This is our last day of grazing grass. From now until May the cattle will still be eating grass, but it will either be harvested and dried (hay) or fermented (baleage).
We can usually stretch our grazing out into December. January is possible in a mild year if we don’t get early ice and slush in the fields. February grazing is inconceivable to me based on the plants available and the weather we get, but fifty miles east of here from Albany down through the Hudson Valley the weather is much milder and less snowy and some people have made it work in that environment.
This year we got hit with a double whammy that curtailed our grazing early. We had hoped to get a first cut of hay off two fields early in the season, followed by a fall grazing on the regrowth. Unfortunately with rain, equipment delays, and then interruptions due to the pond project, we were unable to get the hay fields cut until late September.
By September, that first cut hay was worthless for anything but bedding. We need bedding hay for the pigs, but we didn’t need that much. So we lost four weeks of grazing, and on top of that we ended up buying an extra four weeks of hay. Hay feeding costs us $60 per day for purchased hay, so that’s $1,680 out of our pockets. Yeah, that smarts…