Newsletter December 2017: Winter Quarters

Winter Quarters

               We hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! We almost sold out of our turkeys this year so we are very thankful to all who made us a part of your holiday! We had a lot to be thankful for here for the farm this year as well. We’ve had a lot of people asking about if Emily had our baby or not. Our little boy Soren Powers was born a few weeks early before Thanksgiving, so it was an especially grateful holiday for us this year!

This mild weather has been nice as we continue to button the farm up for winter. There is always a struggle this time of year between the warm and cold temperatures, and that battle can affect the farm quite a bit. I’ve come to learn that the sooner the ground freezes over the better! During the muddy times (usually mid-spring and late fall) the herd is kept to “sacrifice” pastures. These pastures are areas where we know the herd will damage the turf but is necessary to keep the other fields undamaged. With a grass-based herd, no matter the weather or season, we must have a place for them to go and these sacrifice areas are crucial to controlling potential damage. The biggest damage in muddy conditions is hoof damage and “pocking” in the field. The grasses will come back but it will take much longer. Ideally your sacrifice pasture will move around year by year to spread the damage out. A sacrifice pasture can sometimes be ungrazeable until early summer.

As soon as the ground is frozen the cattle can’t damage the fields, so the herd gets moved to their permanent winter quarters. Winter quarters are chosen based on how accessible it is to a water source and then I will try to find a section of poor pasture. The reason for wintering the herd on bad sections is that I can help rejuvenate those areas over the winter months by feeding hay on them. The hay is great because it usually has a large amount of grass seeds inside the bales. Once it warms up again in the spring these seeds will have the affect of reseeding my pasture for me. The other benefit is that the cows will lay down a large amount of manure, which gives the soil a real boost as well. I’ve learned from experienced farmers how much easier it is to work with the seasons… and it makes our lives so much simpler here when all the pieces work together to build a better farm.

We hope you have a great holiday season!

Levi Powers