Our production techniques for raising beef have evolved to follow the thinking of Allen Williams and others to develop deep roots and high brix in our forages. We are transitioning old worn out hay fields into lush pastures, that can create good marbling for grass finishing. Winter bale grazing, interseeding of many grass/legume/forbs species, composted barn yard manure, foliar feeding, and near-daily moving of cattle are all having a great impact on the soils. Our last remaining issue for the land is the control of weeds; and for the animals the reduction in fly-spread pink eye and the associated irritation of eyes from weed seed-heads, without the use of chemicals or drugs.
This project builds a lightweight, front mounted pasture clipper for a small tractor, and includes a trailer mounted drag and roller that can be used simultaneously, or independently. Traditional batwing rotary mowers and haybines are heavy, expensive, and require a lot of power. A small tractor running on bio-diesel, or a future version run on solar charged batteries, will be a long term answer to invasives and weed control, for building deep soil structures, and growing tender beef sustainably.
Project objectives from proposal:
a) Build a front mounted mower using lightweight components to clip seed heads. Use existing heavy duty string trimmer technology, hydraulic motors and pump, belts and pulleys to allow a small tractor to effectively clip pastures and under fences. Build a pull-type trailer mounted drag with crimp roller to break up cow pies and roll seed tillers down to the ground.
b)Demonstrate daily rotation of beef cattle through permanent paddocks, showing the effects of the entire system of trampling, clipping, dragging, rolling, and rebound over a series of adjacent paddocks through field days in cooperation with local grazing groups.