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Growing permies silage/hay.  RSS feed

 
Posts: 29
Location: Alberta, Great White North zone 4
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So i just got 3 bottle calves and im probly getting 3 more this week. Id like to get up to about 20 cows in the next 3 years. I have about 80 acres in pasture so it makes sense. It is to much land to keep up with trying to establish food forests or gardening ect.

So im in alberta canada zone 3 and im looking into different crops i could grow that might work for hay, silage or grazing. I like to think outside the box and do things differently. Maybe thats why i make a good permie. Im thinking perenials obviosly.

Im along a river and the soil is river silt ontop of gravel. There is water in huge amount at 4-5 feet when the river is high and at 7-8 feet when the river is low but the topsoil drains very easily. I even extreme rains never leave standimg water.

The pasture has be left to go wild for 5 years beforw i bought the property and was pasture before that. The organic matter levels are high i have good earthworm counts ect but have to add compost to grow gardens ect.

But im not going to rule out annuals but if we are going that route i want some weeds none of these plants that cant outgrow the weeds i already have. Id like annuals that will grow alongside or in small tilled strips to begin with the perenials. There will be no large scale tilling.

So far im thinking comfrey, Jerusalem artichokes and maybe nettle. I picture maybe mod grazing this once during the season then maybe doing in field silage, bale grazing or maybe some swath grazing in the winter or fall. Also i see it as a finishing crop. Id like to use as many differnt plants as possible, even some that if they would just end up as a mulch since id need that.

Ive already been broadcasting. By which i mean throwing it up in the air by hand and walking around the field. Sweet clover, alfalfa, cicer milk vetch, amd sanfoin. I can get those seeds at my local seed supply. Id like to feed them to the cattle and get them to distribute them once i wean them.

But im all ears has anyone tryed anything out of the box? Or even have an idea of somthing that might work? Id like a 20+ species mix to see what likes my place.

Thanks Rob
 
pollinator
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I like to do things outside the box too, but I am not sure about this plan. Here you seem to be planting a host of different grasses, legumes and weeds, yet grazing it with only one set of ruminant animals...calves. I grew up on a dairy farm so I know bull calves ca be had for $10, but cattle graze grass. If you really want your plan to succeed I think to graze a varied sward, you need various livestock. Goats, sheep, chickens, etc...
 
rob macintosh
Posts: 29
Location: Alberta, Great White North zone 4
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Yeah maybe some of this stuff is more of a pig pasture then a cattle pasture. Im just tryingg to get away from the whole feed hay and grain half the year thing. Maybe getting away from the whole grain thing altogether and still diniah a steer in a reasonable amoumt of time.
 
rob macintosh
Posts: 29
Location: Alberta, Great White North zone 4
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Also id like to note im buying beef breed heifers not dairy bulls.
 
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