This might look like Cameron is just play around on the hay bales, but that’s not actually what he doing. He is counting and seeing how many we brought home yesterday so he knows what to pay James for baling them for us. He is also counting to see how many more bales we need to buy this year. We have to plan ahead now for what we might need to feed this winter.
Hay this year has gone from $55-60 a big round bale to $75-80. I don’t blame the farmers for this, because it is really expensive to bale hay, I know they have a lot of money and time wrapped up in that hay. Plus, they are getting fewer bales per acre because of how dry we are. However, it sure does make it hard to make any money on the calves from the cows.
This is why we spend so much time rotating our cows everyday. The more rest time we can give the grass the more we can store up and hopefully feed less hay this winter because the cows will have grass. Of the 3 winters that we have been doing this, so far we have been successful with feeding less hay 1 winter. Hopefully this 4th winter coming will be another successful one. We have less cattle than the land can handle on a good year. This has not been a good year for rain, so it seems to be about the right number of cows so far.
These particular bales are the only ones we are having baled from pasture land, and it came off a rental place that is being sold so we are loosing the pasture anyways. We don’t typically like to cut hay off of pasture because it is removing those nutrients from that pasture/soil.
When a cow grazes a pasture they recycle the nutrients back into the soil. When you cut and bale the pasture and then feed the hay in another location, you are removing the nutrients. That is why when people bale pasture they then have to put nutrients back in with either chemical fertilizer or the more natural route of chicken/turkey manure. Both options are expensive!
We baled one pasture before we knew better and we are still trying to recover that pasture to strong health. This year we planted it with a summer cover crop that has 13 different varies of seeds to help build our soil health back by feeding all the different micro-organisms below the grass. Diversity builds soil health. Currently, we are waiting for rain for that pasture to see if it will really take off. A lot of the seed has sprouted but we have been so dry it hasn’t grown much.
We are praying for the rain to come this week, as it is forecasted! But you just never know with summer storms. I will keep you updated, hopefully in a few weeks I will be sharing a picture of a beautiful field of diverse plant life!