Friday, October 12, 2012

It's a cow's life!

It's Friday - yay! We're at the farm. And it's all about cows, clover, oats and a fence.

This post fits nicely into my Friday series of farm posts... for more of these click here.

This farm visit involved moving an electric fence to allow the cattle to do some strip grazing. The farmer had sown oats here, not so he could harvest them off as grain but so he could feed it out to the cattle as green feed. This block is kinda like a finishing block.... the cattle and sheep go there for a little while (a week or sometimes more) to have them in tip-top condition before they head off to the sale.

An electric fence allows the cattle to only get to a portion of the oats at a time. There is plenty of other feed beside the oats (clover and other grasses), so the cattle only need to gradually access the oats to fatten up... kinda like rationing out the chocolate block to spread the joy!

And here are the cows coming over for a sticky-beak. They are pretty quiet and want to used to being hand fed hay off the back of the ute. It's a pretty nice spot to be hanging out in hey?! I think they realised what was going on 'cos they started running across the hill, then turned and loped back to this spot again. Like they didn't want to miss anything and they were excited little kids. Fun to watch them. The littlest one enjoyed it too once she realised they were on the other side of a fence... two fences actually, though one was the inactive electric fence.

Check out this clover below. You can see the clover patches as the very green patches to the left of the oat crop in the shot above. And on the hill where the cows are, though they've kept eaten it down a lot more up there. So once the cows are let into this paddock they'll be able to 'chow down' on this clover whenever they feel like it. They have a rather delicious choice (in cow terms!) of clover, oats and then the more basic grasses. Lucky cows! 

This clover is very, very yummy to a cow. Too yummy. Like eating too many cherries when they first appear for the season! To put it bluntly the cows get bloat! Badly. And it can have some fairly serious consequences. So they won't be getting the first shot at this clover. The farmer is going to put some sheep in here first, they don't have quite the same stomach/digestive set-up as cattle and can cope better...

See the little spider on the clover flower above? He was so very well camouflaged. A pale green. It was fun to try and get him in a shot. I was lying flat on the grass to get some of these shots... caused a few raised eyebrows from the farmer and Mr Fencer ;-) And of course, the littlest one saw it as the perfect chance to practise her climbing/balancing. Luckily the larger small people were too busy clambering about in the oats (scroll down to see them in their 'hazy-ness'); the oats were thick enough to stand up and then gradually lean back and 'fall' into. The novelty is that they would never be allowed to do this if the oats were to be harvested for grain, every grain is precious then and each stalk must be protected because of it's producing potential. They definitely made the most of this special allowance.

Next week I've got a series of shots to show how my brain works when I'm taking photos - could be scary ;-) Plus the whiteness project should be more complete, though I am not if it will ever end!!!

We're off to the nation's capital for the weekend... Canberra. We're not going for leisure but you have to eat don't you?! I reckon we can take a break at least for one meal! Hope you get (at least) one meal spent in relaxation on the weekend too! Catch you next week.

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