Monday, February 13, 2017

Home on the Range

So a few weeks ago I again found myself in Southern Oklahoma at the Noble Foundation where we have a wheat pasture demonstration test.  I reported on it on my last visit there on October 25, and described the planting on September 23 in the October 14 blog for those that want to re-live the experience.  But it's wheat pasture planted into ground that has been native pasture for more than ten years.  Agro through the drill and streamed vs single app of 200 pounds of urea broadcast.  (And wouldn't you know it that it rained the night after that application.  But the battle is on.)

They have 24 cull heifers and two bulls with a job to do.  They move them from side to side each week.  Here they are when we got there, now on the Agro side.  See the wire?
 So who is the "we"?  Well I was joined by AgroLiquid VP Nick Bancroft, Regional Sales Mgr Sean Cravens (left), Retail Partner Dennis Sweat (brown jacket), and then technician Austin (light brown) and Noble Foundation's Dr. Evan Whitley and Hugh Aljoe.  Even though it was Southern OK, it was 22 degrees that morning.  Colder than it was in Michigan.
 Originally the plan was to have two herds, one on each side and weigh them in and out.  There was one pond on the place and they dug another for the other side.  But it didn't get full enough last fall.  So it kind of turned into a not so much research as demonstration.  Here was the pond on October 25.
And here it was on January 21 when we were there.  There was quite a bit of rain early, but then it was dry for awhile, now wet again.  But it is certainly drinkable now.
Walking up to have a look at the cows. 
 Here they are on the AgroLiquid side.  Ok, I don't know much about cattle, other than the finished product.  But the researchers were impressed at how good they look especially after going through a dry period where the wheat growth was limited.  They mentioned how good they were defecating.  I didn't know that was an indicator, but makes sense I guess.  Well the Agro topdress was on December 8 and was 10 gallons of High NRG-N and 5 gallons of 32% per acre.  Now with some rain, you can see the wheat coming on good and green as the wheat shows good growth. So it should produce good wheat grazing from now on.  One other thing they mentioned was that there seemed to be more clumps of dormant perennial grass on the Agro side as they are eating the wheat and not so much the clumps.
I guess so as this is a pic looking back East towards the wire (see some orange flags on it) and maybe less clumps on the other side as they resort to eating that if wheat not as plentiful.
 Here is a pic on the conventional side and I guess the clumps are grazed down more than the earlier picture with the cows on the Agro side.
So after that we all went our separate ways.  Interesting morning.  I hope to get back again in March as they plan to sell the heifers in early April.  This bull was glad to see us go, although fortunately he kept his distance.
So this year's test mainly turned into a demonstration.  They said they are interested in keeping it going next fall with new pasture establishment, and hopefully be able to do a better comparison.  And you can certainly follow it here.