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  • abbeydtaylor

Musings: May-June, 2024

We celebrated the arrival of my heifers on May 8th. Much has happened since that day!

After training the heifers to respect the electric fence, we jumped right into the first grazing rotation. The theme of this rotation was rain, rain, and more rain. Rain is wonderful for pasture regrowth, although it made our crop planting season more challenging and drawn out.

The grass got so tall, I could barely see the heifers when I moved them into a fresh daily paddock of grass! In the photo below, you can just see their backs above the orchard grass. They could barely see each other either, and tromped around with their heads up high so they could find their friends.

First rotation is the time when grasses are focusing their energy on flowering and reproduction. Flowering grasses are an underappreciated beauty of our land. Just look at the fine, delicate flowers on the timothy above. Myself, I am not much of a flowerbed gardener - I can’t help it when I can walk out to the pasture, or the ditches for that matter, and see all the grasses blowing in the wind, just growing freely for whoever wants to look.

Late in the first rotation, we grazed through a new pasture where my water system doesn’t reach. What a great exercise to really make me appreciate how much I love my water system! Keeping the girls hydrated through the heat wave while delivering water manually to them took some effort, but was well worth it, because it drew out the first rotation by 12 days. These days were important - tall, flowering grass that get grazed and trampled by my cattle take extra time to recover for the second rotation.  

The specific green of grass as new shoots poke out of the ground is the colour of hope to me. I really mean this, because every year after grazing through those tall, tall grasses of first rotation, I look at where the cows have been and wonder, “How can anything possibly grow back here? Will I even have any feed for them in a month?” I wonder this every year, and every year, the grass does grow back. I know this and yet, I can’t stop the question from crossing my mind. I walk back regularly to check if the grass is regrowing, and it is always a miracle to me when I see those young shoots start to poke out of the soil.

Here we are, caught up to June 27th, where we are several days into the second rotation. I love this second rotation grass that the heifers above are knee-deep in. No longer up to their ears in quantity, but there is plenty of lush quality.

Wishing you a happy Canada Day Weekend and many beautiful days this month!

This is Abbey the Cattle Caretaker, signing off.

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