Rolling Hills

Pasture Management


This program is designed for all sizes and types of farms, and ranches.

Using Natural Rotational Grazing techniques to manage pasture lands and our docile herd of British White Cattle, which are naturally suited for rotational grazing.

 

In January 2010 I was able to attend a school put on by the USDA, FSA, NRCS, Soil and Water District, other private companies, and Central Lakes College.

The instructor, a rancher native of Canada, taught a group of about 110 farmers and ranchers some of the How-To's and Why's of his program. I was inspired by the program, and am opperating most of our leased land in rotational grazing as well as more correctly managing our home site as well.

I have long practiced the management techniques taught in the program, and with the additional know how and inspiration, I have successfully implemented the process, adding all of our 6 rented pastures to our rotational grazing program.

In 2010 we had added 120 acres of rotational grazing lands from previously continuously grazed pastures. Our landowners are very excited about the upgrades and we're glad to be able to better manage their lands.

 

British White Cattle + Land Stewardship

Our herd of British Whites have been trained to eat almost anything. They are easily transported due to their curious nature. Predation is less of an issue because their flight zone is very small and they will often turn on something new collectively and move towards it, which with that many eyes facing a predator shows them their cover is blown, and they will often retreat. Cows and Bulls are very docile and do not feel threatened by humans.

Our cows are taught certain verbal commands, and my voice. They will typically not respond to anyone else, even after not seeing me for months or even a year or two.

 

We pride ourselves in treating our land and livestock the way nature made them, and we have found that within our program we see a lot more wildlife.

Deer in wooded areas after a controlled grazing

Turkey and Pheasant nesting in open pastures

Water Fowl in protected riparian areas within pastures

Snakes, mice, and other native species

Dung Beetles and other natural fertilizer spreaders

Migratory birds hanging out with the cows and so much more...

 

We are currently accepting applications for adding more lands and farms to our program for 2014, and beyond.

 

If you'd like to be included in our program, contact us, and we'll sit down with you, look at your maps, and see what will work best for you!

 

US Fish and Game, MN DNR Land Management Projects

We are accepting wildlife management areas into our cattle program. Our cattle are employed by govenment agencies to restore the natural cycle to the land reserved for wildlife sanctuaries, and public hunting.

Cattle + Land = more wildlife.

Natural pressure of regeneration brings in species that need more open lands.

For example: a managed grazed pasture has areas where the cattle left cow dung and ungrazed grass patches. The cows do not typically eat the grass immediately around the patty. The patty dries, and makes a natural nest. A land nesting duck finds the site suitible, as the grass around the dry patty is tall enough to give protection, while open enough to survey for predators. The nest site is surrounded by grazed down grass. The bugs hanging around the site, and new growth of grass provide food for the hen and drake. Also the shorter grass wll make it easier for the chicks to get around once hatched. This improved environment produces a higher succes rate for ducklings, and improves the population for future game hunting and reproduction.

The grazing of the land in a proper manner stimulates seeds to germinate, and grow new plants.

 

Thistle

Thistle is a spiny nuscance. Or is it?

In my management I have noted this consistantly:

Land was overgrazed...

Soil becomes too hot and dry...

Thistle seed germinates...

Rosette grows, opening an area on the ground, self choking back any other competition.

Thistle is a deep rooted plant. It is able to bring up nutrients from deep underground.

Year 2,

Thistle prepares to reproduce...

Note: grass around thistle is VERY LUSH GREEN, indicating nitrogen is available

In a well managed pasture, the thistle will not do well, it will be spindly and have few chutes. In an overgrazed pasture, the thistle will be prominent and large with many branches.

In the well managed pasture, the plant is soft and weak. the cows eat them readily, as they are nutritious and tender.the plant will be stressed from having to try to grow more, with cold ground from the shading of the grass around it, the plant will suffer and be ill able, if able to reproduce.

In a POOR managed pasture, the plant will hold back the grazers from eating in that location, and the yard around it. The shade will cool the ground, and allow grass to germinate and set in the ground while protected from the grazing pressure by the thistle. Any seeds will have to fall farther from the plant in order to have a chance of hiting the warm ground and germinating. Covered, cool ground will not support the seeds and germination cannot happen at this time. The lush green grass will be available to the grazers once the thistle plant dies, and falls. the protected grass will grow through the old plant and be thicker and lusher the next season because the land had time to rest, and regenerate.

Chemial treatment hinders the natural healing cycle of the land.

Human management can create un-natural overgrazing circumstances, thus propogating the cycle to heal.

Never underestimate the healing ability of the land. Let it show you the way.

 

 

 

 

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Rolling Hills Traeger Ranch, Avon, Minnesota