Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Going Out to Eat

People seem to like to go out to eat. These days, our cows and feeder calves are "going out to eat," too, spending some time dining on wheat at various locations.
For the first few days, the guys kept an eye on the cattle while they grazed on the green wheat, since they weren't used to the electric fence. (We've had them grazing since November. I'm just getting around to posting about it.)
The guys watched from their 4-wheelers to make sure the cattle didn't get spooked and run through the fence.
Like toddlers and teenagers, it seemed the cattle needed to test the boundaries, grazing right by the fence. But, thankfully, we didn't have escapees.
The fence is hooked up to an electric charger. If the cattle touch it, they get a little electric zing to back them away.
The guys spent several days putting up the temporary fencing so that the cattle could graze on the winter wheat. It has a higher protein value than the silage and alfalfa hay that are the bovine's principal diet during the winter.
After the cattle are out on the wheat for a couple of hours, it's time to round them back up and put them back in the corral.
After a few days, the cattle seem to know the routine and go back to the corral fairly quickly when they see the 4-wheelers coming.
Moving them back to the corral gives the cattle access to water. The more permanent fencing also helps to keep the cattle contained at night. Deer often run through the electric fence, so going around the fence is part of the guys' daily routine to make sure everything is still standing and operational.
We've also had cattle on sudan. Randy and Jake used electric fencing around some sudan that they kept standing this fall. (We baled the majority of it.)
When we didn't get the mammoth snowfall the weathermen predicted at Christmastime, the guys fenced off additional wheat ground just north of the sudan. Now those cattle have added "green" to their diets, too.
Randy usually limits the cattle to 30 days on a wheat field before moving to another one. That way, the wheat doesn't get eaten down too much. Grazing doesn't impact the yield of the wheat crop, as long as it is in good condition and hasn't yet jointed. Because of a warm fall this year, we had more wheat to graze this winter.

Everyone needs their greens, right?!


  1. Oh, how cattle love to graze! We sometimes graze our cows on "old" alfalfa fields, or on rye grass, and Jim has numerous times seeded some sudan just for that purpose. I can identify with keeping watch on those fences to make sure there are no escapees! All it takes is one. :)

    1. Yes, they are definitely skilled in "follow the leader!"