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You Do Not Have to Move Cows Every Day

By   /  January 28, 2019  /  9 Comments

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You do not have to move cows every day to build soil health. You don’t always have to stretch poly
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About the author

My name is James Matthew Craighead. In 2011 my wife, Amanda, and I established LearnGrowInspire Farms, or LGI for short. We have a forage based cow calf operation as well as a small greenhouse. We also run a few sheep, and do some custom top hogs. We also assist our parents on the day to day operations of their farms as well. I work for our local soil conservation district, and my wife teaches agriculture and chemistry at our local high school. In 2017 we welcomed a baby girl, Ember Kate, into our our life.

9 Comments

  1. Rob Havard says:

    Excellent advice. Very similar to how we operate.

  2. Tom Krawiec says:

    You are so right James. There are more ways than one to accomplish your goals, as long as certain principles are adhered to. In terms of grass management, these principles are graze time, recovery time, & the growth curve. A grazier must get a handle on these three principles first. Damage to your grass will not bring a person closer to their goals. It takes them further away. Graze periods that are too long, recovery times that are too short or too long hinder the attainment of long term viability if that is part of a person’s goal. Often we don’t notice how much it hinders us because clipping a few blades of grass when our animals stayed in a paddock four days, though the grass grew enough in three days to be bitten again is hardly noticeable.

  3. Paul Sharpe says:

    The advice is very practical, reminding us to be flexible in management. I did not understand the second “after” photo which looked like a crop of sorghum, seeded right to the bottom of a drainage ditch. The trees in the background were different from the trees in the “before” picture. Was this the same location?

    • James Matthew Craighead says:

      The pictures were taken in the same 7 acre field, from slighly different angles. It was sown in sudex for grazing. What you are seeing that looks like a ditch is actually the path i used traversing it on my atv(it is in a low spot, but not a ditch). I let it get about 7 feet tall before I grazed it.

  4. Joan Schleh says:

    We run 15 Highland Cattle on leased 15 acres. Our area has very wet winters so we must use a sacrifice area and feed wrapped round bales in winter. We do rotational grazing the rest of the year through 7 permanent fields and one large field divided with poly wire. We move our cows every 5-7 days. We have been doing this for 10 years The grass is thick and lush here naturally and we have seen improvement in the quality over time even though we run our cows very heavily with each field being grazed up to 4 times in a season. Winter rest and moving the cows allows us to utilize this land far more than if they were just left on full time like I see so many neighbors do. Thanks for your helpful articles. Keep it up!

  5. Curt Gesch says:

    Thank you for the refreshingly uncommon sense.

    I think the tendency of all of us is this: once we’ve figured out what for us is the perfect system, we expect others–if they have any sense ! –to adopt it. This is probably due to a surfeit of zeal rather than any intent for world domination.

    On the other hand, zeal is a wonderful thing, in grazing management or anything else.

  6. Well said James.
    AEspo’s “The Hare & the Tortoise” holds true for all times. Find your turtle pace and be consistent.
    “The race is not always to the swift.”

  7. emily f macdonald says:

    Thank you for this article. It was encouraging!

    It is very easy to let the optimal be the enemy of the good.

    Your before and after photos are especially good.

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