Jay Berryman wrote:Is anyone running rotational grazing on a smaller scale but using Joel Salatin's methods?
Info, I live in Southern AZ. Tucson to be exact. The land is in a small micro climate though that is cooler than most areas around Tucson, more frost and freeze days but no snow except the very rare occasion. USDA zone 9b/10a I think it was?
I am moving to a new homestead in a month or two and the previous owner had cows. The land is in pretty good shape mostly with tall mesquite trees covering the main pasture. The whole land is 3.5 acres and I estimate around 2 acres split into 2 pastures. 1 pasture is the main pasture the cows have stayed in and graze, probably around 1.5 acres, lush green grass from what I've seen. The secondary pasture is pretty beat up, its what they stay in when its wet, or winter, or the main pasture is just grazed too much. Mostly dirt, etc. The neighbor has perfectly manicured grass due to solid irrigation and mowing and he dumps the clippings into the pasture with the cows to feed them for the previous owner and get rid of them for himself lol. Those clippings along with spent grain from a local brewery(step uncle is good friends with the brewery owner so he gets them pretty regular) and then supplemental hay as needed in winter is how they have been surviving as long as I have known. The land was my step grandmother's. The cows used to always be 2 cows, bred every year and every year the yearlings or however old they were would be slaughtered and the parents kept 1 for meat and the sons got the other for meat. The cows were getting older so they let 2 younger cows grow up and with the parents having health problems and passing away there are now 6 cows. The older 2 will be sold at auction and maybe 1 or 2 will be slaughtered for beef and I imagine we will end up with 2-3. I want to start rotational grazing. I am trying to research as much as possible to get a decent idea of what they will need. There are a couple chickens on site but they are just kept in a coop. I would like to use a tractor and get them helping behind the cows as well. I also plan to raise quail and rabbits eventually but don't want to get too many irons in the fire right away. Eventually I will also work on garden and food forest. This pasture land is also plumbed and irrigated with sprinklers off a well, the whole house was on a well but the city got water in the area and they opted to get city water as the well was being temperamental. Mostly breakers needing reset and hard water needed softening and they decided to get "reliable water" since they were in their 80s. Most of what I was reading says 100-200 sq yards per cow per day, I roughed out some drawings and looks like I could get 33ish paddocks around 300 sq yards. Would 33 days be enough rest with irrigated pasture land? I know Joel gets more and most things I've read say 30 as a minimum but I dont think that takes into account irrigated pasture. That also includes 25 really good paddocks in the main pasture and 8 that need help in the overrused pasture. Hopefully with better grazing practices and a little help we can get those back to lush paddocks as well. We don't get snow here usually and this land actually seems to get better "winter rye" than summer grass according to my step father.
If you tractor chickens in would you still want to wait 4 days after the cows? How many chickens do you think it would take to keep up with 3 cows? I know there are bobcats, raccoons, hawks and owls so I think I will be using tractors and not able to free range them. Would rabbits fit into the system with tractors as well or would that be better to just set up in hutches? I would prefer they get as much living on the land as possible and maybe only keep breeders separated. Not sure where they fit in best in the rotation.
Anyways, thanks for listening to my rambling and any help or guidance you can provide would be greatly appreciated!