It's been a warmer winter here in Central Maine than is typical. We've had our fair share of snow and some chilly days/nights but proportionally low based on winters past. Our cattle are not complaining. Our herd is smaller this winter compared to last and with the warmer temps we've been able to feed less hay and silage. They still have free choice available but we have noticed less consumption this winter vs. prior ones. It took longer this year for the ground to freeze up so we were grateful to have the high use area (talked about in our fall update) available for late fall/early winter feeding. It assured dry footing for the herd and much less pasture damage. We have been feeding in what we call 'paddock 2' this winter, in areas we identified during the growing season as low production and undesirable species areas. Undesirable species means cattle will refuse to graze the forage species in these areas or that the regrowth is so poor that nutritive value is neglible. By feeding in these 'undesirable areas' , we are allowing for more manure and waste feed distirubution. We will harrow and overseed heavily these areas during the growing season and sure as I'm sitting here typing this, these areas will flourish. We want to grow the herd and need to grow more good pasture to do it.
We are pleased to announce the ranch was awarded a FACT (Food Animal Concerns Trust) grant this February! We were awarded funds to put toward a three sided mobile structure for our cattle to bed down and seek shelter in during inclement weather. This will improve animal welfare in our operation as we continue to work toward AWA certfictation.