We have balanced soils and incredible fertility from following Biological farming principles, with help from Midwestern Bio-Ag.
Since 2003, we’ve been aggressively working to build organic matter and add minerals to our soil and our highly mineralized forages are the result.
100% Grass Dairy? Possible and a pleasure with fertile, mineralized soil. Add sunlight, water and you are creating wealth…almost from nothing. From Grass to Milk and Meat.
Our farm is 70 acres. We rent another 40 acres. The ‘home farm’ – 40 acres – is dedicated to grazing. Not permanent pasture – we are hard on pastures with wet weather – but 80% pasture, 20% in annuals, a “forage chain” throughout the season.
Our pasture components –
– prime pasture – 40% legumes, legumes: 60% alfalfa, 25% red clover, 15% white clover. 60% – Grasses: Mixes including- different forms of ryegrass, tall fescue, timothy, festolium, meadow fescue, orchardgrass, bluegrass, you name it: a Cow Salad.
– sacrifice pasture – these are pastures where they’ve been treated rough with hooves in wet, and probably don’t have a lot of legumes left. We’ll put pigs on them next – and pigs will start the rejuvenating process.
– forage chain – these are grown through the season, tilled & re-seeded several times in a season. They are GREAT for ‘padding our bets’ on drought…or wet…or hot….or cold…any situation: we need to be prepared for it, to feed high quality animals balanced feed. Rye is seeded in the late summer/fall, oats in the spring, corn (A very LARGE grass. Grazed before ears), sorghum sudan grass, millet, turnips, buckwheat…and more for the future!
The life cycle of an acre of pasture @ Trautman Family Farm
Start: A great seeding. 40% legumes, 60% grasses. Typically legume heavy the first two years. A fresh seeding yields its best in the 2nd and 3rd years.
Middle age: It’s over 3 years old, so there are going to be some bare spots from hay feeding, trails or wet sacrifice area. If we are on our game, we can interseed and rejuvenate some; but things are starting to get compacted and get more grass-y. They stay green because the cows poop more here – these are the places we overnight.
Pig Pasture: Probably about that 5th year, the pasture is getting pretty beat up. Pigs love pasture. They really don’t rut things up badly until September or so, but boy do they ravage then. We put pigs on pasture we’re ready to re-do.
Forage Chain: After a year of pigs, it’s time to sub-soil (pull out compaction, let air & water in deep, up to 21 inches deep), rototill, and spread some compost on, too. Maybe some calcium: Midwestern BioAg’s Organical, or soft rock phosphates. NEVER raw manure.
The forage chain we will use for 1-2 years typically on the same ground before re-starting the lifecycle as prime pasture again.
We have several different sequences for forage chains. I love to change it up and grow different things.