Let's talk about Silvopasture

Uncategorized Jul 27, 2021

Silvopasture in my opinion is having edible trees that we can also use as forage, as shade and to improve our environment by bringing more biodiversity.

Watch the video as we discuss the benefits of silvopasture and different examples as well as how to manage very palatable trees which can be damaged by cattle if not managed properly.

 

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How to have harmony in your ranching life!

Uncategorized Jul 20, 2021

To be happy we all need to have peace, and harmony is needed to be able to have peace.

I have visited many farms and ranches where the owner is burdened with too much work or debt. This is not fun!

On one farm, the owner was trying to raise laying hens, chickens for meat, pigs, and beef cows.

I suggested that we do a return-on-time analysis of those different enterprises and found that they spent more time on these side businesses and much less time on the beef cows that generated most of their profits as they sold their meat direct to the consumer...

When we calculated the return to their hours worked, we found that they were losing money with the laying hens and with their broilers, and earning a little with pigs, but most of their income came from the beef cows to which they allocated much less time.

We have all made this mistake, of trying to do many things without taking a break for our family or our own needs.

We must work intelligently and not make life difficult; ensuring...

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How to overseed without herbicides

total grazing Jul 13, 2021

Many times, we can profit from overseeding higher producing annuals or perennials on our pastures in different times of the year.

While tilling the soil or using herbicides may give a better stand or an earlier and higher yield compared to no till drilling without herbicides or tilling, you can still benefit from this practice by timely severe grazing and or mowing.

No till drilling Sudan grass in cool season forages to get higher forage production in the summer slump is one example.  Another could be incorporating new herbs, like Chicory or plantain, into cool season forages for better drought resistance in milder environments.

Another could be no till drilling of tall grass prairie species into cool season forages.

In all these cases we need to consider two things:

1.- The allelopathic effect of the established pasture

2.- Good seed to soil contact

For the allelopathic effect we can play with the season to make sure the established pasture species are dormant or weakened...

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How to avoid overgrazing

total grazing Jul 06, 2021

Overgrazing happens when an individual plant is re grazed before it has fully recovered from the previous grazing. It's not the same as severe grazing where if adequate rest is given, promotes leaf production and a better leaf to stem ratio that allows the plant to be more productive.

Under Total grazing we strive to harvest as high a % as possible and in practice we usually achieve 80-90% harvest efficiency. This is very high as when machine cutting for hay harvest efficiency is usually lower.

Under Selective grazing cattle harvest, by definition, a lower quantity of forage than under Total Grazing, usually 30-50%.

Let’s think about the consequences of this.

Under Selective grazing, where they harvest only 30% of available forage means that only one third of the available cow/days is harvested by the cattle.

The cow/days harvested per acre determines, in a given area, how many days pass between grazing and the herd returning, which is the rest period.

Harvesting 90% of...

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How to graze warm season forages for maximum productivity AND health!

total grazing Jun 29, 2021

Today we will talk about C4 or warm season grasses.

Like: Bermuda grass, Bahia grass, Vasey grass, Guinea grass, Kikuyu, Pangola, etc.

C4 grasses, in general, are lower in protein and energy than cool season or C3 forages, plus they are higher in fiber.

To get better animal performance in your animals; daily gain or milk production you need to graze these species in a younger stage as when they mature their protein and energy diminish while their fiber increases.

The advantage these C4 grasses have over C3 forages is their much higher production per year and their higher water conversion rate into tons of forage dry matter per acre, besides being the perfect complement to C3 forages when they are together in the same pasture.

As will be seen in the Total grazing online course, the best way to manage them is with Total grazing, but at a younger stage.

It is important that the grazing be Total so a shift to undesirable species does not occur, under selective grazing your animals will...

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How to graze cool season forages for maximum productivity AND health!

total grazing Jun 22, 2021

Today I am going to talk about C3 or cool season forages.

Conventional nutritionists, in general, balance rations on net maintenance energy, net gain energy and net lactation energy, this does not help much when we need to make the best decision to determine the stage of maturity of our forage to graze it, and most importantly how to graze it, as selective grazing can cause health problems. For example, they tell us that a young C3 grass is higher in energy and protein with low fiber content which leads to higher daily intake, but they cut machine cut it and use it on a total mixed ration in a corral! If we take these recommendations and graze our cool season or C3 forages: alfalfa, ryegrass, clovers, orchard grass when very young we will have health problems in our livestock: bloat, diarrhea, nitrates, caused by excess protein in relation to available energy and a very low fiber content. This can also happen in very young C4 grasses.

We need to know that a protein excess in the...

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What determines our stocking rate?

 We know that the main determinant of profitability for a ranch is the number of productive animals we can carry at a low cost per year.

And we know that the main constraint to a very high stocking rate is the Winter or dry season. The number of animals we can maintain in good body condition at a low cost in the Winter or dry season determines our stocking rate. Normally, in our green season we have forage excess!

By doing Total Grazing with adapted genetics, we can, and should have our cow's fat in the green season and in good condition in the Winter/dry season. The way to achieve this is to only graze the section or paddocks that our cows can keep up with in the green growing season and stockpiling the rest. Then we keep grazing the green season area until growth stops, and we finish off this area. Then we go to the stockpiled area and do Total grazing there!

By adapted genetics I mean cattle that have the resistance and adaptation to:

  • High heat index
  • Parasites and disease
  • ...
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Why Real Wealth Ranching?

Uncategorized Jun 08, 2021

When I started ranching, I learned right away that following conventional advice was not profitable and degraded the land. I had to find a better way or my dream of supporting my young family with what I loved the most would not be successful. After many years of learning and trial I started to see the light and now I have a profitable ranch that is improving in its production.


I soon realized it wasn’t enough to be successful in my ranch while the world around me is being degraded. We are, after all, in our own one and only planet. This is my main motivation to share this with you.

Why Real Wealth Ranching?
Defining what real wealth is requires us to consider 3 things necessary to enjoy life:
1.- Money, to buy and pay for things we need or want to have
2.- Time, to be able to enjoy the things that money can buy
3.- Health, to enjoy life and family and the things money bought

Without any of these 3 things, life can be difficult.


In ranching/farming- we need to achieve...

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What I wished I had done differently 30 years ago

Uncategorized Jun 01, 2021

Someone asked me the other day, what I wished I had done differently 30 years ago.

And it was so easy to answer!

As they say, experience comes from past poor decisions and good decisions come from experience. That means that we learn from our mistakes.

So learn from my mistakes but most importantly, learn from my successes because since then I've had many successes in improving soil, wildlife, plants biodiversity and the health of my cattle. 

One of the first things that I got right and implemented pretty quickly was an optimal calving season. This was key to increase my stocking rate and have a low maintenance calving season.

I prepared a free PDF with the 5 most important tips on achieving an optimal calving season and managing it. You can download it here.

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How to have healthy calves

Uncategorized May 25, 2021

Coronavirus/Rotavirus affects newborn calves and usually kills them or sets them back severely, it is usually identified by white scours and the calf appears listless, weak, thin, and does not respond to antibiotics, eventually the hair starts to drop off and feels like cardboard. It is frustrating to the cow as her calf stops taking milk and withers away.

When I first implemented an optimal calving season in the subtropics of Florida, we started having very young calves with scours, sometimes grey and sometimes white. At first, I could not identify the agent causing this but knew that it did not respond to antibiotics. Thanks to a good veterinarian that had experience with dairy cattle and after taking many samples to the laboratory he was able to identify the agent causing these deaths and it was coronavirus/rotavirus.  We proceeded to vaccinate with killed virus vaccine the pregnant cows before next calving season and the problem were solved. More and more this is becoming...

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