Egyptian wheat....mowing.....planned grazing

November....a turning point for the animal and landscape. About 30 days of decent plant growth remains, then forage supply becomes set until late winter when new growth begins en masse. Winter regrowth is very slow, adds richness, but doesn't add bulk for the cow. Cool season annual growth has come late in the year (mostly the last 3 weeks) and looks good relative to the amount of moisture received. Long recovery periods after grazing allow for fall growth of cool season plants to stockpile...and that is important this month. Extended warm weather has allowed warm season plant growth to continue since August and stockpile bulk forage. All of the growth you see in the pictures has occurred over subsoils which have been very dry for about 90 days now. Most of our annual warm season forbs have completed their life cycle and no longer use moisture, except for those forbs which are extremely long day (perennial) and will continue growth until frost. Current forage growth comes from moisture stored in the humic layers of topsoil and moisture spared from evaporation in covered soil.

The line between drilled and non planted pasture is a faint one from this angle. Note, growth of brassica in the mix favors heavily impacted areas....the trampled path near the fence and patches of manure or scuffed areas in the main field. When moisture is scarce, brassica compete poorly where perennials are well established...small grains and vetch are doing just fine in the warm season sod.

From a distance (second mesa looking down to the third mesa), the green field is more contrasting. Notice as you look across the landscape from this angle, forb density differs from that of post #25. Slope direction affects sunlight capture and that has an impact on diversity after disturbance and needed recovery time of perennial grasses.

Deer are leaving sign near areas of current use. This scrape is on the edge of wooded dry rangeland. Note the same character of plant diversity....mostly warm season plants with some scattered cool season plants. That plant composition depicts the natural model for our areas this time of year.

Currently cover crops (ryegrasses, fescue, vetches, ladino clover, brassica) are being broadcast over areas with high forb density when the cow herd is moved. This is not something I want to do large scale every year due to cost/profitability, so it is important to monitor past plantings to see how the plant community has changed and which plants are perpetuating themselves. The goal here is replace excess forbs with persistent legumes and annual grasses eventually encouraging higher perennial grass composition.

Volunteer hairy vetch is putting on tremendous fall growth...some areas it is already mid-shin deep. Managed properly and vetch can replace range cubes as a cattle supplement for grazing stockpiled warm season pasture! Forb density was high enough in this reclaim area to warrant mowing this year. In better soil areas, vetch kept forb density in check.

Where conditions favor clover, ladino will do well. This reclaim area is partially shaded, was high forbs last year, and near to good wildlife cover.

Regrowth of sorghums in drilled annual rotation plots is simply amazing....again no fertility applied in over a year....a little shade helps cool season annuals in a dry fall!

Clover seed has finally emerged and is established well enough to handle frost.
What you see in the pictures is plenty of supplemental forage for winter wildlife use....actually more acres than wildlife need. That winter forage comes with an annual cost. Cost for the drilled mix is $55/ac. Cost for the broadcast mix is $40/ac. Add in diesel fuel, oil and parts replacement, the total bill comes out to ~$2700 per year for 50 acres. We get no income from wildlife other than reduced food cost from eating venison. It makes me wonder how other properties managing for wildlife with the use of food plots can justify the expenses through income? The average person probably does not have the disposable income to justify many plot acres and would be better suited financially to enhance the forage value of native lands. For any enterprise to become sustainable, at some point one must look at costs, income and profit margin.

The way we justify this cost is through an annual long term natural gas lease of $2500 which covers seed cost. Okay, so that is break even (if you don't count income tax). But if you consider other costs of the cow herd through winter then some of the seed costs need to be shaved off. Most research suggests 0.2 to 1.0 ac of winter annuals per cow for winter supplement. We usually plant 1 ac per cow equivalent (1200 lb of live beef), but with the increased presence of perennials (fescue and ladino) and reseeding annuals/bi-annuals (hairy vetch and improved ryegrasses) that number could be reduced to 0.5 ac/cow.

But let's take a look at the potential of this from the cow side. Winter feed bills are the largest cost for a cow calf operation. I will use the example below of $200 per cow for hay and range cubes.....or for 30 cows and 180 ac of winter pasture the cost is $33.33/ac. By calving in May (true spring), stockpiling warm season forage as standing winter hay, and winter green as a supplement, wintering cost could be reduced to $100 per cow....or $16.67/ac of total winter pasture.

The cost savings is $100 per cow and that becomes increased profit for the sold calf. However, the calf must bear his mothers costs. Say weaned calf percentage is 90%, then income per weaned calf is $89 more per calf (not counting open cow sales) through reduced winter feeding. IF calf average weaning weight is 400 lb then the break even price per lb of weaned calf decreases $0.22/lb. For the herd and land, revenue increased $89 per cow or $13.35/ac of total winter pasture.

Have to run. Take a look at this article and the article below. See if my math makes sense?
Talked dad into planting some leftover turnip seed while drilling fall pasture back in September even though he didn't think the cows would eat them. I told him that you had good success with them and your cattle. Fast forward to last week and he told me that he saw some 8 month replacement heifers eating the bulbs the other day.
Talked dad into planting some leftover turnip seed while drilling fall pasture back in September even though he didn't think the cows would eat them. I told him that you had good success with them and your cattle. Fast forward to last week and he told me that he saw some 8 month replacement heifers eating the bulbs the other day.

Wife not keeping you busy with "the list"?

Good deal....for developing yearling heifers that is a good idea...just don' overfeed them when under 12 months of age! Turnips are a bargain for overseeding.....high seed count per lb at relatively low cost per lb! I like to graze the brassica part of the mix 70-90 days after planting. It is a good supplement for early winter stockpiled forages. It goes back to what RL Dalrimple found years ago...."cattle will use dormant Bermuda and perform well into winter as long as there is something green in it." As I tried to tell you in text message, the herd has learned that drilled pasture will be available for the first grazing this time of year. When the owner left the lane gate open he was surprised the herd didn't wait on him to put out feed and moved themselves to pasture....I wasn't surprised because when moved into the lane it has become nature to put their heads down and graze as far as they can travel".

I'm going to pose a question and see if you guys can figure it out. This is the same pic as posted a couple weeks ago. The highest pasture forb density in this picture is on east facing slopes. Why is that? Think in terms of sunlight and water over a full year!

Here is a close up of the weedy area just below the distant green field...again east facing slope and we are drier and warmer than average. I went in that paddock to broadcast a mix and was astonished by the volume of lush forage below the senesced weed skeletons. I doubt brassica will offer much growth this late, but some will be hard seeded and germ in spring. Cattle will impact this area very well now...70 days of recovery to get that growth! The goal of the broadcast mix is to replace excessive forb density with legumes and forages of higher nutritional value....but there is more to it than that.

Going to an adjacent paddock (40 day regrowth), you can see the aftermath of the broadcast mix planted fall of 2015. Forb density has declined and been replaced with ladino clover, vetch etc and more perennial grass. I believe the underlying reason for reduced forb density with cover crops is that roots of plants in the mix change soil ecology to the point excess forbs are no longer favored. In order for the plant community to shift, soil ecology must change first!

What about excess brush? Can we use diverse seed mixes to suppress excess brush? Same 40 d recovered paddock, blackberry and greenbrier patches were mowed and the mix broadcast over them. This pic shows some of the diversity which will suppress brush. Noticed one brier patch which was totally shading soil was now a brassica patch...will try to get a pic of that next week.

The cost of custom pasture spraying (weeds and/or brush) in this area is $6-14 per ac.....let's assume an average cost of $10 per ac. Average cost for equal weight of ladino and hairy vetch is $2.35/lb.....thus, 4.25 lb of legumes cost $10 and can replace 1 ac of custom spray at an average cost of $10/ac.

Legumes also add N to the soil in a slow release fashion and can replace synthetic N application. In addition to herbicide, many area producers apply 150 lbs of urea per acre of pasture at a current cost of $0.15 per lb of urea. So the cost of urea for 1 ac is $22.5...(150 X 0.15) application fee of $6/ $28.50/ac. At legume cost of $2.35/lb average, we can buy 12 lbs of legume mix for that $28.50/ac.

Add those two per ac costs together, $10 for spray and $28.50 for urea, total cost per acre is $38.50/year. Thirty eight dollars and fifty cents will but 16+ lbs of equal weight ladino/vetch. Sixteen lbs of that legume mix is way more than needed for 1 ac, but would be about right for 2 ac. Follow that? 4 lbs hairy vetch and 4 lbs ladino per ac for a total of 8 lbs ac....say 6lbs vetch and 2 lbs ladino for additional cost savings and more reasonable blend based on seed size. At 8 lbs/ac the cost is ~$17.50 per ac...and you get to keep some forbs, some brush, soil OM, plant diversity and soil critters which are sensitive to synthetic N and herbicide/surfactant.....and what is the value of extending the cattle grazing season 60-90 days?...and the savings of not having a set-aside wildlife food plot?

In about 1974, Walt Davis began this very process on his ranch in Bryan County OK (that is just east of Durant OK and north of the Red River).....essentially he replaced herbicides and synthetic N with forage legumes.....worked wonderfully! His basic recommendation is to reseed 10% of total acreage per year in good years and 20-30% of total acreage in drought years.

Organic Before Organic Was Cool: Oklahoma Rancher Raises Profits on Pasture

Using the cost above for vetch/ladino mix (8lb/ac @ $17.50/ac) and 100 ac of pasture land, the annual cost would be $175/yr for 10% overseeding to $525/yr for 30% overseeding. Current value of one 400 lb calf is $525....savvy....proceeds of one calf per year willcover legume seed cost! That cost is diluted over the number of cows (up to $17.50 per cow for 30 cows) or total acres (up to $5.25 per ac)!

When you start replacing money with management, there are many things to consider! One thing we consider is the volunteer rate and/or persistence of what we planted last year......because it is acreage we don't have to worry about this year!
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Well don't know about east facing slopes for flatlanders:rolleyes:, but in my country, east and north slopes give the best growth from grasses to brush to trees. In my humble opinion, it is due to less direct daytime afternoon heat put forth by the sun resulting in better water retention and less evaporation of moisture, preserving soil and moisture for growth. In addition, for me, winds tend to be mostly from the NW ( see pics on my thread of my mountain highlands and the spruce with one sided growth due to prevailing winds), and the east slopes are protected from the dehydrating wind/heat. It is blatantly obvious as any good logger knows, that the trees of the same age on the North, and to some degree, East side of slopes , have considerable more growth in height and DBH than south and west slopes. The same should apply to your grassland. But then you have that Trump card ( sorry hard to not capitalize that for this Deplorable) , the cattle, that might be the true factor, knowing you D.
No list. I only had a pound of turnips left so they won't go overboard for sure and it was drilled with oats and wheat into Bermuda. I caught what you were saying about cattle in your text...they do get in a habit of wanting to be moved from pasture to pasture and eat the best forage available.

To answer your first question. The weeds provided shade for the forage underneath which helped retain moisture.
Seems a consensus that the east facing slope will hold more moisture...I've identified 1 resource concern of plant growth. So what are the ramifications of more soil moisture (or excess water) during each season of the year? Use those answers to explain the increase in forb density in mixed grass pasture on east facing slopes.

Majority of those summer annual forbs pollinated and set seed by 1 Sept, thus, like a cover crop at maturity, forb use of soil water was nil after 1 Sept which gives the underlying forage (warm season grass, cool season grass, cool season forbs) the lions share of resources currently available.

Predominant wind direction is the hole valley is not wind protected.

Our climate makes our area warm season plant dominant...that is another big clue you need to consider...that is what we should be trying to grow as a major plant specie component..

Shade and wind blocking of forbs and low sun angle during hot afternoons help the east slope retain moisture. Those same factors affect sunlight capture and solar radiation. Sunlight capture by leaf and solar radiation are the 2nd and 3rd resource concerns for plant growth to identify. Dogghr already addressed effects of slope on solar radiation it should be considered. How does slope direction affect sunlight capture by leaf on a daily and seasonal basis?.

IF you answer this question and combine that with the answer of soil water relations above, then you should be able to describe growing conditions throughout the seasons as it relates to the potential for increased summer forb density on an east slope.

There is a 4th and 5th resource concern of plant growth to consider....haven't mentioned these....but they are determined by 1 and 2 and ultimately impact plant specie composition/growth which also impacts 1.

Soil fertility isn't limiting on that site so forget about it!

Cattle don't really play a role in this, but the scenario should be considered in grazing management (fencing and grazing timing as they relate to forage quality and quantity.

The whole point here is for you to grasp the nuances of growing conditions....since many of you guys like to grow forages but not weeds.
Happy Thanksgiving! Daughter-in-law makes awesome deviled eggs and the Lil Blonde is making a blackberry cobbler....will be a feast for kings!

A couple days of frost changed the landscape. At this point, warm season forage availability becomes set for the winter, excepting protected areas which sill issue minor growth. Sorghums regrowth was terminated and cool season annuals below released. That is same reference picture from the first area grazed in early Sept then drilled. Deer have full access. Cattle will return in Feb.

Second area was grazed a week later and for a few days longer. Sorghums regrowth shorter and laid over more with high winds after frost. Cool season components are more visible. The background demonstrates what happens when cattle are eliminated from the landscape for several years. Understory of persimmon becomes dominated by brush. Although this provides good cover, food is less diverse than if the understory were vegetative plants. How available is a persimmon to the animal if it falls into a blackberry patch? I would argue such brush in a plot provides more benefit to forage pests (rats, rabbits and mice) than it does to the grazing/browsing animal!
Forgot to mention.....0.4" of rain fell after frost....that should spur small grain growth.....small grain growth stopped a couple weeks ago due to dry and hot conditions.
Seen about 90% of the 2-3 yo bucks this shooters....getting a bit bored.

Spent about 4 hrs of bow time couple weeks ago rewiring ATV. That sucked...time to get even. Thought I would share a very effective pack rat trap. Caught 5 last two days. Just lay their carcasses on the road and great horned owls take them away.

Peanut butter is placed on upper back corner of box as bait. Cardboard is cut to make trap pan bigger and super sensitive. One way in and no escape. Most are caught ontop or just behind head. Book in pic is a good read also.



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Thot you used a grain bucket trap? Did they catch on to that? My feral cat resident and the yotes take care of my rodent issues.
#6 was in the trap at the barn this afternoon and 2 traps were sprung after evening hunt. Haven't taken the time to fix the tub trap since I knocked a hole in it killing 2 rats. There is a youtube video for making that box's where I get the idea. I don't like cats and they die faster than rats. So far yotes don't go in the barn...they are too busy with rats and persimmons in pastures. Those small berry and brier patches we leave in open pastures are rat super-condos....redtail hawks hunt those areas heavily during the day. The best thing to do for pack rats in a facility is to destroy all the nests in the proximity....elsewise you trap out a nest and more just move in....they are scent oriented creatures.

Let a 4-5 yo 8 walk at 5:30 down in the holler...had pics of him last year but none this year (had to look back at old pics to confirm what I saw in scope)...he fed a few minutes, eased off to second mesa and made a couple scrapes under OO about 5:45 then cruised on...definitely covering a lot of ground in short order and posturing other bucks out of his way. Kinda hoping the big boys are on their feet again looking for one last doe and a quick meal. Boy shot at a doe and couldn't find sign so I really didn't want to have 2 track jobs tonight.....turned out he missed as we found no blood, no hair, and dog didn't pick up anything. Told him next time to shoot her in the neck just in front of shoulder and there won't be a damned track job. It's all okay as I'd like to have better look before filling my gun tag. Seeing 15-25 deer per sit and seeing that buck tonight will keep me hopeful a few more days....after about 5 days without seeing a good one and I'm bored....38 consecutive years of deer hunting is taking it's toll!
Want to congratulate all who have harvested deer and taken the time to post. A general congratulations rather than visiting each thread and perhaps leaving someone out.

Furthest into rifle season that we harvested a buck. IIIFFF he showed in daylight in the AM one day then he would come back that eve in daylight. Today he repeated that pattern. A couple good years of history with this deer.....a home body! 12 points...112 lb dressed....5-4 on fat, backbone protruding.....rutted out. Will tell the story later.

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Want to congratulate all who have harvested deer and taken the time to post. A general congratulations rather than visiting each thread and perhaps leaving someone out.

Furthest into rifle season that we harvested a buck. IIIFFF he showed in daylight in the AM one day then he would come back that eve in daylight. Today he repeated that pattern. A couple good years of history with this deer.....a home body! 12 points...112 lb dressed....5-4 on fat, backbone protruding.....rutted out. Will tell the story later.

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Novelties of the 'West 10"!

Pic 1 - Recovered Nosler Partition (165 gr) from a 300 Wby which entered the left hip and lodged just under skin of left shoulder. That is penetration....not a preferred shot angle but not one I am afraid of either! The 'partition' in that bullet is integral to the copper jacket....fore and aft of the partition are lead cores.

Pic 2 - Basal mass is impressive for this area. Summer forages such as Eagle beans, cowpeas etc seem to enhance antler mass, IIIFFF that buck routinely uses the plot which this one did. His core area was in close proximity to bottomland native vegetation and pasture. Both areas rich in plant diversity and tend to retain soil moisture through summer. The knife is a Cutco with serrated edge which is used for skinning and processing all our deer (last 7 years).

Pic 3 - Abscess found while cleaning the skull. Such can lead to mortality or deformed antlers the following year.

Pic 4 - impacted upper molar. Without a full set of teeth, it's hard for the herbivore to do it's job! Teeth issues contribute to poor condition at older ages. Other than infection and pain it would not be an issue for this deer.

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