I got an email from a reader this past week asking just this question. Rain, rain, and more rain had soaked his soils. Not wanting to damage his pastures, he delayed turn out for a month, but his hay supplies are running out, and the pastures are maturing. He wondered what folks in the know would do.
I told him that I’d talked to Greg Judy, Matt Poore, and Johnny Rogers about this recently because other folks were having similar problems. Here’s what they suggested:
– Make your pastures larger than you normally would. This can spread animals out, one pasture could be selected reducing the density of hoof impact. Then move them along to their next pasture pretty quickly.
– Sacrifice pastures may be another possibility, but think it through because that pasture would need plenty of rest to recover later.
– If you have areas that don’t hold water as well so they aren’t as soggy, focus on those areas first.
– One more option – head over to your local NRCS office to see if they have resources or can provide assistance. They are really working hard to help.
It doesn’t seem there’s a perfect solution, so I’m throwing the question out to all of you to see if you’ve got a practice that’s working well for you. My final suggestion – putting snow shoes on the cows to prevent pugging by spreading their weight over a larger area – just didn’t seem very viable.
If you’ve got ideas or resources, please post them below.
Thanks for reading and for being part of a community of innovation!