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We've got a long, dry summer ahead - a few pics

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Whitewing

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Back in December I started getting the feeling it was going to be a tough summer here. Unfortunately, I was right. I'm already hearing that ranchers just 30 minutes west of my place are already out of pasture. While that means I'll likely be able to make some decent money with my new baling business, I still hate to see so many folks (and their animals) suffer from drought. 2009 was brutal for everyone. I sure don't want to see that again.

Last year at this time it was much greener than it is now. We basically got zero rainfall during the month of January. Don't believe it's dry? Here are a couple of "before and after" shots of one of my more drought-resistent pastures.
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Here are a couple more shots, one of that same pasture and one of what is actually bermuda....wouldn't know it by the looks.
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At least my animals aren't suffering. In fact, I think they're eating better during this summer drought than they ate back in winter when everything was green. But boy, they sure can run through some bales in a hurry. :shock:
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And finally, despite the extremely harsh summer, I'm still producing bermuda. Yeah, the production has dropped way off, but the grass that I am producing still looks pretty decent and I've got far more customers than I have bales. My irrigation system was down for over week waiting repairs and now that it's back up and running, I'll start harvesting again. These shots were taken yesterday. I'll bale tomorrow.
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PATB

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Do you practice rotational grazing there? I would hate to think how long it would take my pasture to recover if I abused then that bad. I know everyone has different grasses/forages and recovery periods for differ with annaul mositure. I have found my pastures produce more and recover quicker if I leave 3 or 4 inches of ground cover to keep the sun off and catch any moisture.
 

Whitewing

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PATB said:
Do you practice rotational grazing there? I would hate to think how long it would take my pasture to recover if I abused then that bad. I know everyone has different grasses/forages and recovery periods for differ with annaul mositure. I have found my pastures produce more and recover quicker if I leave 3 or 4 inches of ground cover to keep the sun off and catch any moisture.

Yes, we do practice rotational grazing here. But once it dries out for a month or so, virtually nothing new grows. When the rains do begin to fall, you can almost watch the grass grow. It's really amazing.

I do have other pastures in much better condition and actually am planning on converting this one to bermuda when the rains come again. For that reason I'm using it as a huge corral, delivering bales daily, and letting the animals fertilize it well for me. It's about 16 acres in total.
 

Whitewing

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BlackCattleRancher said:
whitewing, how is your butcher and meat market venture faring?

It's not. I never could get the 3 Chinese brothers to agree amongst themselves to terms for using their market as my base of operations. And while they were taking their sweet time, 4 new meat markets opened in the pueblo!

The whole thing finally wore me down and I decided to sell the entire lot of bulls I was holding for the venture and bought another set of baling equipment instead.

Right now I'm the only game in town as it relates to baling and I'm liking that level of competition. :D
 

Hayguy

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the cattle look well fed Whitewing,everybody needs a small piece of sacrifice ground every now and then, i'm sure that when the rain returns all will be well. sorry to hear about your meat business it's alway's nice to vertically integrate,however thing's usually happen for a reason.Good Luck with the rest of your baling.

P.S. find another tractor yet?
 

Whitewing

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hayguy said:
the cattle look well fed Whitewing,everybody needs a small piece of sacrifice ground every now and then, i'm sure that when the rain returns all will be well. sorry to hear about your meat business it's alway's nice to vertically integrate,however thing's usually happen for a reason.Good Luck with the rest of your baling.

P.S. find another tractor yet?

The meat market idea isn't dead, just shelved for the time being. And in the end, it's probably wiser for me to open my own shop where I own the building and not be at the mercy of others.

I've not found another tractor yet and it's really putting a strain on my ability to work several projects at one time.

Thursday morning I got another offer to bale from a major farm nearby. This corporation concentrates on the production of lemons and mangos and once had a significant cattle operation. They've eliminated the cattle but still have a lot of nice pasture, two varieties of brachiaria. Neither is really a very good horse feed but both are excellent for cattle.

Looking down the road, I'd like to continue to develop my cow/calf operation and also include a business line with young bulls fattened for market. I figure with the number of bales I'm producing (over 5,000 since the 20th of January) that I could easily handle the extra head of cattle fed purely with bales. Anyway, time will tell.
 

Nicky

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Thanks for the pictures, it is neat to see your part of the world. Did I ever mention that my mom and dad met and got married in Venezula?

You've baled 5000 bales since Jan 20th of this year? If so WOW
 

Whitewing

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Nicky said:
Thanks for the pictures, it is neat to see your part of the world. Did I ever mention that my mom and dad met and got married in Venezula?

You've baled 5000 bales since Jan 20th of this year? If so WOW

Yes, you did mention that once, but I don't recall if one of your parents is from Venezuela or not.

And when I talk about bales, I'm talking about the small, square bales most horse folks use. I've made over 3600 bales of swasi and 1600 bales of bermuda since the 20th of January.
 

Whitewing

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hayguy said:
just out of curiosity, how much does twine cost down there, plastic or sisal?

It's a nylon twine, I think they call it Cordel. The first batch I bought last year cost me about $30 a pair. I just reloaded and the price had jumped to $40. :shock:

I gotta buy the stuff direct from the manufacturer.
 

EastWind

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Looks like that disc mower must fly through that clean looking hay. What size of bales do you bale, and is the small bales the only size people feed in your area.
 

Whitewing

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EastWind said:
Looks like that disc mower must fly through that clean looking hay. What size of bales do you bale, and is the small bales the only size people feed in your area.

As mentioned previously, I make/sell/use the small square bales most typically associated with feeding horses. Only the largest ranches here are equipped to handle large, round bales and they generally produce their own feeds. There aren't but a few in my area that the large bales, everyone else, when they feed bales, go with the small ones.
 

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