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Pasture rotation year round rental  RSS feed

 
Posts: 35
Location: northern New Mexico
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Good morning
I'm glowing people tell me

Here is something I've been thinking about a lot this Summer. As we attempt to better our health though diet, one of the items we're concerned with is the quality of meat we're consuming. Currently we rent out our entire 50 acre pasture to a local gentleman on a seasonal basis. At other times in the past we also cut what's called vega hay which in a good year we'll reap half of what is cut with the other half of the hay going to whoever cuts the hay which would amount to 100 or so bales of hay going for $3.50 per bale.

There are some issues with the system put in place by my father many decades ago, the most profound is the effects of climate change on our ability to  irrigate the pasture for hay production. We saw no snow pack on the Sangre De Christo mountains here in northern New Mexico this year.  No snow pack means no runoff and no runoff means no acequi water.  Also we struggle constantly with the cows getting in our yard because we now have a small Koi pond which attracts thirsty cows.

This year it was made more difficult because the pasture renter lost the place nearby in which he walked to cows to during the times they weren't here.

You may be aware that recently I've gone from being a pescatarian to again eating meat because my health issues were limiting my diet and meat was again needed to round it out and make shopping a little easier. Now that I have heavily researched dietary needs in order to reduce the horrid effects of an auto-immune disease which thanks to a homeopathic practitioner I now know is called Palindromic Rheumatism. More on the state of my health later.

I need to go ahead and eat meat, but not stockyard produced meat. I need grass fed meat! So now I'm faced with working out how I can get my hands on quality beef. We've considered growing our own animals, but there are drawbacks in that such as the time it takes to grow a healthy herd to the point where it can be culled for meat. We need quality meat as soon as possible.

A second issue with the way we've done our pastures in the past is the cows are on the entire field and they tend to eat their favorite grasses first. When animals are left to eat the best grasses this gives the grasses and plants they prefer less a head start over the good grasses. In the end the pasture leans toward the lessor quality flora. To combat this, smart ranchers rotate pastures placing cattle in higher numbers on smaller fields which makes the cows eat everything more evenly.

Dad considered this property recreational, my plan is to bring it into a more sustainable format. I want to add fences to create a manageable grazing program. My plan has two phases: Phase one is to divide the pasture down the middle from the river to the fence below our house. This division provides cows access to the river from whichever side of the pasture they are on.

The beauty of this plan is we can now rent the pasture out on a year round basis. We have a good relationship with John P Vigil. He pays rent for 12 cows being $60 per month for five or six months. If my plan works, we'll be able to convert to a year round rental.  Obviously going year round doubles the income from the pasture. More importantly I hope the increased rental period gets us closer to our goal of trading for one or even one half of a butcher-able cow per year, providing us with the much needed grass fed beef in our diet.

I've used Google maps to measure fences and quantity of fence posts needed for this plan. I've created screenshots for the fascinating results of those findings. Until this morning I've been under the assumption the pasture was one hundred acres divided in half by the lower half being irrigated and the upper dry, okally dookey let's go!

Measure-new-pasture-fence-2356-feet

Measure-new-pasture-fence-2356-feet  Our house is the blue dot on the bottom. The Sapello river is to the north and on top of these screenshots.

measure-fence-Miguels-corner-to-complex

measure-fence-Miguel's-corner-to-complex.jpg This fence would be part of phase two providing 5.3 acres of irrigated land for growing vega hay for storage to feed in Winter months.   This will require 47 T posts to enclose.
measure-new-irrigated-hay-field-area.png
measure-new-irrigated-hay-field-area.png  here is another shot showing the enclosed area for hay production on hopefully irrigated land

measure-fence-upper-gate-to-cattle-guard-complex

measure-fence-upper-gate-to-cattle-guard-complex.jpg This fence also part of phase two will provide separation of the driveway from the cattle pasture and keep the cows out from the home sites. There is still property on the other (West)side of the driveway which could be used for something, perhaps more home sites. For example Brittany and Adam are considering putting a mobile home or a modular home somewhere.

Area-pasture-section-phase-one.png

Area-pasture-section-phase-one.png  Google maps is amazing for these type of measurements! This gave me square feet 538,773.7 sqft which I converted to 12.4 acres. This is the first pasture created by one fence using T posts every 20 feet or 118 posts. T posts from Tractor Supply $3.79   or an investment of $447.22

measure-area-pasture-section-phase-two.png

measure-area-pasture-section-phase-two.png This fenced in area creates a pasture of 18.7 acres with what looks like a third of it irrigated. I didn't do enough math on it yet to get specifics other than it needs 47 T posts to complete. Of course we'll need barbed wire for all these  fences, although for the first phase I believe we have enough on hand to accomplish a good fence and if not we can do electric fences in the meantime. The posts are most important.

There is still the small field down in front of the river which can also be divided, however for now in my plan I'll leave it in one section as there is a right-a-way across down there and I'd have to make more gates annoying the neighbors, so I'll leave that open. For certain though the riparian area is important to protect from the cows and it'll need attention. I'd love to build a fishing pond down there with the help of USDA water conservation and possible get help from NM Fish and Game to stock it for a public fishing hole off the river. 

This is where I'm heading.

Brian Rodgers
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This is interesting. My mind led to several questions and those questions came to a final conclusion that you may or may not have considered. Let me go through it.

Who moves the cows? Is the owner willing to come daily to move them? Maybe he does already to check on them. If he doesn't,  then you have that burden. If its you, you are no longer getting income from the land, but getting paid for the chore.

When he pulls the cows off the land for the few months, is it merely opening a gate to adjacent land or is he literally loading them in a trailer and moving them. If this is the case, you can surely come up with a cost to transport twice and add that into the yearly rate.

Also keep in mind that 12 cows become 23 cows every year. That increases demand on everything and many people dont factor this in.

All that being said, the income is very low. $360 for the cows and $350 for the hay for a total of $700. The value of a 2 year old grass fed cow that can feed you has a much higher value. If you had a small happy herd, like 1 bull and 2 females you could generate more income with less work.  They would have access to all the land including the hay field. They should need no additional food. Paddocks can be less (less fencing, maybe no additional fencing as the hay field is probably already fenced). 1 cow every 2 years will feed you , possibly a family. That leaves 3 cows every 2 years to be sold. The total income is at the same or higher than previously, but you are taking care of your needs first.

This is the approach i am taking. Less acreage but same deal. My 4 cows turned into 7. My reality is wtf am i doing? 1 cow will feed me and my wife for 2 years. How did i end up with 7? Unless there's a stipulation with tax credits and they mandate a certain stocking rate, there's no reason to have so many.

We can all read about mob grazing, etc but i suspect that for every one success there are probably 15 that failed.  Either they didnt move them quick enough. They didnt account for heavy inputs in dry spells (couldn't afford they hay) . They didnt account for wet spells (cows destroyed a paddock). They didnt account for what should be planted in a particular paddock at the time they would be in there (wait! What? I have to seed the paddocks!). They overestimated the number of cows (this is so much better i can have more cows than i do now)

Paul puts it so simply.  Feed yourself first. A little extra can be sold off locally.  Thats how the world gets changed. A bunch of small guys doing small things.
 
Brian Rodgers
Posts: 35
Location: northern New Mexico
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Awesome Wayne, thank you so much for the input and questions

Who moves the cows? Is the owner willing to come daily to move them? Maybe he does already to check on them. If he doesn't,  then you have that burden. If its you, you are no longer getting income from the land, but getting paid for the chore. 


Labor is an important issue. Noteworthy items and information:
1>I'm retired, albeit because of a disability caused by said disease. Not retired from sustainable lifestyle projects and ranch chores.  Hopefully coming off the illness and and I'm able to walk as well as feeling like I can hike again soon. That being said I don't know whether on any one day I could walk out in the pasture and move cows? Actually I imagined they would last on a pasture for a couple months give or take according to what I see as our home overlooks the pasture. Like I said good points and thank you.
Here are a few images I just shot of the pasture. I'm unsure if others can read file names here? I name all my images so you can see what that represent. 
Generally these represent the state of the non-irrigated pasture. We're getting good rains for a month after no precipitation since Winter.  It's kind of like all the Spring the plants are going to get. Even though there has been no acequia water the lower pasture always is thicker. 

When he pulls the cows off the land for the few months, is it merely opening a gate to adjacent land or is he literally loading them in a trailer and moving them. If this is the case, you can surely come up with a cost to transport twice and add that into the yearly rate


This time he needed a trailer because he lost the other nearby pasture he used to walk them too. This is another reason I wanted to change the way we do it to year-round. I thought he might jump at the chance to keep them here and hope to use that fact to our advantage.

Also keep in mind that 12 cows become 23 cows every year. That increases demand on everything and many people dont factor this in.


I don't believe that is the case in the semi-arid Southwest, but I don't know happens when they aren't here, so maybe. This is something that I will become more aware of when the cows are here all year.

All that being said, the income is very low. $360 for the cows and $350 for the hay for a total of $700. The value of a 2 year old grass fed cow that can feed you has a much higher value. If you had a small happy herd, like 1 bull and 2 females you could generate more income with less work.  They would have access to all the land including the hay field. They should need no additional food. Paddocks can be less (less fencing, maybe no additional fencing as the hay field is probably already fenced). 1 cow every 2 years will feed you , possibly a family. That leaves 3 cows every 2 years to be sold. The total income is at the same or higher than previously, but you are taking care of your needs first.


I think you may have missed a point I was making about coping and hopefully maintaining the pasture in light of drastic weather swings and lulls due to Climate Change. Income from the pasture is grinding to a halt as it stands. We received $250 total for the season from the pasture. If it keeps raining we might get a cutting from it, but we don't have a way to do it.

We can all read about mob grazing, etc but i suspect that for every one success there are probably 15 that failed.  Either they didnt move them quick enough. They didnt account for heavy inputs in dry spells (couldn't afford they hay) . They didnt account for wet spells (cows destroyed a paddock). They didnt account for what should be planted in a particular paddock at the time they would be in there (wait! What? I have to seed the paddocks!). They overestimated the number of cows (this is so much better i can have more cows than i do now) 


Excellent points and mirrors what happens around here over the course of decades during which our family has gone from being the kids from New Jersey to ranchers, lol!

Paul puts it so simply.  Feed yourself first. A little extra can be sold off locally.  Thats how the world gets changed. A bunch of small guys doing small things.


Very smart man
I love that "Mob Grazing!"
  
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pollinator
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Bryan,

I grew up out west, during a relatively wet period, and our year-round carrying capacity was 10 acres per 1000lbs of animal, up to 100 acres, depending on the fields. I would expect your carrying capacity is not that different. Have you looked at any research on this? If you are overstocking, your pasture will degrade quickly. It doesn't matter if you are mob grazing or not, plants need inputs to produce forage, and you cannot exceed them or they will be replaced by unpalatable species. Your representative pictures show Indian paintbrush and some very wiry grasses and thistle invasion. That area should have buffalograss/grama and other deep-rooted forage.  Your 5 acres of irrigated field may be able to reseed the dryer areas with good management but it should be built into the plan. It could be your standing stock for the dryer part of the year.

You can increase the carrying capacity quite nicely by mob grazing, but not x10 I don't think. Not quickly anyhow. My sherpa on this has been Gabe Brown, and I recommend you look at his videos, not because of how he does it (he's in North Dakota and you are very much not), but by how he thinks about it. Same with Greg Judy, who is more like my climate. Both have adapted to their climate, and have had success. They both have massive acreages to forage. I can't cut and paste from their plans. What I can do is see how they approach the issues of stocking density and standing forage in normal hay periods. This is transferrable I think. If you can find someone in the area who has been successful, you are more likely to find pearls of wisdom that will prevent failure.

As Wayne has pointed out, the workload of moving three cows is not very different from moving 300 cows like Joel Salatin or the others who are well known. Likewise, the workload of moving 30 goats is not that different from 3 cows, and they are tailor made for dryland foraging, and will eat some of the knapweed and thistle cows won't. There are other species that may improve your forage better. Some sheep relish knapweed and the other taproot rosette formers. You may have coyote issues or something that preclude it, but something to think about. If you just want a cheap source of beef, your hourly cost needs to be assessed, and they are expensive to butcher. Often the inputs will make it more expensive than just buying a share outright. I'd love cows but did an assessment and figure I would need to get access to around 40 acres in this climate to make it worth the fencing and management costs to mob graze. And this is a rich environment.

Lastly, I would suggest you consider a silvopasture plan, and maybe some earthworks. If you have a wet season and a dry one, that can extend your growing season nicely, and keep more humidity around from two mechanisms. Sunlight is not a deficit there, but wind and intense sunlight really reduce the ability of forage to regenerate. I also planned my treelines as fencing for temporary polywire, which saves some money.

Sadly, all of these things take either money or time or both. It is priceless to find someone near you to shamelessly steal their ideas, and most are happy to help.
 
wayne fajkus
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I can't wrap my head around this at all. Unless you are saving thousands in property taxes by having the cows there. This validates it greatly cause the $700 income saves $5,000 in property taxes, which nets you $5700 yearly. Its outside the scope of your topic, so no response is needed.

If the the objective is grass fed meat. Maybe rather than cash, trade the lease for beef. He delivers and pays butcher fees and this covers the lease for "x" amount of time. Time to buy a freezer.

12 cows is probably 1 bull and 11 breeders. The 11 will each have a baby every year. If they don't, there's no reason for him to have cows. There are exceptions ( keeping babies for future breeders and when they hit maturity,  misscarriages, dead births, seman doesnt take).

The 12 could be all breeders, separated from the bull at your place. They could be all young ones, kept away from bull til fully mature.
 
Brian Rodgers
Posts: 35
Location: northern New Mexico
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Oh boy I am so glad you are taking an interest in my quest!  TJ thank you for all that information. It'll take me a bit to digest it. I like what I see. My father and brother did this stuff, I should have paid more attention to them. Oh well I'm listening now, thank you both. On his death bed my son asked his grandfather what he'd like us to do first thing here on the ranch? Dad said, "I'd love it if you boys would  go out to the pasture and dig up the Thistles." We did it too!  The pasture feels much better without them. A few years back we had my brother's old friend regional guru bee keeper walk the pasture with me naming plants and giving me related lore which was an incredible blessing. I'm sorely lacking in my ability to recall information on plants and then I got sick and that didn't help.  I really do appreciate plant identification and with what I learn written down here on the Web maybe I'll be able to remember plants names and uses. Putting this thread out here on Permies I'm very hopeful I can learn from the many gurus here.
   

I can't wrap my head around this at all. Unless you are saving thousands in property taxes by having the cows there. This validates it greatly cause the $700 income saves $5,000 in property taxes, which nets you $5700 yearly. Its outside the scope of your topic, so no response is needed. 

 
I hope I can explain, if not please bear with me while I try. Yes we do get a land tax credit, although not thousands, more like $800.  You may have guessed my other weakness money management  Manual labor and troubleshooting systems are my strengths. I love to dig and build. Unfortunately, these last few years my energy has been learning about health  and medical crap. Luckily I feel like I have a new lease on life and I'm willing to learn homesteading and all the things I need to enjoy retirement on a small fixed income.
Brian
 
Brian Rodgers
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Location: northern New Mexico
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Holy guacamole!  >>>  What an eye opener: Treating the farm as an Ecosystem  with Gabe Brown Part 1  Only wish it had subtitles; I can hear Gabe really well, but  questions by audience members not so well.  I woke ridiculously early this morning and watched this and I'm so glad I did. 
Like you said, this is the key to our health as well as the health of our soil. 
Not having farm equipment we've not tilled the soil in the pasture, but certainly did so in the gardens here. Now on one field we had terracing and tilling done, some forty years ago. I'd have to say that field and soil is in the worst shape of any on this property. 
I'll go and dig a shovelful of soil from different spots on our fields and have a good look at the composition.  This is exciting I'll go do that today while my son is here visiting and hopefully get his interest up where mine is currently after watching Part 1.
Thank you. I feel better educated already.
Brian 
 
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Sounds like you have quite an opportunity there. Have you looked into Kinsey and Albrecht soil fertilization methods? From what I understand plants will grow quite well even in arid conditions with well-balanced soil.
Please correct me if this isn't in line with permaculture. As someone else said, mob grazing sounds good and all but don't forget to adjust the size of the pasture for your climate and your plants. I would think that at least splitting the 50 acres would be reasonable to do or even quarters just to let your pasture have the opportunity to rest and regenerate for a few months without cows on it, but this mob grazing that they do out East with 1 acre sections and moving every 4 hours or what ever it is sounds ridiculous.

Take my advice for what it's worth... a guy who's been reading about this stuff from many perspectives for several years with a bit of common sense.
 
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Location: Oklahoma Panhandle
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Brian,
That is a beautiful place you have!  I hope you'll treat my suggestions as just that any and nothing more.  My opinions are worth what they cost you.

  First a question:  Is your priority raising your own beef or rental income?  If it's raising your own meat you won't have to build a herd and wait years to have excess to sell or butcher.  I've ate a lot of beef through the years and my favorite has been corriente.  There are more corriente cattle in the Las Vegas, Wagon Mound, and Roy area than almost anywhere.  They raise them to sell to team ropers and rodeo contractors.  You could buy a couple of cull cows, retired ropers, or even  yearlings that didn't have desirable horns very cheap.  I would probably try to get yearlings with less than perfect horns.  Cows are culled for a lot of reasons but the main ones are not having a calf, losing it, or getting too old and the biggie-drought.  I wouldn't want a broken mouth or toothless cow to put out on pasture and try to get her fat but a young or even solid mouth cow could get in good shape on your place with very few inputs.  They are small framed so they won't grow as fast or big but they are very hardy and for the most part inclined to have a gentle nature.  Feed them a few high protein cubes occasionally and they'll come to you any time you rattle a cake bucket

If you don't buy mother cows you won't be caught in such a bind if it doesn't rain and you won't have to deal with a bull.  Also there won't be the tendency to over stock your place.  Remember there is no such thing as too much grass or too much money but you can have too many cattle.

I know a buyer from Maxwell that goes to the cattle sales at Belen and Clayton so he'd go by where you live occasionally.  I like him personally and like the cattle he buys but I don't know him well enough to recommend him yet.  I can check him out if you decide to go that route.  You could probably source your cattle locally if you wish and have them delivered if you don't have a trailer.

I think there is a custom packing plant in Las Vegas but I know nothing about them.  Remember that a beef will dress about 60% of live weight (hanging weight), and if boned and ground up for hamburger you'll end up with 60% of that.  An eight hundred pound steer turns into 280-290 pounds of meat so don't get mad at your butcher for stealing half your meat. 

Bryan

 
Bryan Elliott
Posts: 25
Location: Oklahoma Panhandle
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Brian,

I presume you have a permanent perimeter fence that holds cattle.  I like a high tensile, smooth wire,  electrified fence for interior fences.  Faster, cheaper, and easier to move when you find out you don't like it where you built it in the first place or come up with a better idea.  (I know a lot about that).  With a single hot wire you can space the posts farther apart than 20 feet and save a lot of money.  You are the best expert on your own place so I didn't pay any attention to your drawings on where you are thinking about putting the dividing fences.  I'm sure you've got good reasons for your plans.

Here is a site that'll keep you up to date on what various classes of cattle are selling for:

https://www.ams.usda.gov/market-news/feeder-and-replacement-cattle-auctions

Ray Bannister of Montana has some interesting thoughts on grazing management.  The you tube video is lower quality but in my mind he's worth listening to.

Some fairly intelligent people have said not to plant anything but fence posts for the first few years.

Bryan


 
Brian Rodgers
Posts: 35
Location: northern New Mexico
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Good Morning
(APer rininger85) wrote:
Easy solution to short term need of good healthy lien meat on a budget... take up hunting shoot one of those elk. It'll keep you in meat long enough to start raising your own. Get a couple hogs to feed your scraps to... never had better pork than a home grown pig. I'm on the hunt for a couple hogs again because our freezer is finally empty (of hog meat anyways... still a lot of venison from last year)... went about 2 years on one hog with it mixed in with our other meat sources in the freezer. Then sell the second hog to pay for raising the first one.

I agree Rob. We get one Anterless Elk permit per year because the elk graze here often. This is the simplest and quickest solution. Elk season starts in a couple months. I'll need to get help with someone with an ATV to haul quarters if I get one here. Also I may need to upgrade to a bigger rifle than my .250-3000 Savage https://www.ballisticstudies.com/Knowledgebase/.250-3000.250+Savage.html I went looking for a picture and found this informative article on the .250. Now I'm positive I can't use it on elk. We also have a 30-30 also a lever action, but it seems like I need something with a scope. I'll start researching what hunters here use on elk. Thanks Rob.

(APer Jowblow) wrote:
Brian you could put in Cattle Grids, cattle wont cross the grid and there's no gates to annoy your neighbors.

Cattle guards as they are called here are a bit of a sore spot for me as some thirty years back my brother and I built one for the complex of houses down the hill where we lived. Because we have so little top-soil digging here is a royal pain, but we busted rock for a nice deep channel and concreted up a custom frame to match the grate we welded together out of well casing pipe. It worked well for right up until these cows that our renter has that are amazing escape artists. My Ex who still lives in the house I built down there another sore spot said the calves were jumping over the grate and making my craftsmanship look bad, lol She was always good at that or so I thought, regardless I'd have to remove the one I built and rebuild the concrete box and built a wider and longer grate for it to function. Which I will probably do at some point after I get over myself, lol!

(APer Nhibbo) wrote:
Brian,
Thanks for another great read. I'll look at your video when I have a couple of spare hours, but I think you might also gain some insight from watching "Allan Savory, How to fight desertification and reverse climate change" (sorry, don't have the URL) on Ted Talks and then google some of the other projects he's been working on over the years. I think it will help shape your plans.

I'll go look for it ASAP, thanks. Isn't it weird how we see problems right in front of us, yet we continue do do things and think like the old-timers who for all intents and purposes caused the issues. Now these forward thinking people have solutions for Climate Change and it seems we're still not listening: Here is a series I'm watching now

I'm still grasping the things he is saying about plants taking minerals from the air ... Here's a quote from the link below that says what I can't put into words: The Soil Food Web refers to the microorganisms in the soil (bacteria, fungi, nematodes, etc) which extract nutrients from the soil and provide these nutrients directly to the roots of living plants.
http://www.regenerationinternational.org/the-9-most-important-techniques-in-regenerative-agriculture

Nhibbo wrote:
You are so right about the importance of diet/biome and its connection to health.

It seems like these teachings should give me the answers I've been casting about for in my attempts to understand how plant biology works. The cool thing is this is nearly identical to what I'm learning about the human microbiome, except plants digestive systems are external.
Nhibbo wrote:
Fortunately, in Oz, we almost only ever eat grassfed beef and anything else just doesn't taste right. Is elk edible? Surely some of that steak on the hoof you photographed passing your property could be readily converted for the plate.
Gnoibs?....70% chance of El Nino? Wow, I hope not. Already most of eastern Australia is bare dirt, especially NSW. If it is like this before an EL Nino is declared heaven help us further down the track (In this part of the world El Nino means drought and most of the country is already very much there). Fortunately, my state is still green, but we have already sent all of our fodder north. There is nothing left.
Boss, I have really enjoyed reading your posts and see parallels to my world atm. What a pleasure to finally clear out my workshop (Was full of the kids gear after they left home) and retirement now means time to LIVE and contemplate the world AKA projects for me LOL.
I was also impressed with your candy coloured sauerkraut. Looks delicious.
Fortunately our dirt garden and AP are both producing well but I don't know how you guys cope with such severe winters (for us an extraordinarily cold night is 4 or 5C (About 40F. Now that our daughter lives in Sydney, she can't cope even with our cold LOL).
Anyhow, happy projects around the patch and keep up the posts. Love it,
Cheers,
Norm

Thank you Norm that means a lot to me. I love following your threads as well.
Brian

Bryan Elliot wrote: Brian,

I presume you have a permanent perimeter fence that holds cattle.  I like a high tensile, smooth wire,  electrified fence for interior fences.  Faster, cheaper, and easier to move when you find out you don't like it where you built it in the first place or come up with a better idea.  (I know a lot about that).  With a single hot wire you can space the posts farther apart than 20 feet and save a lot of money.  You are the best expert on your own place so I didn't pay any attention to your drawings on where you are thinking about putting the dividing fences.  I'm sure you've got good reasons for your plans.

Here is a site that'll keep you up to date on what various classes of cattle are selling for:

https://www.ams.usda.gov/market-news/feeder-and-replacement-cattle-auctions

Ray Bannister of Montana has some interesting thoughts on grazing management.  The you tube video is lower quality but in my mind he's worth listening to.

Some fairly intelligent people have said not to plant anything but fence posts for the first few years.



Bryan 
Yes all border fences are 5 string barbed wire, much to the chagrin of the elk. I guess it's time to get my old International Harvester Utility 460 up and  running again! I used to build all sorts of implements for it and see no reason why I could build something to push and pull T-posts, because damn that is a lot of posts just in the phase one portion of my plan. Thanks to the fantastic comments and suggestions from everyone here, I'm putting the fencing on hold and will instead focus my attention on regenerative agriculture techniques.  
There was a fabulous quote I read I think from Gabe Brown that applies to me so well, Sustainable is good, why stop there lets regenerate the land!  

That was my moment of snap and change the way I think about things! 

Bryan Elliot wrote: Brian,
That is a beautiful place you have!  I hope you'll treat my suggestions as just that any and nothing more.  My opinions are worth what they cost you.

  First a question:  Is your priority raising your own beef or rental income?  If it's raising your own meat you won't have to build a herd and wait years to have excess to sell or butcher.  I've ate a lot of beef through the years and my favorite has been corriente.  There are more corriente cattle in the Las Vegas, Wagon Mound, and Roy area than almost anywhere.  They raise them to sell to team ropers and rodeo contractors.  You could buy a couple of cull cows, retired ropers, or even  yearlings that didn't have desirable horns very cheap.  I would probably try to get yearlings with less than perfect horns.  Cows are culled for a lot of reasons but the main ones are not having a calf, losing it, or getting too old and the biggie-drought.  I wouldn't want a broken mouth or toothless cow to put out on pasture and try to get her fat but a young or even solid mouth cow could get in good shape on your place with very few inputs.  They are small framed so they won't grow as fast or big but they are very hardy and for the most part inclined to have a gentle nature.  Feed them a few high protein cubes occasionally and they'll come to you any time you rattle a cake bucket. 


Fascinating. Before I retired I was a wireless Internet installer and did a job for a ranch called "Corrientes." I didn't know it meant a breed of cows. This is an awesome idea. In answer to your question we're more interested in raising grass fed beef than renting the pasture. Like another poster said in another thread and because of our ass-backward economy I need to keep my income at poverty level to keep health insurance through Medicaid, because frankly there is no alternative. I hope my future with the new healthy diet  I'm on provides me with the opportunity to get out and learn about raising animals. Thank you so much for giving me hope that indeed I can do this.  

Bryan Elliot wrote:
If you don't buy mother cows you won't be caught in such a bind if it doesn't rain and you won't have to deal with a bull.  Also there won't be the tendency to over stock your place.  Remember there is no such thing as too much grass or too much money but you can have too many cattle.


That is a wise statement. I have cringed often looking at the fields around here and seeing how horribly over-grazed they are. I think that gave me a big head because our pasture is the only one that doesn't have horses on it year round and therefor our grass is tall and thick. I'm sorry to judge others and now see there was so much more we could have done as an example of proper pasture maintenance.   

Bryan Elliot wrote:
I know a buyer from Maxwell that goes to the cattle sales at Belen and Clayton so he'd go by where you live occasionally.  I like him personally and like the cattle he buys but I don't know him well enough to recommend him yet.  I can check him out if you decide to go that route.  You could probably source your cattle locally if you wish and have them delivered if you don't have a trailer.

I think there is a custom packing plant in Las Vegas but I know nothing about them.  Remember that a beef will dress about 60% of live weight (hanging weight), and if boned and ground up for hamburger you'll end up with 60% of that.  An eight hundred pound steer turns into 280-290 pounds of meat so don't get mad at your butcher for stealing half your meat. 
Bryan


Those people finally screwed that business up and it went out of business after the owner was accused of murdering his girlfriend. Ranchers now have to go all the way to Belen or Albuquerque to find a butcher, sigh. I thought about buying a  band-saw for meat processing  here especially for the 1200 pound elk, if I'm lucky enough to get one.
thank you so much for you comments and suggestion Bryan.
Brian
 
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