Just starting to calve. The cows calve unassisted on pasture.
Sunrise on the Ranch
When this photo was taken there were several hundred monarchs in our shelter belt. It was incredibly beautiful. The tree line borders our native prairie.
Cow on Native Prairie Hill
Herd moving into a new paddock.
Thunderheads to the East
2 Month old Calf in Tall Diverse Prairie
Mexican Hat Red Coneflower
Cattle are moved every few hours. This helps get rid of less desirable plants and encourages diversity as other plants have an opportunity to grow.
Cow/Calf pairs grazing on what was previously CRP.
Calving in Sync with Nature
A little hard to see. But mama cow has placed her baby in some buck brush. Protection for the calf. The cow will go graze and come back to nurse the calf later.
Baxter and Calf
Baxter was in the middle of putting up a temporary fence for the next paddock. Happened to see a baby calf laying in the brush. He couldn’t resist stopping to say hi.
Bee on Thistle
Frog on Manure
This was taken after moving cattle to a new pasture on a dewy spring morning. Frog jumped on the fresh cow pat. Either to wait for food or feel the warmth.
North Dakota state flower. Can be found all over our ranch pastures.
Turtle laying eggs in our pasture.
We are fortunate to live in the Prairie Pot Hole region. Our ranch is home to many seasonal water holes. These are holes that fill in the spring and are usually gone by fall, these are vital habitat for nesting ducks. Our cattle graze over and around these nests with out even disturbing them.
Since changing our grazing management we have increased the amount of Sharptail Grouse on our rangeland. We are excited that we now have 3 grouse lek areas throughout our ranch.
Maximilian Sunflower with bee
Fruit from Prairie Rose
These sites are scattered through some areas of our ranch. Intensive grazing did not help in regenerating these areas due to loss of top soil from previous owners farming practices. We bale graze on these sites in the winter. Bales are set out in the fall and when and if the snow gets to deep and hard to graze through the cows are moved to these sights. By placing bales out on the land we are abuilding top soil by adding carbon, the cows are adding natural fertilizer in the form of dung and urine. The layer of hay left on the ground is great for capturing moisture and keeping the soil covered to prevent evaporation.
Cow/Calf pairs Winter Bale Grazing
Bale grazing has decreased expense as we don’t start a tractor every day to feed. It also greatly reduces stress for cattle, there is always feed available. They can graze grassy areas around the bale grazing site or just graze on bales. What they don’t eat, they lay on. So it provides food, bedding and in return they are fertilizing the land. We don’t have to haul old manure and hay out of a “lot” type area. It’s already spread on the land and is building healthy soil.
Winter Bale Grazing
Utilizing bale grazing in winter. Cattle are never “in”. There is little stress for the cattle as feed and fresh water are always available.
Plant growth on Bale Grazing site
This is a picture of the degraded farm ground now covered with carbon. Lots of new healthy plants.
Bale grazing site with Flowering plants
Bale grazing site later in the year, the plants have flowers. This is great grazing for our cattle. They will eat some, trample some and add more fertilizer. These sites provide habitat for insects, birds and other wildlife.
Cody on Bale Grazing site
With this picture we can show the amount of “litter” left covering the soil. This is not wasted. There is a lot of moisture in the hay and as it decomposes it is feeding soil biology building more healthy soil.
Bale Grazing with Herd
An abundance of forage was produced on each bale grazing site. The cattle happily ate the sunflower heads off each plant.