It was very honouring to receive this award last Wednesday at the Grasslands Summit held at the Douglas Lake Ranch. **(Click on the blue ‘Grasslands Conservation Council of British Columbia Award’ to read write up and award)**
When we got home from the ‘tour’ we were quickly reminded of the constant challenge of managing livestock. A group of twelve cows with calves and a bull that we had in a small pasture, were overdue in being moved out to a new pasture! With the past 3 weeks being extremely hot and dry, their pasture was completely done! We were able to quickly check the next pastures’ fence, open the gate and move them on to ample feed.
It was a great reminder of how grass management is a constant battle and always needs attention and improvement. With rest until next year and ample rain, our ‘overgrazing mistake’ will be remedied.
We finished cutting our first cut of hay last week. That is the earliest our ranch has ever been finished first cut it the 53 years our family has been here. The stars all aligned this year. The weather cooperated for us and another huge factor that helped was we bought a new rotary mower. This purchase probably cut our cutting time in half. It is quicker than our older sickle mower because it can cut faster and also it is a center pivot. Our old swather was fixed to the left side of the tractor, so we could only cut one direction, so you would cut up one side of the field and then when you got the end you would have to pick up the swather and drive the headlands and you weren’t cutting until you got to the other side where the swather was in the hay again (because it was fixed to the left side). With our new center pivot you cut up one side of the field and once you are at the end you can simply swing the swather around to the other side, so there is not a time when you are driving and not cutting. It is so much better!!!!! I am also very thankful for this new piece of equipment because I am getting married in a week and was really nervous that I would be trying to juggle finish haying with finalizing a wedding. My dear old dad was very supportive in the matter his response was “Well you won’t be up to much in the morning the ceremony doesn’t start until 1:30 you can sit on the tractor for a bit in the morning!”
I am really glad that didn’t have to happen!
A huge reason our ranch was able to purchase the new swather was due to the new Cattle Price Insurance Program that my co-blogger Erika Fossen blogged about in her blog “Game Changer”. For the first time we were able to go to the bank and say we are going to make this much money this year. Apparently that makes them much more willing to lend money when there is a guarantee and not “Ahh well I sure hope the markets are good the day we sell!”
It’s amazing how much cross over there is in our industry how one thing transfers to another!
Here are some pictures of our new awesome rotary mower. We had to put a screen at the back of the tractor because it cuts the hay with discs that turn, so if it picks up a rock it can fire it out and can break the windows in the tractor.
Here is a picture of our stack yard. For our first cut we got over 500 bales that are each 1200 pounds. We are off to a good start to making enough of our own hay to feed our cows this winter, so we don’t have to buy any.