As most of you are aware I still plant a good bit of cover crops in paddocks for grazing…..I even invested in an overseeder to help me get small seed and grasses into the soil rather than broadcasting it…….not much in terms of summer cover crops fared very well for me this summer…some did not even come up and what did come up suffered mightily from the drought.
I finally suspended even putting out seed in early July figuring I would wait on the rain…
then in late August I resumed seeding and switched to cool season species…I seeded a couple of paddocks anticipating rain which never came.
My fear was that the seed might germinate and then perish from lack of moisture…or that birds feasted on the seed that were exposed….or a plethora of other things that could go wrong.
I suspended seeding again, while having thoughts that I sure wasted my money on the overseeder…then I grazed the five strips in my big bull field….I seeded each of those as I grazed them….this would have been in September…early to mid September….still no rain.
about two weeks ago I grazed my two front yard paddocks and then seeded them.
naturally since we have had some rain I have especially been watching the big bull field and the front yard field hoping for some signs of life….I should point out that the existing chicory with its deep roots has been about the only species to still be showing life….they were grazed into the dirt which is contrary to all advice….see untoward acceleration article.
But the chicory was rebounding.
with the first rain we had a couple of weeks ago now, the existing grass began to show some signs of life….but I was not seeing anything from the seedings…
But in the last three weeks we have had a rain of 1.3 inches, another of 1.5 inches and this week another 3/10 of an inch.
last evening when I turned in the driveway, the field I sowed in August had a tint of green and when I slowed down to look I could see wheat from the mix I sowed coming up…I had given up this field as a lost effort…I was thrilled to see it coming up…this is a paddock where I hope to plant Eastern GammaGrass in the early Spring.
then while I was running water for the cows I looked at the big bull field and low and behold I saw some hints of small seed germination….there was no small grain sowed here so I was looking for small seed like grasses and clovers and brassicas. They were beginning to show.
So while the water was running I checked the Front yard paddocks and they two had signs of new germination.
I also feed a little bit of whole wheat to the cows and the two year old bull…I have a tendency to try stuff just to see what happens…I have just this week noticed that I have wheat germinating in my bull patties…I was thinking that seed placed on the ground in a warm moist environment would germinate immediately but apparently it also was waiting for rain….but I should add that I am seeing the wheat only in fairly new cow pies. Older pies that have dried out have been turned over and broken up by random scavengers and varmits as well as birds and dung beetles….I suspect that the varmits and birds harvested the wheat from those pies…
So while I have also succumbed to untoward acceleration and have been feeding hay for nearly two months…..I have most of the paddocks closed off and on some of the better ones I am seeing a greening up…..
I don’t have any stockpiled grazing for this winter but I will continue to feed hay and let those paddocks rest and hopefully we will have early spring grazing between the cool season cover and the cool season grasses.
Besides….everybody seems to need to point out that both Condi and I are not, shall we say, sleek and trim…Bad enough that she has to tote me….I don’t want to be accused of starving her to death…
PIPE DREAM FARM