Turn out day!!!! Finally, the green stuff on the other side of the fence is accessible. Bob and Joan lead the cattle down a lane to the open field where they will begin the grazing season. As they go through the “gate” to the field, they may casually stroll in, charge in, or even throw in a little kick or jump. Then we just listen for the “rip/tear” of the cattle shearing off the grass to gorge themselves. We wonder whether the cattle appreciate the view of Lake Champlain, as we do.
So what is “bale grazing”? It’s a practice of feeding out bales of hay on the frozen fields where the manure and hay leftovers will be welcome soil amendments in the spring. We do this only when the ground is frozen, to avoid soil compaction. The metal ring around the bale is to prevent the cattle from using it as bedding. January 5 was the start of this winter practice for us here in South Hero.
Calling the cattle to eat the bales of hay.
Our herd eating four bales of hay on our frozen pasture.
The next day, we check up on them.
During the winter bale grazing, we feed on alternate days. But of course, we check up on the cattle daily, as well as making sure their frost-free stock tanks in the hoop barn are working properly.
This gallery contains 1 photo.
While viewing this photo, listen to Kate Eggleston’s song GO TO THE WATER (at https://kateggleston.com/music.html). Enjoy!
Bob mows the hay and Dave rakes it into windrows
Bob is mowing and John is baling
Bob loads bales onto the wagon Joan is towing
So much work, so little time! And it was hot! Photographer Rob Swanson caught almost everyone on the project. Dave Brownell raked. John Lafayette baled the hay. Joan helped Bob bring in the bales and wrap or stack them. We made both baleage (plastic-wrapped wet hay-in-a-day) and dry hay (stored in the hoop barn). A special word of thanks to Fred Bartle who shared the mowing duties with Bob and also loaned us his tractor to handle the bales.
Vincent commandeered my camera from the world beyond to create this image to his liking.
Cow and Calf Grazing