December is a month that I am not at the farm as frequently as usual. Preparation for the KCA Convention Tradeshow keeps me at the office more than I like. However, the timing works out well because there isn’t a lot of activity going on at the farm during this time. The cows are still grazing stockpiled fescue (not needing hay yet), and they are not due to calve for another 90 days. Our construction projects are wrapped up for the year, and we typically don’t host many tours due to the colder weather.
I was at the farm more at the beginning of December as we were finishing up a couple of Dr. Higgin’s construction projects. We installed several new tire water tanks in locations that we do some winter feeding at. Both of these new tire tanks will service the cows both during winter feeding, but also in the summer as we implement our rotational grazing schedule. We used 8 foot tires and installed a full 8 foot apron around the entire tire so that the cows will be able to get all four feet on the concrete while they are drinking at the tank. This helps reduce erosion around the tank during the wet winter months.
The dry conditions this fall allowed us to get some manure cleaned up and spread onto some pasture ground. Our heifer calving facility still had some manure that needed cleaned up before we bring animals back for calving season this spring. This facility has a stack pad and the manure had been sitting there waiting on transportation to the pastures. This was the first chore for one of our new tractors. Nothing breaks them in faster than flinging manure all over brand new paint!
So far through the first half of December we still have enough grass for all of the 110 bred females and the 70 weaned calves. Both groups are still grazing stockpiled fescue and are maintaining great body condition. This picture was taken on December 7th as the cows were turned in to one of the last sections of pasture that had not been grazed for several months. Hopefully our weather will continue to be good for us and we will be able to graze past the first of the year.