This weekend I was inspired, met some very interesting people and my enthusiasm for grass farming is renewed at the Grass Works annual grazing conference. Two interesting tidbits: Soil with 1-2% organic matter (OM) only holds 1/4 of the moisture as soil with an OM of 4-5%. The best estimates for our Wisconsin climate include a 4-9 degree F increased temp in the next 50 yrs. Check out this interactive map: http://www.wicci.wisc.edu/climate-map.php . Just click your WI location and it will give you an idea of what/where your weather will be like based on different models. One of those models had our northern WI location feeling more like Oklahoma in 100 yrs, with a +19 degree temp change (ugh time to move to Cananda!) The averages were closer to Rockford IL. That is something think about. More trees to shade livestock, different species of apple trees to consider, more warm season grasses…that is all decades away.
Now is the time to make plans for the coming season. Some things on the agenda: what should I inter-seed my pastures with this spring to increased soil OM, create diversity and drought resistance? Determine a grazing plan for the pigs, they will arriving later this year-what can I grow for them to reduce our reliance on expensive grain? How many beef stockers can our pastures support if/when it is dry this summer? Since Erin will be a farm employee this summer, will the market support more broilers? Rabbits, ducks, layers, garden, starting our apple orchard and berry patch. I have to admit to feeling pretty bah-humbug earlier this winter but now i am getting excited about the spring!