Much like last fall, the switching of the seasons seemed to happen overnight. At Eden Shale we had exactly 5 days between a low 28 degrees the morning of May 9th to a high of 80 degrees on May 14th. I don’t know about you, but I would like a little bit smoother of a transition between spring and summer than that!
Early in the month of May we turned our cows out on grass. All of the new pairs were excited to get to graze fresh grass instead of harvested hay. And some of the calves thought it a good place to kick up their heels and burn off a little energy.
Another forage management strategy we tackled this past month was to burn our3acre field of gamma grass. Gamma grass is a warm season grass and we burn the stand about every other year. This removes all of the old thatch that didn’t get grazed and allows the plant to regrow amore uniform stand. We will use this warm season perennial to graze our replacement heifers on during the breeding season
This years relatively mild winter allowed us to have a surplus of hay in the hoop barns. We will be carrying over approximately 100 bales, which given the stunted growth of the first cutting this spring, just might be a good thing.
In terms of hay feeding structures, we did finally get the feeding panel installed in our converted tobacco barn. This hay feeder will function similar to the Large Bale Feeder, except the feeder panel is made of wood, and it hangs from a barn door track instead of riding on a rail system. This feeder in the barn is narrower which will limit how many cattle this feeder can support. However, utilizing this barn to feed cows in the winter will allow us to split the herd up and spread out some of the impact that we have on the pastures. Our plan is to bale the hay and place it directly into this hay feeding barn making it double as a hay storage facility.
I would like to thank Dr. Steve Higgins for his ongoing work and efforts of trying to find efficient solutions to the everyday challenges of farming. I would also like to say Thank You to UK’s Associate Dean for Research & Director Ky Agricultural Experiment Stations, Dr. Bob Houtz for his continued support of the work being done at Eden Shale Farm. It is because of these men that Eden Shale has been able to create and demonstrate innovative solutions for Kentucky’s Beef producers and I commend them for those efforts.
This summer we have two interns that will be helping us at Eden Shale. Gregory Magsam from Scott County, Kentucky is a student at Purdue University majoring in agronomy. Marshall “Ty” Wilks is an Equine & Ranch Management major at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College, and hails from Garrard County, Kentucky. We are excited for the opportunity to have these two young men aid us in the mission of Eden Shale Farm this summer.