MiG on CRP, Say What?

With the drought that has engulfed much of the United States the amount of forage available for livestock has been significantly reduced.  In an effort to help offset the shortage many of the acres of ground enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) have been released for haying or grazing.

There are specific limitations on grazing CRP.  For instance, some limitations include leaving an average of 5″ of grass ungrazed and cattle can only graze until September 30.  (There are others also.)  Here on the ranch there are over 200 acres of CRP that have been released to graze, because of this we have been able to take in more custom cattle.  This has been such a blessing to us in the for of additional income, but we have also been able to bless to other cattleman.

I love how God’s timing works!  Our grazing consultant, Jim Gerrish, was here on August 11 and walked through many of the CRP acres with Scott and me.  He helped us determine that we could take in an additional 120 head of mature cattle.  Then on that following Monday we talked with the owner of the other cattle we are custom grazing and asked him if he would have more cattle to send us.

He said he did have cattle to send but not quite as many as we hoped for so he was going to talk to a friend and local cattleman to see if he could send some cattle as well.  This is where God’s timing gets really amazing, the other cattleman had actually gathered one herd and was going to round-up another herd in order to take them to the sale barn because he was out of grass and knew that he would not have enough feed to make it through the winter with them.  He was literally 2 hours away from selling these cattle when he got the call that we had grass available.

Both cattleman were able to bring the cattle up on that Friday.  They were so thankful to be able to bring their cattle to us.  We plan to keep these cattle until November because in addition to the CRP we have some non-CRP land that borders the CRP fields that we will graze on after the September 30 deadline.

With these additional cattle has come additional labor requirements.  None of the CRP is fenced so we are having to fence quickly.  Thankfully since the CRP land is bordered by the non-CRP when we are fencing the CRP we are also fencing much of the non-CRP land.  Also there is no water system of any kind of the CRP so we are having to haul all the water these cattle are drinking.  That is a LOT of water.  We invested in a new 1000 gallon water trailer that has helped however we still have to haul 2-3 loads of water per day depending on how hot it is.

We are rotating the herd through in a Management Intensive Grazing (MIG) system.  They are moved everyday or two days depending on how large the area is that they are grazing on.

You can see the difference between the paddock the cows came from and the paddock they went into.

The cows were happily grazing in their new paddock as we headed back to the house.

What a blessing the release of the CRP acreage has been for us and for other cattleman!



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