Friday, July 15, 2011

Ohio Grasslands & Forage Council Grazing Tour

Today I have taken my first "grazing farm tour"  The "OFGC" was in our area, eastern Ohio for the first time.  This event co-ensides with the Ohio Sheep Day which will be Saturday.
It was just nice to see other operations and get some ideas for pasture management.  I did get to meet some folks from across the state, although I am terrible at remembering names, we did all "talk sheep".
This pic. shows the grasses of a rotational grazing operation, brome grass, white clover and orchard grass.

 I couldn't get this pic. to enlarge.  This farmer, was showing his portable watering system.  He runs a 160p.s.i. line with a quick couple, hydrolic fitting as the connector for watering with an on/off valve.  He grazes 43 cows and calves and one bull on 1 acre per day, a 24hrs. period then moves them.

This farmer feels that the red angus are more heat tolerant than the black angus.  He shoots for 1250# cows.  He sells his calves in December when they are 500-600 #.  His goal is to run more cows on less ground & using less hay.  He tries to graze into November, then keep 50 cows and feed 100 round bales per year.

They follow the grazed paddocks with 75 broiler chickens.  These are two weeks old, they will be finished at eight weeks.  They send them to a local processor and take orders for birds. The chickens follow the cattle and manage fly control.

This is the traveling enclosure that the fryers are in.  They keep an electric netting fence around it to keep racoons and such out.

This was an inventive idea.  A cheap wore our travel trailer, converted into a traveling chicken house.
I'm not certain of the spelling of these breed names, I just scribbled them down, Americanas and Barder Rocker.  I'm not a chicken person, hope I've got the names somewhat right.....
They have 50 birds, they get about 48 eggs a day and sell them to local businesses and individuals.
They also use the chickens to follow the cattle in paddocks for fly control.  They market them as free range.

An inside view of the chicken trailer

Nesting boxes inside the converted travel trailer.

This was our Farm Tour "Bus".

Another operation we visited was a commercial hay/grain operation.  We didn't get to check out his equipment, which was all put away in buildings, we did gather in his large shop and he spoke of lime & fertilizer and the like.  A representative from Agland  was also there.  They did discuss a problem that I had not heard of, recent findings of fields that have been planted with timothy and orchard grass and these grasses are dying out after a year, they do not know if it is a disease or insect problem.  But this is not good since these are two grasses that are in much demand.  They mentioned that Penn. State has more information about what they think it might be.  I haven't researched that yet.
The last farm we visited for the day was a 250 commercial ewe operation.  This farm practices rotational grazing also.  The sheep are of a mixed breed, they try to have some lamb in the fall and winter to have lambs to sell in December and for Easter.  The husband and wife team both work off their farm, so their farm practice has to work around their schedules with lambing and such.

The rams used in their operation.

Some pretty flowers sprucing up the out house.

...more pretty flowers.

this concludes my day on the farm grazing tours.   Tomorrow will be the Ohio Sheep Day, hopefully more pics. to post.....