There are a lot of books written about how to farm without feeding your cows hay in the winter. I can think of one person who advocates for "kicking the hay habit" who also hays his cows in the winter - he even designed a hay unroller (similar to what we use) to unroll his hay as well as sell to other farmers.
I have learned the best approach is to graze your warm season grass as long as possible while planting cool season grass - AND to have enough hay available for at least 90 days. After all, the weather is unpredictable.
Like this year, the hot and dry summer through fall period limited both the amount of grass available to graze as well as the amount of hay available. For example, in yesterday's MS Market Bulletin there were only six ads listing Hay For Sale. Five of the six were in the 662 area code. Typically there would be 4-6 columns of ads listing hay for sale.
Fortunately, we work to develop a good relationship with our hay supplier (we choose to buy our hay) and started taking deliveries in May when most farms are not thinking about their hay needs. Thankfully, we were able to buy enough to get us through mid-February if all goes well.
Trust me, we would love to be able to kick the hay habit because hay is expensive - the most expensive way to feed your cows. This year, our hay bill was about 25% higher than last year - greater than $20,000!!!
While we are feeding hay, we rotate the pasture used from year to year because we are able to easily spread the cows' manure and residual hay across the pasture using our hay unroller. With this tool the hay is unrolled in strips across the pasture. Unroll a strip of hay at X spot. Then unroll the next bale about two cattle lengths parallel to the last strip... and continue from fence to fence.
Here is a video we made last year showing how we unroll the bales. Click here
to view and learn about the advantages gained.
This week I needed to take a physical inventory of feed in our feed bins before placing our next order. This requires climbing to the top, opening the lid, and getting a rough idea where the level is at on the different structural rings and then converting this to weight of feed. Anyway, while on top of the feed bin I took the following picturre of two pastures planted in cool season grass. The only fertility used was from compost made with materials off our farm. It's looking pretty good to me.
Here is a current early morning picture of our turkeys on pasture enjoying some lush green grass and forbes.
In closing, I would like to leave you with this quote from the President of COP28. You can read more here.
Sultan Al Jaber, the president of COP28, declared that there is "no science" indicating a need to phase out the use of "fossil," or earth-based, fuels like coal, oil and natural gas because using these fuels has absolutely nothing to do with global heating.
"Unless you want to take the world back into caves," Al Jaber stated at the event, it is probably a good idea to continue using these fuels rather than dive headlong into a "green" paradigm that is both unsustainable and a recipe for economic failure for those countries that adopt it.
At Nature's Gourmet Farm, our intent is to create a community that evolves around one of the most intrinsically important things of the ages, and that’s the provision of sustenance. That's our passion - to raise healthy food to nourish families and strengthen immune systems.
If you are new to our farm then maybe you have been looking for premium ALL NATURAL GOODNESS of beef, pork, chicken, and eggs raised on pasture as God intended - with emphasis on Regenerative Principles and NOT conventionally raised animals (with growth hormones, drugs, chemicals, and antibiotics) - and where animals are treated humanely - then you have come to the right farm. Our delivery schedule and product availability are listed below along with order buttons that will take you to our website where you can browse over 90 product choices and place your order from the convenience of your home. It's that simple!
** Product Availability Update **
NOTE: Restocks are made about 6 PM on the dates indicated below!
Chicken - Fully Stocked. Next restock will be January 10th 2024. Yes, we will be raising chickens throughout the winter months
Turkey - Whole turkeys are sold out. Expect to have Ground turkey and pieces about mid January 2024
Eggs - Restock each Wednesday. Received 950 new pullet hens Thursday, Nov 9th. Starting to get small to medium eggs
Beef - Next restock will be December 22nd
Pork -Fully Stocked
Lamb - Restocked September 13th. Scheduled to process lamb in November, but this has been delayed. Probably Jan 2024