[ Music ] [ Background Music ]>>My wife and I both grew up on
traditional small beef cattle farms, where you basically graze the cattle all
summer, and then feed hay all winter. All of that hay we made ourselves. When we started our operation here
at Roxboro, we could either be in the cow business or the equipment business. So we chose to buy cows. [ Cows mooing ] [ Music ]>>In this country, most of our beef cattle
producers have 25 or 30 head of cattle, or less, and not many of them — in fact almost none
of them can control their income from cattle. But they can do a lot to control their expenses. And anything they can do to affect that
cost of feed will have a significant impact.>>I was actually feeding
hay by the first of November. I was running out of grass totally by the
middle of December, or the 1st of January. My name’s Brad Storie, I live in
Hamptonville, North Carolina, and I’m primarily a beef cattle hay producer. When I came out to feed hay, I would bring
two or three rolls of hay out with a tractor. In the year before, I really
don’t know how many rolls I fed, but somewhere in the neighborhood
probably of 100, 125 rolls.>>It’s just very, very difficult
in our region to make quality hay. It’s just — it’s very hard to
do both from a harvest, you know, a bailing standpoint, all
the way to proper storage. We just have so much humidity
and heat, and inopportune rain, or intermittent rain, or lack of rain.>>Hay is getting more and more expensive,
especially with fuel prices, the decline, and everything else, not to mention
the wear and tear on your equipment. I had to look for other options
because of the economic factor. [ Music ] [ Background Music ]>>Feed cost on a beef cattle farm is usually
controlled through the management of pasture. Okay, we can’t grow grass in the middle of the
winter when the temperature is below 40 degrees or so, but we can accumulate
growth previous to that season. Accumulated in the field,
sometimes it’s called stockpiling. [ Typing ] [ Background Music ] When the grazing season on the rest of
the farm is completed, we can move animals into that stockpile or accumulated growth,
and ration it out in a reasonable way to extend the season that animals are
actually given their feed from the pasture.>>I try to stockpile for the
wintertime so I don’t have to feed hay. I usually try to get the cattle off
of that land by the end of August, and usually start rotational grazing — strip
grazing that in November, and right on through until February, and then move
them back to the other pastures that I didn’t have stockpiled once they
start growing and producing in the spring. [ Cows mooing, Typing ] [ Background Music ] Well I’ve lived on a farm my whole life. My parents had a farm in New Jersey, my
mom has been in farming her whole life. I just enjoy it, and like being
outside, working on the farm. Right now I’m running about 85 head,
it’s about 40 cows, and about 45 calves. I’m looking to actually get — try
about 100 head on this grazing program. Stockpiling forages and strip grazing livestock
in the winter is not really a new idea, but it’s getting a lot of renewed interest
because of increased energy prices, a lot of people are taking a
new interest in the practice. Probably the bottom line is they all want
to make their operation a little bit better, and they all want to make money
and save on their energy costs.>>Here’s a section of a pasture that we’re
going to utilize for stockpiling this winter. For the most part, this is the type of pasture
we like, quite a bit of mixture of warm season and cool season grasses, and
it should stockpile very well. When you’re planning a stockpiling program,
or looking at a stockpiling program, you need to think a little
bit about your cattle. What are their nutrient requirements
going to be through the wintertime? Do you have the type of forage that stockpiles
very well, that will give you ample fall growth, and that will weather very well
through the wet, possibly cold, icy, snowy winters that we may
have here in this area.>>It’s now August right now, and I’ve set
aside about 60 acres of land that I’m not going to have the cattle on until November, trying
to look for around maybe 3,000 pounds of grass to 5,000 pounds of grass per acre. I hope that I’ll go through the first
of March, just like I did last year, and possibly even have more residual grass left. And I want to try to leave at least, you know, a good 2 inches to help the
grass grow back quicker. [ Walking ]>>Usually in our system it’s sometime
around late November, early December. We’ll just start at the water source with the
cattle, and then we’ll start strip grazing. [ Music ] [ Cow mooing ] [ Walking ]>>We started the strip grazing — the
rotational grazing in the far paddock, and I move the fence every day,
equivalent of about 30 feet, and not — and then the whole distance across the paddock. And they had fresh green grass, and
the cows got so accustomed to it, that they would be standing lined up,
waiting for me to move the fence each day. When I walk to that gate, they
know exactly what’s coming. They’re going to get lush
green grass, and they love it.>>We tested the grass for the
food value, as well as the hay. My hay tested at about 7% protein, the
grass is testing at about 14 to 15% protein. It’s what the cows want.>>One of the reasons we like stockpiling
is from a nutritional standpoint, it’s just simply better than hay. If you do a side-by-side nutritional
analysis, you’ll see what — just about whatever components you want to
look at — crude protein, digestible energy, the stockpile forage is going to
have an advantage over dry hay. But the labor involved in stockpiling, a
lot of people say that’s just too much work. I say it’s too much work to put up hay
all summer, and then feed hay all winter. We use a 4-wheeler. It’s really enjoyable thing to do to go out and
work with the cattle, you know, see the cattle, and not have to get out on a tractor. [ Cows mooing ]>>It’s helped me keep my cost down as
far as fertilizer, and the diesel — with diesel at almost 4 dollars
a gallon right now, I’m not using any in my tractors
in the wintertime. And I’m sure I’ll have to do some fertilizing,
but with the distribution of the manure, I think I’m saving on fertilizer
also, which is very expensive.>>I think one of the benefits that probably
doesn’t get talked about enough with, you know, grazing stockpile forage, is
the distribution of the manure. We all understand that fertilizer, regardless
of the source, is extremely expensive right now. You really want those nutrients to stay in
your pasture, where they can be utilized. And we really get a nice manure distribution
with our cattle when we use strip grazing.>>Because we’re generally rationing
out the pasture in very small strips, you’ve got a high density of
animals on a very small area. Their manure and urine is more uniformly
distributed, and as you move across the pasture, they pretty much move that distribution
of manure and urine across that pasture, getting good utilization of the forage,
and good distribution of the nutrients. [ Cows mooing ]>>Come on girls.>>It’s something that doesn’t take a lot
of time, and just offers a huge benefit. With some minimal investment in stepping
posts, poly wire, and some geared reels, you can set up your paddocks on the weekend,
and just take ’em down each day or every couple of days, whatever suits your management style. [ Cows mooing ]>>It would save you time if
you got set up and prepared. Total time, walking from the house out here, moving the fence, and then
going back, 30 minutes. And that’s about the same time, if not
actually a little shorter than it would take me when I was putting two and three rolls
of hay out here a couple winters ago. It’s the 16th of February, we’re
almost at the end of winter. We can see some grass greening up now,
and I have enough grass in this pasture to continue probably ’til the end of February,
maybe the end of the first week of March. I will have grazed this pasture
for three months, with no hay. I haven’t even cranked my tractor to move
rolled hay except when I had a neighbor come, wanting to buy some of the
hay that I had left over.>>Outside you got 12 inches
of grass right here. There was no need to bail and put it in
the barn, and spend the time bailing, and the diesel fuel bailing, and
then the money to put in the barn, and then the time to get it back out of the
barn, and bring back out here, either, you know, roll the round bails out for the cows, and it’s
much easier for me, and much more economical for me to just leave it in the
field and let the cows eat it. I started off with probably around
60 acres of stockpiled grass. I still have about 30 acres, so I’m only
about half way through my stockpile, which will last me right through the
rest of February and March and April. You’ve got these producers in these different
geographical locations throughout the state. A lot of the neighbors, a lot of the
other producers nearby taking note of what these guys are doing, and they’re seeing
the benefits themselves, all the energy saved, the less waste, being able to distribute
nutrients on their farm, being able to reuse and recycle nitrogen and phosphorus.>>When I first started this program, I was
afraid that maybe the cattle would not winter as good, and maybe drop a body score. But I have — I’ve had no problems, and some of
them even look better to me after the grazing than they did before I started
in the wintertime.>>When the snow was on the ground, we had
about 4 inches of snow, and then it iced, it became a big sleet storm on top of it. I was worried. I didn’t think they would
be able to dig through it. But they would scratch with their feet, they
would paw with their feet, and take their noses and actually break that ice crust
on top to get to the green grass. Every time I moved a fence, they were out
there breaking that crust until it melted. It’s what cows love — green grass, and
my cows are in probably as good a shape as I’ve ever had ’em coming out
of winter at this point in time. [ Music ] [ Background Music ]>>We’ve probably got a couple of more weeks
left in our stockpile grazing for this winter. It’s been a great season so
far, and the stockpiled pastures and the cows have come through
in excellent condition.>>Some of the original research
on stockpiled or accumulated growth of cool season grasses started back in the 60s. So we’ve known for many, many years that we
could accumulate a lot of growth in the fall, we knew that it would maintain its quality
into the winter, we knew we could ration it out and utilize 75 or more percent
of what was there. So we’ve known it a long time, but now
with the price of fuel, the price of labor, or just having time to do it, I think
a lot more people are starting to think about the advantages of this system.>>Too many people have gotten in the
mindset that they have cattle that they have to feed hay, they have to take
that roll of hay out there or they’re not doing their cattle justice. But you can see these cows would much rather
have that green grass than to have hay. The hay that I have made, I’m not going to
make again because I’ve seen this system work. If you try this system, I can’t help but
believe that you’re going to like it. I believe you would see that it
would be a great savings, but I — the biggest thing is it’s going to be a big
improvement for your pasture and the cattle. [ Music ] [ Background Music ]>>I will continue to do this
grazing system in the future, as long as I have cattle on this property. [ Music ]