Running Cattle on Non-Traditional Pasture

There’s always been cows here.

I love cows. I love the miracle of life. I love the plant absorbing factory that produces nutrient rich beef. I love the rhythm between man & beast.

But we don’t live on beautiful rolling hills of grass as far as the eye can see. We don’t have sections upon sections fenced for cows to graze & roam. There are cows here, but this place doesn’t look like you’d typically envision an idyllic, traditional ranch.

We run cows on crop land.

We use our limited pasture to “cell graze,” in a way, for breeding. Then early wean so we can focus on row crop harvest. We utilize self-feeders in the feedlot to background and finish the calves due to our time and labor constraints. We graze a fall pasture then move the mamas onto crop residue.

Cows and crops fit well together, for us. We breed for 45 days and the tail end of calving mixed with planting season gets a bit wild. Then weaning and harvest can be quite a scheduling dance. But overall, cows and crops are a good fit here.

Took this video today as we moved the mamas one field closer to home before calving. We’ll feed them with the wagon while they graze here and walk .5-1 mile for water before we starting calving in about 6 weeks.

On a sad note, one of Kooper’s heifers is currently sloughing twins. Crazy how this happened. Kade lost a heifer with her twins the first year his calved too.

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