.
 

leanin' H

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Well i made it 2 weeks and had to move my cows. The grass simply won't come. Dry and cold isn't the recipe for great grass. My summer pasture is higher on the mountain and looks pretty good. The rain will make life much easier. But it sure doesn't look promising. I didn't take any pictures when we gathered and loaded to trailer them up on the mnt. I'll take mineral up one night this week and try to remember to take a few then.
 

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