Fencing the grazing paddocks on our new 80 acres has been a big project which took twelve weeks to finish, but they are finally done and it has turned out really well. Rotational grazing is the most efficient use of the grass and it is the best nutrition for the cattle. We set up the grazing paddocks so one person can set the gates and move the herd which is nice because there are just the three of us here to run the ranch.
After the first couple of moves, the cattle know what to do and often they are lined up at the gate waiting for us so they can move to fresh grass. Grass is the food ruminants are designed to eat and digest and it keeps the herd happy and healthy. Our high country grass also produces the delicious beef we love.
With the new land also comes the opportunity to cut and bale some of our own hay. Since our cattle eat only grass in the summer and hay in the winter that is an important part of our operation. One of our neighbors cut and baled the hay for us, then Rick and Alex loaded it on the trailer brought it home and stacked it in the barn for winter. It is a nice feeling to see all the hay stacked and waiting for the cold winter weather.
The new calves from spring are growing like weeds and are big and strong now. They nurse from their mamas and eat grass all summer, gradually tapering off the milk and eating more grass as they grow bigger. Then in the fall we will wean them when we bring them home for the winter. By the time the calves are weaned they have naturally tapered off their nursing and we practice fence-line weaning so they are close to their mama which is a lot less stressful for everyone involved.
In addition to preparing for our Fall Harvest of Beef, we have lots to do on the winter pastures. With the growth of our herd, we need another pasture this year for wintering over. Now that they have finished the summer grazing paddocks, Rick and Alex are working on getting the new winter pasture ready.
The summer store season went really well and we enjoyed meeting new customers and seeing old friends. We sold all the spring beef we had and are now taking deposits for fall.
All in all it has been a good summer!