Green Pastures Farm Newsletter February 1st, 2010

Green Pastures Farm Newsletter February 1st, 2010

  Since resigning from my town job of 30 years last September, things have picked up on the farm. We now have an internship program on our farm where we teach Holistic Planned Grazing to young adults. Must be 18 years old, have a driver’s license, be willing to work and have an open mind to new ideas. Our present intern Tyler is from Utah and is a super hard worker and good person to go along with it. Tyler has been offered a full year internship with the one and only Ian Mitchell Innes from South Africa. Ian is the Holistic manager that got us switched over to Holistic planned grazing. Wow what an opportunity for Tyler, 23 years old and getting the chance of a lifetime to intern with the best Holistic grazier in the world!

  Our last intern Dana, we helped her find a full time grazing manager job in Katy, Texas. She will be managing a Holistic grazing operation on a private school that is one of the best in the world. They have their own store and 5-star restaurant to market their grass-finished meat through.  Dana is excited to say the least about her new life adventure. She will also be grazing livestock on a large private ranch in the same area in her spare time. Dana will do well! She has what it takes to be a very successful holistic grazier. We are happy for her and very proud of her.

   Jan and I have taken some neat trips this fall. We went to the Acres conference in Minnesota, what a great conference, I would highly recommend it if you ever get the chance to go. Next, I spoke at Reno at the National Grazing Lands Coalition. I was on the same panel with Terry Gompert and Doug Peterson, both Holistic graziers. 

Then, Jan and I took off to Chihuahua, Mexico for a week of touring Mexican ranches. That was one of the most enjoyable trips we have ever taken. We flew to three different Holistic ranches by private plane, very secluded ranches that had private landing strips. It was a real eye opening experience to see how they ranch down there. I have the most admiration for the challenges they have and how they have figured out solutions around them. We saw some beautiful cattle performing in some very harsh conditions. We were treated like royalty by all the ranchers. The food was the best we have ever had. I think I gained 10 pounds while I was down there! Jan and I are definitely going back for another visit.

   Next, we went to San Francisco to see my sisters and their families. I scheduled a farm tour with Joe Morris while we were there. That was the highlight of the trip. Joe is a Holistic rancher that has a beautiful ranch 3 miles from the coast. It looked like Ireland! Everything was a sea of green. We saw some beautiful grass and cattle.  Joe is doing a tremendous job on his ranch. Next, I went to Virginia to give four talks in four different towns across the state. I started on the North and worked my way South. At every conference, there were graziers that were trying to figure a way to lower their costs on their farms. I showed them what we were doing and the results that we were having.  Inputs are skyrocketing while the prices we receive at the marketplace are not keeping up with input costs. If you want to continue to raise livestock you have to figure out how to eliminate these inputs. It is the only thing that we have control over and we can eliminate inputs. It does take management and the rewards are definitely worth it. Virginia is a very beautiful state, lots of mountains, grassland and timber. I have never been in a state that has more painted white board fences. I went out a couple days early and got to spend the weekend with my younger sister and her family. That was a nice treat.

    Before leaving on my trips, I help Tyler lay out all the paddocks that will be used while I am gone. Tyler has learned a lot this winter on strip grazing, judging pasture residual, cow condition, handling, grazing through snow, grazing in wet conditions, bitter freezing temperatures, etc. We are still grazing stockpiled grass and have not fed any hay. It looks like we will make it through the winter without feeding any hay. Hay is the biggest cost of keeping a cow on your farm, so we smile when we can graze all winter. Our cows had to graze through 14 inches of snow and minus 40 below temperatures. One thing that you have to be aware of when the temperatures drop is the animals increased forage intake. We give them twice the forage area when the temperatures get below 10 degrees. We also move them twice a day to make sure they get enough energy from the plants. Energy intake is crucial to animal performance in bitter weather.

   Our body condition score on our cows is the best this winter that we have ever seen on Judy Farms. This is our fourth year of Holistic High Density Planned Grazing and the quality of our grass just keeps getting better. Our soils are now 100% covered with earthworm castings and the litter bank on the soil surface is the key. If you give your worms plenty of food, you will grow more grass as a direct result. Tyler and I fenced in another 100 acres this past weekend that lay’s next to one of our farms. It is mostly brush, but with some good management we can turn the open areas into some good pasture. The 100 acres just sold and I contacted the landowner and he gave it to us to graze! He wants it to hunt on.

  Jan and I are busy getting ready for our spring grazing school that will be held at Judy Farms. It runs from April 15th -17th. Ian Mitchell Innes is coming back this spring to help us with the school. It is filling up fast. Tyler and I are going to Kentucky the end of February to install a high density grazing operation. There is nothing there but open fields. We are putting in all the paddocks and running water points. This will be some very valuable experience for Tyler to use in his grazing future. Jan is busy with the website. She really does a great job. She has now opened a Facebook page for us. Jan is working to increase the meat sales so that she can be home full time someday. Jan and I walked through the mob yesterday, measuring cow condition and admiring the cattle. They truly are remarkable, how they can take forage and turn it into a premium healthy product. We actually saw green clover nestled down in the stockpiled grass, what a treat that must be to have bite of green clover in the middle of winter.

Posted: 2010-02-03

Reader Comments

Hello Greg, I attended a confrence you were a part of in Blackstone, VA on Jan 27 which we enjoyed. Thank you again for your instruction. We bagan feeding our 67 head of Angus in a 5 acre hay field stepping 6 round bales a day across the entire field. The hay, manure and seeds are spread and the cows till it in.We are excited how this should turn out when the entire field is covered. I plan to let the grass go to seed and standing waist height before we turn them into small paddocks for daily rotations. Ian Mitchell Innes will be @ a confrence this weekend in Danville, VA. What a treat. What weight and age is the bull calf you have for sale which you spoke of @ the Blackstone, VA confrence? Has anyone else contacted you about purchasing one? Thanks again, Paul Lawler Faith Farm

Paul Lawler

Paul, We will evaluate how many bulls are actually going to be for sale in June. The bulls will be yearlings in June, will weight around 5-650 lbs. We normally breed with these bulls at 14-16 months old (August-September)I will write down your email on our customer bull list that we are keeping for folks that are interested. Sounds like you have made some good strides on getting some fertility and animal impact spread across your pastures. Remember, this spring when you turn into the fully recovered field to move them everyday. Do not leave them an extra day to make them clean it up or trample it better, move them. The chocolates are gone the first day and the animals will not perform well if you leave them on the same area the second day. They must have fresh selection every day. Give my best to Ian this coming weekend, take plenty of notes, you will forget alot of what he has to say if you don't. Greg Judy

Greg Judy

Greg, I also attended your presentation in Blackstone, Va. subsequently I have purchased additional portable fence materials and am going to do a small scale version of your system. Small acerqge and just a few cows but the time is right for me to switch from rotational grazing to more intensive managment. JB Daniel the Va NRCS forage agronomist wants me to document and do a case study so I am beginning to put together my starting point information. going to put it on our district blog. thanks for your leadership.

Jim Tate

How can I obtain your books?

Bill H. Hill

You can use the paypal button under the shop on line or you can send a check to Greg Judy 21975 Devils Washboard Rd Clark, Mo 65243 Make sure that you have your address and what book you want if you send a check. Thank you Jan

Jan Judy

Hello Greg and Jan, Heard about you first on the Stockman Grass Farmer and then this evening, while surfing the web, found an article in the Angus Beef Bulletin written by Boyd Kidwell that talked about you. We have 20 acres in Northeast Texas, divided into three pastures. We have two herds -- one consists of a young bull and 10 heifers; the other has 5 bred cows, 3 calves, and 1 heifer that is not yet breedable. How feasible is it to do mob grazing with a cow-calf group and also with a bull-heifer group? Thanks, Greg! Leo

Leo Lozano

Leo, We use mob grazing in our cow herd. We also run our heifers with the cow herd and calve them right with the mob. If you have two herds it is killing your recovery period on your farm. With two herds they are eating at two spots at once and your density is not as high. If you combine them, your grass will have longer recovery periods and you will have more grass to feed your cattle. Greg

Greg Judy

Is there a 2010 field day planned as in 09? If so please advise of date etc. Thanks Frank

Frank Mabry

We have decided not ot have the 1 day feild day like last year. We are having a couple customer days the we did not do last do last year. We will have a 2 day school this fall. We are building a meeting hall and an intern house this summer. So please check the web for the 2 day school for $600.

Jan Judy-March

Hi Gregg: I enjoy reading all of the benefits high density stock grazing is providing. We have 30 cows, 60 total animal units on our 130 acre Maryland farm and are into our 2nd year of daily moves, approx. 1 acre per day. We raise grass fed beef. Quick question - I have been seperating our yearling heifers when putting the bull in because I've been concerned with their development at 13 months. I've read you only graze one group. How do you overcome this problem? Thanks

Steve Derrenbacher DVM

Our bulls are pulled April 1st and are returned to the mob July 30th. This gives us May 1st calving date. We have not separated the yearling heifers and so far we have not had anything breed as 7 month old to 12 month olds. We do not baby our heifers, they are treated as cows, we think this may be helping us from having them not breed to young. In other words they are not getting babied so therefore they are not cycling only growing.

Greg Judy

Hey Greg: I had a little time for some reflection last night and wanted to share some of my realizations and also extend a note of gratitude. I listened to you talk in St. Louis nealry 4 years ago. You did not know who I was at that time. After you were finished talking I purchased your first book from you and took it home and read it. At that time I owned 40 cows and 300 acres and was already seroius about grazing managment, low input, etc., but immediately started looking for leased ground and cows. Now, 4 years later I still have my farm and cows but lease an additional 7 farms with 800 open acres and run an additional 180 leased cows. I also run about 70 ewes now and have two operators running some additional lease cows for me. Hey Greg...Thanks a bunch!

Bruce Shanks

I remember the first time I met you in St Louis, sure doesn't seem like four years ago. You sure have come along ways since then. Wow congratulations on your success. You are doing things right, keep up the great work! Thank-you for your kind words

Greg Judy

Have you changed your internship application since last year? I am going to apply for 2013, and wanted to make sure before I submit.

Jesse Higginbotham

You need to get an application from us (I think you have it) and fill it out. We have only 1 slot open for 2013 and it maybe in different time slots like 3,6 or 9 months. Thank yo for asking.

Jan Judy