This time of year in New York, we generally have way more grass on the farm than our animals can eat. This year the quantity of grass is quite something. Too much grass is a good thing and is something we plan on having every year. We manage the extra grass in two different ways: one is to bale it up and make baleage so we can save it for winter feeding. Pictured below are some of our bales, the hay baler, and the wrapper, which wraps the bales in plastic so they ferment and are preserved.
The other way we manage the extra grass is to trample it with the cows and sheep. The trampled grass protects the ground from the sun and heat of July and August. It also provides fertilizer as it decomposes to feed the pasture in the future. In the picture below on the right is the grazed and trampled area and on the left is the ungrazed portion of the field. There is a fence separating the two.
With this much grass we usually move the herd twice a day so that we can concentrate them in a smaller paddock to maximize the grazing and trampling. Most of this grass is shoulder to eye level to me.
When the grass gets this mature, the nutritional quality is not the best. We make sure to let the cows pick through and eat the best bits, and in the process they trample down the rest.
Thanks for reading,