Holiday Ranch
Breeder of South Poll Grass Cattle

Moanin’ & Groanin’, Singing the Blues

Is the winter of 2011 crazy, or what?  Just watching the national weather lets us know that it may be the coldest winter in decades.

Here in the Florida Panhandle it has been undeniably cold.  Usually in the winter we have our very best grazing of the year.  We plant winter annuals such as tritacale,  ryegrass, oats, clover, winter peas, rye and sometimes wheat in October and are usually grazing our cattle by Thanksgiving.  But, NOT THIS YEAR!

First, we were late planting because our friend had borrowed our No-Till Drill (planter) and was very slow about returning it.  That October planting did not happen until the middle of November.

Then, the cold weather set in.  The experts said that we had 23 days in December that broke the records for coldest days.  January and the first half of February were the same – cold, cold, cold!

My winter vegetable garden stalled, just like our pastures.  I got one “mess” of turnips, Brussels sprouts, and collards.  Nothing else – no broccoli, strawberries, cauliflower, cabbage, carrots, onions, radishes or lettuce.

Stunted forage on pasture (left) and cattle in their "sacrifice: field (right)

But, the silver lining is that today, February 21st, it is 80 degrees outside with temperatures in the 70’s for the next week and nighttime temperatures in the 50’s.  The winter forage should finally take off and do some growing.

Here is a representative photo of what our pastures look like.  A little green shadow and a lot of brown dead Bahia grass.  Our forage should be knee-high.  The South Poll cattle have been on hay all winter and had to stay in their “sacrifice” field, yet they have kept good body condition. They will be looking forward to some good eats soon.

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