Tag Archives: rotational grazing

When the Neighbors Stop to Watch

As most readers probably know by now, we rotationally graze our cattle and goats.  That means we move our animals every day to a new area in the paddock using the electric fencing.  Around here, intensive rotational grazing is a new idea.  Most of the other livestock producers here, if they rotate their animals at all, will rotate them between 2-3 pastures every few weeks or months.  So seeing me moving cattle and goats every day has attracted a little bit of a following.

Some of the neighbors have taken to parking their trucks across the highway from our field and watching what I’m doing each afternoon while I’m moving the animals.  Sometimes there’s nobody there but other times there are as many as three pickups parked across the road.  Just watching.  If I was an attractive young lady I might find it creepy.

After the cattle and goats have left a paddock, I’ll run over it with the mower or weed whacker to knock down any of the plants that were too mature or otherwise unpalatable for the animals to eat.  Yesterday, as I was mowing the previous paddock down, one of the pickup-parking pentagenarians pulled off the road on our side of the highway, flagged me down, and we had the following conversation.  This is as close to verbatim as I can get.

Pentagenarian:  “What in the world are ya doin’ mowin’ yore pasture in December?  That grass ain’t gonna grow no more.”

Me:  “Yes sir, I know that.  I’m knocking down the grass the cattle didn’t eat so that it won’t go to seed and so that the cuttings add organic matter to the soil.”

Pentagenarian:  “Organic?  Are you one of them organic farmers?”

Me:  “No, we’re not certified organic.  I’m just talking about putting stuff down on the soil to decompose and help add fertilizer and nutrients to the soil.”

Pentagenarian:  “That’s what they make fertilizer for, son.”

Me:  “That’s one way to do it.  I like using the grass cuttings and the manure because it’s natural and I don’t have to buy it, store it, or spread it.  This way lets me buy left stuff.”

Pentagenarian:  “Well, I don’t know ’bout that.  You bought that there electric wire and rigged it up inside yore reg’lar fence.”

Me:  “That’s to move the cattle with.  Keeps ’em in one place in the field.”

Pentagenarian:  “It’s a lot less work if you just turn the cattle loose in there and let ’em graze.  I see you haulin’ that fence around ev’ry day, pushin’ their shelter around ev’ry day, haulin’ ’em water ev’ry day.  You should just put in a water line to a tank and put a feeder next to it and let them eat that.  Lots less work.”

Me:  “I know, but this way is better for the pasture as a whole.  If I left them to roam the whole field, then they’d eat their favorite plants every time they regrew a little bit, and sooner or later all that would be left in the field is the plants they don’t like.  This way the cattle are forced to eat or trample almost everything and then the plants have time to regrow before the cattle come back to that spot.”

Pentagenarian:  “Hmmm….”

Me:  “This way really thickens up the grass and soil.”

Pentagenarian:  “What’s soil got to do with raisin’ cattle?  I still think you should let ’em out of that little fence and give ’em a grain feeder.  Save you a lot of work.”

Me:  “That would save a lot of work, but we don’t feed grain at all so that’s not an option for us.”

Long, uncomfortable pause.

Pentagenarian:  “Son, yore a little different aren’t ya?”

Me:  “I guess so.”

Pentagenarian:  “I’d say so.  Well, I’d better get back to work.  Oh hey – why is yore mower so quiet?”

Me:  “It’s electric.”

Pentagenarian:  “Sigh.  You take care now.”

Now, for those of you reading this blog from a city, I may need to explain country vernacular to you.  The word “different,” for instance.  Out here, “different” is country polite for “crazy,” “touched,” “backward,” and “strange.”  It’s not good to be considered different.  For instance, all of our neighbors refer to the former owners of our property as “different.”  He was an arms dealer and sold semi-automatic weaponry from the property.  I’ve found RPG tails in the woods and he had a Gatlin gun mounted in the window of his shop when we toured the property.  That is different.  I move cows every day.  That is different, too.  I’m still working out whether or not there are varying degrees of differentness.  I hope so.

I knew we were going to farm differently.  I knew people would think we were strange for the way we were doing things.

I did not expect to have an audience while moving cattle 100 feet.

Eventually, I hope that some of these guys will notice the positive impact on our land and our animals that the rotational grazing is having.

In the meantime, anybody wanna sell tickets?

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“Holy Cow!” -Harry Caray

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Well, our cows aren’t holy.  They were just a little skinny when we got them.

I’ve done a lot of research and thinking about cows over the past year.  I’ve read a lot of books about grass fed beef production, cattle breeds, and rotational grazing practices.  I’ve visited websites good and bad and farms large and small to check out different breeds and practices.

As listed in a post from before we even bought the farm (click here to read the whole thing) the breeds I have been researching and thinking about all along were: Belted Galloways, Red Polls, Pineywoods, Longhorns, Highlands, Murray Greys, Charolais, and Brahman.  I also considered Angus, but Angus have become so popular that they are like Dalmations after a Disney movie – you can’t find good ones because lots of people are just breeding black cows together and calling them Angus.

I finally decided that Red Polls would be the best breed for us.

The Red Poll is a dual purpose breed from England that once enjoyed a prominent role in the dairy industry because of the large amount of quality milk they could produce. Prior to the advent of the modern Holstein, the Red Poll held many all-breed records for milk production. Since the introduction of the Holstein, the Red Poll has almost gone extinct – especially in North America. The few remaining proponents of the breed started to improve the Red Poll’s already strong meat characteristics in an effort to save the breed. They have been successful at creating an ideal grass-fed beef animal, but the breed still teeters towards extinction. Red Polls are listed as Threatened by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy with fewer than 1,000 head in the US and less than 5,000 head worldwide.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with any breed of livestock – you just have to find the breed that you think will perform best under your management in your environment.  The Red Polls had a combination of traits that matched up well with our desire to produce beef on grass and hay only without feed, antibiotics, hormones, and other props and crutches. The Red Poll breed are very fertile – which is the most important trait of all because without a new calf to work with every year all of the other traits become moot. They are easy calving because their calves are small at birth. The calves grow very quickly and in several studies I read Red Polls led all breeds in 205-day calf weight per cow bred. The cows are able to do this because their breed history in the dairy industry means that they can produce large quantities of milk. The breed is known for being docile, which is an important characteristic for us since we move our cattle every day. We want protective mothers, but not aggressive cattle. We get that with the Red Poll breed. The breed is also moderate in size (cows around 1200 lbs and bulls around 1800 lbs), giving them the ability to fatten and marble on grass alone. They are one of only a handful of breeds that can finish to Choice on grass. Red Polls are reknowned for the tenderness and quality of the beef they produce.

Having decided that Red Polls were the breed for us, we now had to find a breeder around us for this threatened breed of cattle.  There are 3 or 4 Red Poll breeders in Kentucky, but our golden opportunity came when I discovered that the National Red Poll Sale was happening in early September in Danville (only 45 minutes from us).  So I downloaded the sales catalog and studied all of the lots for sale.  This meant I had to learn a whole new code for cattlemen.  BWs, EPDs, YWs, WWs, MWs, MM – all with numbers to go along with them.  I also looked at the sale prices of all of the lots from the previous national sales and examined the average sales price for bulls, heifers, bred cows, cow-calf pairs, etc.  After a few days of research, examination, and thought, I picked out about 6 lots that I thought we should be interested in.

All of the lots I picked out were young bred cows (under 5 years old) with heifer calves at their sides.  That means for each “lot” we buy we are getting a mature cow, a young heifer who can breed in a year, and an unborn cow of an unknown gender.  Basically 3 cows in 1 lot.  From looking at the sales figures from the previous couple of years, I thought that if we could get a bred cow-calf pair for $1700 or less, then we should go for it.

So I took $3500 out of the bank, borrowed a livestock trailer from our neighbors the Beachys, and Lindsey and I hit the road for Danville.

Since Lindsey is a much better writer than I am, what follows is her account of a first-time visit to a cattle auction:

Before I retell the glory of the cattle auction let me first announce that it was at the cattle auction where some foreign particle lodged itself in my eye resulting in a unique condition called pingueculitis. Several weeks and a round of steroids later, my eyes are fine. I don’t blame the cows.

For those of you who have never been to a cattle auction, imagine sitting in a primitive movie theater made of concrete and wood. In the front where the screen should be instead is a stage covered in hay. On either side of the stage are gates, and behind and above the stage, like a judges bench, stands the place where the auctioneer sits. Because cattle auctions are glamorous there is a teenaged crown princess of the particular breed of bovine you are shopping for, in this case Red Polls, who circulates through the crowd in jeans, ropers, and a tiara. Everyone else is pretty casual. You know it is time to begin when the auctioneer gets up on his post and starts introducing people. In order to bid you need a number which a nice lady gives you if you ask her. Once the auction starts everything goes by in a blur. Like an episode of “King of the Hill” it is very hard to understand the important people. The auctioneer sounds like Boomhauer and makes humorous cow related jokes at lightning speed. To bid you nod at, yelp at, or wave your number at a man standing in front of the stage near the section where you are sitting. He yelps real loud and that counts as your bid. If someone else yelps loud then you have to bid again, if no one else yelps then you won. Geoff did an expert job of jumping in and nodding appropriately. We walked away with the exact cow/calf pairs that we wanted. I will have to go to two or three more auctions before I feel comfortable throwing my yelp into the ring. Cattle auctions are definitely a feast for the senses.

Okay, Geoff’s back.

We ended up getting the two bred cow-calf pairs that were #1 and #2 on my wish list for $1500 and $1550.  The first cow is a 3-year-old and the second cow is a 2-year-old, so both have many productive years ahead of them.  Yes, expensive but well below the threshold I had established before bidding started.  A pretty good deal, too, judging from current cattle prices and previous sales figures from this very sale.  One bit of advice though – go into an auction with a set limit in mind.  It is designed to feed on people’s competitive nature and some people were going all “Storage Wars” in there and ended up paying far more than they wanted to.

Coincidentally, we were sitting behind the rancher and his wife who owned the cattle pairs that we bought.  Simpson M.  Calhoun from Ohio.  He is a super nice man and seems to have very good Red Polls.  Highly recommend him if anyone in the Ohio area is looking for Red Polls.

After the auction we loaded up our 4 new charges into the livestock trailer and drove them back home.  We backed the trailer up to the portable electric fencing defining the current goat paddock, moved the fence slightly, and opened the trailer gate for the cattle to exit.  After a moment’s hesitation and disorientation, all four cows began grazing the lush grass.  The goats appeared to be more stressed than the cattle.  If a goat could exclaim, then ours all did when they saw the size of their new paddock-mates.

Since they are registered, our cattle do have fancy schmancy registered names like SMC B Vella’s 130 and WW670 Babe’s 904.  That’s too much of a mouthful for Lindsey and I, so we tried to think of another way to name them.  I suggested that we could name them after Kentucky counties.  That strategy would keep us in names for a long time.  So we named the 3-year-old cow Laurel and her calf Larue.  The 2-year-old cow is Marion and her calf is Magoffin.  They are damned glad to meet you.

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Building a Hay Rack

Fancy, Ebony, and Ivory are thrilled with their new hayrack.

Well, I’m still on “light duty” from my appendectomy.  I’m not supposed to do anything real strenuous yet and since all the things I had planned for this winter were “heavy duty” moving or building I decided to make providing for our goats a little easier on us and a lot less wasteful of hay.  Winter feeding of hay is the number one operating expense in most livestock operations, so we want to minimize the amount of hay we have to feed and utilize the hay we feed as efficiently as possible through good management and decision making.

In the future we hope to be able to graze our ruminants year round without supplemental hay except in the worst years but we have to get our pastures into much better shape before that can happen.  So this year we will have to feed hay to supplement the browsing and grazing of the goats.  I thought we were going to be able to make it until January before we had to feed any hay, but we’ve had such a cold snap here lately that the grass is fading fast.  The temps here have been in the teens this week – no higher than 28°F on any day – and have been in the single digits at night.  So basically we had to start feeding some hay.

Since we’re new at all this we started by placing a hay bale on top of a dog house thinking that LGD Maggie Mae could get some shelter and the hay would stay up off the ground.  That strategy worked for somewhere between three and five minutes.  After that time, the goats had knocked over the doghouse, spread the hay all over the ground, and they and Maggie had made little nests in the hay in which to sleep.  Seeing all of the goats and Maggie sleeping in their nests was very cut, but hay is expensive, and that was going to waste a lot of it.

From the couple of days I spent carrying hay out to the goats I could tell doing that every morning was going to get really old really quickly, so I started thinking about making a portable hay rack.  Lots of companies make hay racks, but I was unable to find one that was designed to be moved around pastures with the animals.  Most people either bring large round bales to central feeding points for non-rotationally-grazed animals or they bring their animals into a hayshed in the winter and feed them there.  We’ll probably opt for the latter strategy eventually, but we need to build a hayshed and small stockyard first.  That way we can store the manure in one place through the winter when the pastures can’t absorb the fertilizer and spread it in the spring when it can be utilized.  But for now we have no hayshed and no stockyard, so we needed another solution.

As I said, I couldn’t find any portable hay racks to model one after, so I tried to think of the solution that would be easiest for us.

I decided that attaching a hay rack to the goats’ portable shelter would be the easiest thing for us to do since doing it that way would create no extra work in moving it.  We already move the shelter with the goats anyway – a task that has gotten much easier thanks to my dad, who put wheels on the goat shelter while I was in the hospital.  Now that thing pulls so easily!  That used to be the worst part of moving the goats, but no more!

Anyway, I attached a remnant 4′ x 4′ piece of plywood to one side of the shelter and then angled two old garden trellises that I found into the bottom of the plywood and through the bottom frame of the goat shelter.  Then I attached a wire to the top frame of the goat shelter, wove it through the trellis for added support, and attached the wire to the top frame of the shelter on the other side of the plywood.  See the video below for a visual.

As you can see, this is a perfectly functional poor-man’s hay rack that moves right along with the goat shelter from paddock to paddock.  I used stuff we had lying around, but if you want to copy this it would only cost you about $22.  A full piece of plywood runs about $8 at Lowe’s and I saw similar trellises at Wal-Mart for $6.97 each.  You’d even have a half sheet of plywood left over at that price.

Hopefully the goats will be kind to it and not break it to pieces, but I think the worst they could do it bend the wire on the trellises.  That shouldn’t be too hard to fix if it becomes necessary.

After 24 hours, the hayrack has seemed very successful at keeping the hay off of the ground and at giving the goats access to the hay.

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Sunday on the Ranch

The garden has exploded with yellow late-summer flowers.

One of the best things about working outside on the ranch every day is getting to see things change.  New plants, birds, and fish show up all the time.  For instance, the flower garden has exploded with coreopsis.  Yellow everywhere!  This garden has progressed from lilies to hollyhocks to coreopsis in the 2.5 months since we’ve been here.  I’m looking forward to seeing the fall colors change on the trees in another few weeks and the reemergence of flowers and leaves in the spring.  Fall is coming – 45 degrees here last night.

Despite the falling temps, we decided to go ahead and put the 2-week-old chicks out in their chicken scooters yesterday.  It’s been in the low 90’s here for the last few weeks, but yesterday was a beautiful 75-degree day and we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get the birds out on grass.  Lindsey and I loaded up each scooter with 25 chicks and watched the Buff Orpingtons run around exploring their new environment.  Then we watched the Cornish X chicks lay down next to the feeder as soon as we put them in the scooter, showing little interest in the grass or bugs all around them.  They definitely hung out in the shade underneath the tarp section of their scooter all day.  Their strategy of laying down with their head in the feeder definitely produces a heavier bird, however.  We weighed a couple of birds as we put them into the tractor – Buff Orpington chick 7 ounces, Cornish X chick 17 ounces after 2 weeks.  Damn!

The little Buff Orpington chicks explore their new digs inside the scooter.

The Buff Orps are always moving!

The Cornish X chicks prefer to sit in the shade as close to the feeder as possible rather than explore their surroundings.

The goats have names now.  As I mentioned before these are the first does in our as-of-now-rather-small breeding herd, so they are safe to name because we won’t be eating these.  We rather unimaginatively named the red doe Roja.  Maybe we miss speaking the little bit of Spanish we used to in San Antonio.  My brother Scott suggested Nadine for the little white doeling after Nadine Gordimer (the South African Nobel laureate author) since Boer goats were originally developed in South Africa.  Nadine also wrote about social justice, which is one of the reasons we’re doing this whole endeavor in the first place.

The goats are getting more used to us.  Roja is very inquisitive.  She always comes over to investigate whatever we’re doing when we’re in the paddock with them.  She stops short of allowing us to touch her yet, but she’s getting there.  Nadine, being smaller, is much more cautious.  She is beginning to approach us, but always keeps Roja’s body between her and us.  She is also much quicker to run away if we moved suddenly or do something really scary like stand up.  They both spend a lot of time grazing and browsing, which is ultimately how we want them to get all of their nutrients.  They had access to both grass and pelleted feed at Triple Holler, so right now I’m offering them pellets every other day in an effort to wean them onto grass and browse only without forcing them to go cold turkey.  They seem to be adjusting well, but they really like the pellets.

The goats are very inquisitive and are coming closer and closer every day. Soon we'll be able to play and romp!

They have also discovered the mineral block (like goat vitamins) in their area and seem to like it.  Roja especially goes to town on it.  Nadine nibbles it a little every now and then.  They have also figured out how much fun it is to climb on top of the dog crates I haven’t taken out of the yard yet.

Roja has discovered the mineral block.

Roja likes to take in the view from the top of the dog crate.

Roja munches on the grass in the backyard "paddock."

I also knocked together a very rudimentary shelter for the goats – just something to allow them to get out of the sun or rain if they wanted to.  I used old 2x6s vertically on the bottom for skids and cross-braced them with other scrap wood.  Then I drilled holes in the 2x6s and put short sections of rebar sticking up from the holes.  I then bent PVC pipes from one side to the other to form a hoop structure.  Then zip ties connect the tarp to the PVC frame.  Voìla!  Lightweight portable goat shelter!

The new portable goat shelter we whipped up with skids, rebar, PVC, and a tarp. Nothing new was bought except the tarp.

Other animals are finally proving useful as well.  The turkeys have learned that there are bugs in the gardens and now patrol the 2 raised beds and the tomato patch every few hours looking for tasty morsels.  While they’re up around the house they also like to perch on the trailer, the pickup’s tailgate, and the swing on the porch.  It’s pretty funny.  I’ll try to post a picture of them on the swing if I can catch them doing it.

The turkeys have finally discovered that there are usually bugs and slugs in the garden. If only they'd found 'em before the squash bug epidemic!

This week our neighbor David and I (25% him and 75% me by time, 75% him and 25% me by amount of grass cut) got the front pasture mowed.  David has the large advantage of tractor ownership.  I have the disadvantage of walk-behind bush hog ownership.  Hence the time/productivity disparity.  Oh well.  At least I don’t have to fill out an embarrassing TPS report about it.  The grass started out 3 feet high all over the place and over my head in others.  It’s now a pretty uniform 3 inches and round bales of hay dot the pasture.

The tall grass in the front pasture before David and I cut it. The grass was 3 feet high everywhere and 6 feet high in places.

The pasture looks much better now! David also ended up with 45-50 bales of hay for his dairy as well.

After cutting, David baled the hay in the front field.

The huge plus of this cutting is that the front of the property now looks as if someone lives here!  Additionally, the grass is now free of competition from taller woody weeds and should be able to put on a burst of growth here in the fall growing season.  The bad news is that now I can see how little humus and organic matter we have in the soil.  The soil is just bare between the crowns of grass plants.  We’ve got a lot of soil building to do here!  Prescription:  rotational grazing with ruminant animals.  Before we can do that, I’ve gotta put in a fence.  Anyone want to come help?  🙂

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Livestocking Plans – Cattle

Cattle

Now we move on to the most visible animals on the farm, the cattle!

Cattle will be the largest, most obvious feature of our pastoral landscape and will do the majority of the grazing.  They, along with the sheep and large black pigs, will harvest most of the solar energy harnessed by the grasses and legumes in the pastures and turn it into healthy, profitable, sustainable meat.  While doing that they will trample undesirable forages, press new seeds into the soil, and deposit copious amounts of natural fertilizer from their back ends.

We will be practicing intensive rotational grazing; moving our mob of cattle every day to access new forages, to move away from yesterday’s wastes, and to give the grasses a chance to recover so that we don’t deplete our pastures of the most palatable species over time.  Therefore, we are really looking for cattle that are easy to work with, gain well on grass, produce high-quality beef, will do well in Kentucky (where it can be hot and humid in the summer but cold in the winter), and have good maternal instincts combined with calving ease.

With those qualities in mind, here are the cattle breeds we are considering, in on particular order.

Belted Galloway – The “oreo” cow of Scottish descent.  Even their hides can become very valuable assets after processing.  The Belties tolerate cold very well and grow thick coats during the winter.  They handle heat better than most cold-adapted cattle as well.  They are listed as Recovering by the American Livestock Breed Conservancy.   They have good maternal instincts and their long body conformation helps maximize the high-quality cuts of beef.

Red Poll – The always hornless Red Poll is a good pasture-based breed that can produce excellent quality beef on grass alone, which is definitely what we’re looking for.  The ALBC lists the Red Poll as Threatened.  They are very docile, so they’re great for intensive rotational grazing.  The calves have low birth weights, but in one study Red Polls led the tested breeds in average 200-day weight of the calf for each bred cow.  This means that they’re really fertile, hardy, and grow quickly.

Florida Cracker / Pineywoods – I list these breeds together because of their extremely similar characteristics, not because we would hybridize the two breeds.  Both of these breeds are criollo cattle descended from the first cattle the Spanish brought to the New World.  They’ve been left to adapt to the natural conditions here on this continent for almost 500 years.  Both the Florida Cracker and the Pineywoods are heat-adapted cattle with good parasite and disease resistance.  They are almost always horned and come in very cool color patterns.  The beef is lean with a much different fat and CLA structure than most other beef.  Both breeds are smallish and retain some of their wilder nature, or what you might call “attitude.”

Texas Longhorn – As much as any Razorbacks fan would hate to do this, Texas Longhorns have to be in the mix for consideration for us.  Like the Florida Cracker and Pineywoods breeds, the Longhorn was developed from the cattle brought over by the Spanish and left to their own devices to survive on the American range.  What’s developed is a breed that is heat-adapted, parasite- and disease-resistant, and is quite at ease calving on their own on the pasture.  The meat is lean with a good Omega-3 to Omega-6 ratio.  The Longhorn can finish well on grass and has good maternal skills.  The Longhorn gets larger than the other criollo cattle.

Murray Grey – For those of you who are also familiar with Tim and Liz Young of Nature’s Harmony, this is the cattle breed they chose to go with.  It is a good choice for a pasture system.  This Aussie breed can thrive on grass alone and has a very high dressing percentage.  They are easy to handle and work around.  Strong maternal instincts are another hallmark of the Murray Grey.  Firetree Production Stock, located very close to us in Kentucky, was instrumental in bringing some of the first groups of these cattle over from Australia and there are some established herds of Murray Greys already around us.

Brahman – The Hindu sacred cow from India complete with shoulder hump, dewlap, and loose skin folds.  This is a heat-tolerant breed that can also resist the cold down to 10 or 15 degrees.  It is a medium-sized breed that gives birth to small calves and are quite capable of handling calving themselves.  They are good mothers and can thrive under adverse conditions and poor forage.  The demeanor can vary like all other breeds, but Brahmans can become so tame as to be hazardous to traffic in India or so wild as to become rodeo bulls in the States.  They quickly learn how they are expected to behave.

Charolais – A large breed of cattle developed in France.  This is the largest breed we are considering, with females weighing up to 2000 lbs and bulls up to 2800 lbs.    They are very muscular and produce a lot of beef per cow unit.  They are cold-tolerant and graze aggressively even in hot weather.  They are reputed to have above-average quality beef.  I have not seen any reports of the ease of handling of this breed.

Highland – Arguably one of the most recognizable breeds of cattle in the world, the Highland comes dressed to impress with its long shaggy coat of (usually) red hair.  They are a medium-sized breed of cattle that is listed as Recovering by the ALBC.  The breed is renowned for the quality of its beef and comprise the herd of the British royal family.  They can thrive on forage that other cattle pass up and are known as light grazers, or the ultimate “green” cow.  Obviously this is a cold-adapted breed of cattle, but successful herds are established as far south as Texas and Georgia so heat must not bother them too much.  They are disease-tolerant and parasite-resistant.  Along with having a good, even temperament, this is another breed of cattle where calving is not a problem.

So what are we going to go with?  Unlike some of the less expensive animals, some of our choice here will be dictated by cost of acquiring and transporting the cattle.  We may have to see what’s available to us within a short drive of our ranch.

However without money being an issue, I would lean towards giving the Highland, Murray Grey, or Red Poll a try.  Lindsey may hold out for the Belted Galloway though, and I know better than to argue!  This is the one group of animals I’m a little intimidated to “experiment” with due to the prohibitive cost of acquiring the animals, so I’m going to look around hard once we get there and utilize all the powers of the friendly neighbors and friendly neighborhood extension service to try and get a breed that will perform like we want it to from the start, and then breed and cull until we get a group of cattle that are adapted extremely well to our little corner of Kentucky.

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