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How My Grazing Plan Helped When Everything Went Wrong

By   /  January 7, 2019  /  6 Comments

Troy has been sharing how he extends his grazing season every year thanks to charting his management. But this fall Mother Nature threw him a big curve with rain 28 days out of 40 and a killing frost that came a month late. Here’s how he made it through.

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“The pencil is mightier than the pen,” Robert M. Pirsig, of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Main
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About the author

contributor

Troy Bishopp, aka “The Grass Whisperer” is a seasoned grazier and grasslands advocate who owns, manages and linger-grazes at Bishopp Family Farm in Deansboro, NY with his understanding wife, daughters, grandchildren and parents. Their certified organic custom grazing operation raise dairy heifers, grass-finished beef and backgrounds feeder cattle on 180 acres of owned and leased pastures. Troy also mentors farmers on holistic land management for the Madison County Soil and Water Conservation District and the Upper Susquehanna Coalition as their regional grazing specialist. This award-winning free-lance writer, essayist and photographer maintains a website presence at www.thegrasswhisperer.com

6 Comments

  1. Doug says:

    Great article. I am in Ky. in the fescue belt. Been doing IRG for about 7 seven years now.
    Cow /calf operation….. the more that I do this I find if I move them quicker ….the longer my season will last. Flash grazing if you will.
    I have my farm fenced to where I can rotate them thru it all in about 40 days. If i don’t need all those 40 days then i will just leave it out or clip it. i like to see a lot left in the paddock when I move them.
    The first year that i started….I rotated them thru the whole farm about every 21 days(cause I didn’t know any better) and I was able to graze all the way to the middle of Febuary. When I started slowing down my rotation I found it difficult to get that far again. Short grass grows slow.

  2. Dave Morgan says:

    I wanted to let you know Troy that your grazing chart approach scales down for my MMIG program. That’s not a typo, I do MIcro-Managed Intensive Grazing. We keep a small herd (10-15) of small cattle (Dexters) on our small (10ac) farm. Hence, MMIG. I used the chart for the first time this year and learned alot about my pastures productivity at different times of the season. I still need to bring the chart in from the barn and ponder over it to squeeze out the details, but I know its going to make me a little less optimistic when planning out 2-4 weeks in advance.

  3. Bruce Howlett says:

    You did well to lose only 14 days of planned grazing. In central VT we lost about a month because that first snow was enough to deeply bury the remaining stockpile and then it stuck around. The grazing plan was working fine until it abruptly became irrelevant. So we’re buying feed for April again this year.
    Bruce
    Bobolink Farm, E Montpelier

    • The Grass Whisperer says:

      I’m sorry you were under the stress as well. Tongue and cheek, you didn’t have to eat a little bit of crow for writing about it 🙂 Thanks for sharing GW

  4. Just Farmers says:

    My dad used to say to me (about my gardening and farming experiments), “Don’t you ever write about your failures?” Thanks for sharing your experiences. The photos are superb in showing what is/was going on.

    I was thinking of composing a poem about your experiences (and mine) and thought of a wonderful way of capturing the essence: “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men / Gang aft a-gley.” Alas, someone beat me to that phrasing.

    • The Grass Whisperer says:

      A big thank you for recognizing that we don’t talk about our real-life experiences enough. And that it was worth it for me to spend some time and action to share with others. I went a bit negative initially as a failure, however the ever-positive Miss Voth edited out my misgivings and highlighted the learning. I guess that’s why she is running the show. 😉 Thank you GW

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