Carnduff 4H Beef Gathering

Posted on behalf of Blain Hjertaas, Holistic Management Certified Educator

On May 16th the Carnduff 4H Beef Club visits Hjertaas Farm.

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Leader Jenny Turton and 18 4H members and parents arrived at farm of Blain & Naomi Hjertaas after school. They had 3 goals in mind; 1. Importance of legumes in mix 2. Difference between conventional vs. rotational grazing and 3.What is stock density.

The afternoon started with Blain introducing himself and then getting members to introduce themselves. Blain asked the members to come up with a job description for a cow and the farmer.

The tour moved to the pasture. Sheldon Kyle, manager of the Lower Souris Watershed talked about importance of diversity of plants. The members were given shopping bags which equate to the size of a sheep’s stomach. They had to fill these bags to simulate one day of grazing. When the bags were examined they contained mostly dead grass or litter. Blain showed the members how the sheep were grazing and picking the new green shoots out of the litter. The members began to realize how long it would take to fill the bag with green shoots.

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Sheldon and Blain talked about how grass grows and why plants need rest following a grazing event. Blain emphasized the importance of keeping litter on the land to protect it from hard rain and maintain a more constant temperature. He likened it to the skin on his arm.

The highlight of the tour was lamb catching and holding.

Following the tour the Hjertaas’ provided fire and their yard for a wiener roast.

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