At C-BAR-J we strive to get the most from our land, all while trying to make it better while in our care. We are working towards Holistic management. We believe the status quo cattle producer cannot remain profitable. We believe in the cattle working for us, not us for them. Cows live 100% off grass or they get a free ride to town. Low inputs. We consider ourselves “Herd Quitters” as we do things different than most. We do not base our practices on “we have always done it that way” We calve in May and June (Spring herd), more in sync with nature, rather than the middle of winter. Look at when the deer and other animals have babies. (our Fall herd calves in Sept.) We practice managed Intensive grazing (MIG) We provide our cattle with enough grass for 24 hrs at a time. Thus, we move them onto fresh grass each and every day. Horses our rotated on a weekly basis. This gets the animals away from their manure which reduces flies and other insects. This also allows the pastures to rest for a minimum of 60 days before being grazed again. The following will explain our setup and a few of our practices.
East side of the farm (42 grazing acres) is split into (8) 5 acre paddocks, further reduced to 2.5 acre paddocks using poly rope. Water tanks are placed in the fence line. Aisle way down the middle to rotate the herd, being able to easily by pass a paddock. The aisle way is an easy way to bring the herd up to the working facilities. Fence consists of 5 strand barbed wire.
The West side (30 grazing acres) of the farm is divided into (5) 5 acre paddocks w/ an energy free waterer in the center of each pasture. This side also includes approx 3 acre stocked lake and 6 acres around the lake in which we have planted pollinating forbs. We have planted several fruit and nut trees as well.
The North Farm (35 grazing acres) consist of (17) 2 acre paddocks. We utilized water blocks consisting of concrete tanks. Interior fence consist of single strand hi-tensile wire and pasture pro post. Exterior fence is 5 strand hi-tensile and powerflex G2 post. Really enjoy grazing this system. We incorporated an aisle way into this system as well.
Ritchey CT-2 energy free waterer. I really like the disc for a few reasons. They keep the water cool in the summer, they also keep any bugs/ mosquitoes out. We fence line wean. In other paddocks we use a single hot wire. When weaning in these pasture I like that momma and babies can drink from the same tank, also the water is already in the right location, nothing additional has to be done. We really like aisle ways. We use them to rotate the herd. We are able to skip a paddock as needed. Makes it simple to bring the herd up to the facilities. A common misconception is that this is wasted. Not true! We figure all aisle ways into our rotation. We graze all grass.
To prevent ground water contamination and/or putting possible disease into the soil, we have chosen to compost our dead animals. Most recent we put in a 1100lb horse. 8 months later, just the leg bones remained. We compost our horse manure. We typically spread it on the pastures twice a year. We let the pile heat up for a few weeks before turning it, to ensure we kill any weed seeds that may have been in the hay. The heat also kills any fly eggs. “If you have Live stock, you’ll have Dead stock”
Provide a base of at least 1-2 feet of co-compost material (2 feet for an adult large animal), put the carcass on it, perhaps wet the carcass slightly if it and the co-compost are very dry, cover so there is another 1-2 feet of co-compost over the carcass and wet that slightly if needed. If there is leaching of fluids from the pile, it needed a deeper base, was too wet, or too much water was used. Confine and absorb these leaching fluids with other co-compost and then put this mix into a composting pile. If odors are escaping, a deeper coverage with the co-compost may resolve that problem. But, the pile or windrow may be too wet inside or the co-compost may not have provided enough carbon. It is usually considered best to puncture the rumen and to open the thoracic and abdominal cavities of large carcasses. This will increase the surface contact area and speed up the decomposition and composting process. But, some producers have had good success with no carcass preparation. The carcass has just been laid on the co-compost pile and covered. That is certainly the easiest method. The site for composting should be accessible, even in wet weather, and provide rather level ground to avoid an influx or an outflow of water from precipitation. A hard surface such as concrete or asphalt is ideal but not essential. A plastic cover can be placed over the ground and under the composting site, but this plastic may complicate the turning of the pile or windrow. The hard surface or plastic liner may be essential and required in areas with high water tables to prevent leaching into the groundwater.
A three foot long stem thermometer should be used to monitor the progress of the composting process. The internal temperature of the compost pile is a good indicator of the current biological activity. Take and record daily temperature measurements at one and three foot depths. The temperature should reach 135-145 o F and stabilize there for a few days to weeks. Usually the carcass compost pile should be turned after 3-4 months and allowed to continue the composting process for another 3-4 months. Be sure to get all the animal parts and pieces re-covered. Then the compost should be ready to apply to land and work into the soil. Any pieces of bone remaining (even large ones) should be brittle and weak and will usually break apart during the spreading process. Some of the finished compost can be used in the next cycle of carcass composting as up to 50% of the co-compost mix. For successful composting of the carcasses of large animals: Be a good observer willing to adjust and correct problems. Use a thermometer and keep records. Check for fluid leaching and confine and absorb it with co-compost material. Check for odors and if present, add more co-compost or water, or dry out the pile with aeration, if needed. If necessary, re-start the whole process with a different type, quantity or wetness of the co-compost material to get the odor, flies and leaching under control. An excellent guide on composting in general and with specific information on composting of animal carcasses is available for purchase : Field Guide to On-Farm Composting. Natural Resource, Agriculture, and Engineering Service (NRAES) 114, 1999. Cooperative Extension, 152 Riley-Robb Hall, Ithaca, NY, 14853-5701; phone 607-255-7654; Web site: WWW.NRAES.ORGWWW.NRAES.ORG
Our latest experiment, we just started using the fly killer kover. We feed loose salt in the 3 compartment mineral feeder. The cover is lined w/ felt on the under side. We fill the reservoir with mineral oil which in turn saturates the felt liner. When a cow eats the salt some salt sticks to the felt and the salt falls into the eyes of the next cow. In theory this will control pinkeye. (jury is still out) The reservoir can also be filled with fly rub. We unroll hay as needed. We find it as a tool to repair worn areas and a good way to add fertilizer where needed. Strip grazing is our preferred method.
For short runs or temporary fences we like the S20 all in one units by Gallagher We utilize solar chargers for all our electric fences. This particular energizer is a tru-test 6000. It is a 6j charger w/ a remote control. The fence can be turned on or off from any where that you can touch the wire.
We recently installed a new grazing system and we used water blocks for our watering areas. This allows the livestock to drink from the same tank from 4 different paddocks.
Aug 27 1918 is the date in the concrete on this hand dug well. We took almost 100yr old technology and threw some modern technology at it, pretty cool if you ask me. The well has about 10’ of water and it is spring fed. The well recharges at a rate of 1 gpm, and this was tested during a relatively dry time. We are using an 80 watt panel with (2) 12v battery linked to make a 24v system. The auger pump starts at 0 rpm and gradually increases, resulting in very minimal vibration and low power start up demand. The pump is currently producing 5 gpm. Currently watering 28 pair, the batteries are staying charged and the water level only changes a couple of inches or so.
We retain the majority of our calf crop and sell as freezer Beef. Mostly grain finished with a few grass finished. Still have a lot to learn about grass finishing. The majority of our customers work at Whiteman AFB. We try to have 2 ready per month.
Stall and pasture boarding is a large part of our operation. At present we board 34 horses and we have 4 ourselves. We offer stall boarding, pasture boarding, and foal delivery, just to name a few things.