Farm06 Vol 4 Iss 3

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farm406 24 The walk-in freezer where cuts of meat are stored until they are sold. simple, universally applicable questions, such as, What is your soil's condition? Does your soil have a nutrient balance? and What can you do to help your soil? e outcome will tell you the different plants to include in a cover crop to improve a particular field's soil. Even aer seven years and the end of the three-year DNRC project, Dusenberry is sold on raising cover crops and continues to experiment with different plants for soil health. Adding "Mob Grazing" to the Soil Stewardship Model Because cale also have a role in improving the soil, in 2015 Dusenberry went to "mob grazing" which means that a high number of livestock graze in a small area for a short duration. Plants with tall stalks, such as oats and triticale, are flaened by grazing cale and trampled into the soil where they break down and add carbon and organic material to the soil. Livestock manure, urine, and saliva also mix in to soil health. Dusenberry has tried several combinations, and over the years the length of grazing of a paddock has depended on the forage stand. If it is lush, he might allow the cale to be on the paddock longer. e rule of thumb is that he moves the cale every 12 to 36 hours and the pigs every 12-14 days. In the winter he might leave them in a paddock longer because the ground is frozen. If poor performing ground calls for additional nutrients, he will feed the cale hay. Dusenberry determines when it is time to move the livestock to the next paddock by using the adage "feed half and leave half." e minimum amount of time that a paddock is le to rest, to be irrigated, and to grow again is 30 days but more oen longer. At times he will move cale twice a day using portable electric fence as boundaries and his four-wheeler to guide the cale in the right direction. ey know the drill, and easily move through to the next paddock. Rarely does he have a mono crop although he will raise and harvest a field of multi-plants, such as a combination of peas, lentils, oats, barley, and triticale, that serve as pig feed. "Once I harvest the pig feed crop that's on the field right now, I'm thinking of drilling a cover crop right into the stubble this fall, but instead of harvesting, I will use it for winter grazing," said Dusenberry. Presently he is grazing two sets of cale: one set contains 76 cows and this year's calves, and the other set includes the 40 yearlings he will sell in local markets. He has two paddocks of pigs, one for the sows and one for the "finishing" pigs. Dusenberry has chosen to have new calves birthed in May, which is closer to nature's time for the arrival of offspring. With this ideal grazing method and late delivery date, Dusenberry rarely has a cow with birthing troubles. All he has to do is tag the new calf and allow it to thrive along with its healthy mother.

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