Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Spraying

I have been planning to spray the hayfield to kill the grass and alfalfa in preparation to plowing it under.  I planned on doing the spraying this weekend.  However rain came into the forecast for this weekend and I moved my spraying to today as the forecast was for calm winds.  However a minor cold front passed through last night and the winds started around 11 pm and continued into this morning.  Instead of renting the sprayer from the County at 8 am I waited until mid morning.  It was still was a little breezy but I felt the wind would die down by evening.  The wind let up around 3 pm and was calm by 5 pm.

To spray the hayfield I used GlyStar Plus herbicide. It costs $50 per 2.5 gallon container.

The amount of herbicide to spray is complicated.  The sprayer is calibrated to spray 20 gallons of water and herbicide per acre when driving 3.5 miles per hour.  Then a person figures out what weeds (and/or grass) they are trying to kill as that influences how much herbicide per acre to use.   Add in the size of the sprayer tank, in this case 100 gallons.  The store thought I needed to mix three quarts of GlyStar Pro per acre. 

If the sprayer sprays 20 gallons per acre and is 100 gallons that means I cover 5 acres per tank.  So that means 15 quarts per tank.  Or 3.75 gallons.

I read the herbicide booklet and they thought I would need one to two quarts of herbicide per acre based on how tall the alfalfa was.  My alfalfa is short.  At two quarts per acre that would be ten quarts per 100 gallon tank.

So I used 2 quarts of herbicide per acre.  This was partly based on the container size: 2.5 gallons (or 10 quarts).

I hope it is enough herbicide to kill the grass and alfalfa, especially the alfalfa.

Now I was told by several government agencies my hayfield was estimated to be around 15 acres.  That would mean 3 tanks of herbicide.  I used four tanks of herbicide so maybe the other estimate of 19 acres is more accurate.  So it was good that I used less herbicide per acre, else I would have run out of herbicide.

I also sprayed part of the north pasture and part of Calvin's pasture.  For that I used Milestone herbicide.  That cost me $110 per quart container.

For Milestone I had to again to calculate the complicated amount of herbicide to use.  Since Milestone came in a quart container I also had to convert a milliliter amount (from a table in the herbicide booklet)  into ounces.  I had three main weeds each which had their amount to use.  I had a range - depending on which weed - from under a quart to a few ounces over a quart in a 100 gallon tank calibrated at 20 gallon per acre.  So I used the entire quart in my tank.  As I had mentioned, that allowed me to spray part of my north pasture away from the trees and maybe two thirds of Calvin's top pasture which has the most weeds.


The horse rescue ranch has lots of weeds in their field and my neighbors are none too happy about that.  So I spoke with the owner and offered to spray their field if she bought the herbicide.  She was open to this as she said they planned on spraying the field.  However she changed her mind this evening, I believe after she got an estimate of the herbicide cost.  She says they plan to spray next week.

My other neighbor to the south was open to me spraying their field.  They already got the herbicide and I planned to spray their field this evening.  However their herbicide - Opensight - comes in a solid granular form instead of a liquid form.  A solid ounce is different from a liquid ounce.  The measuring cup we had was for liquid ounces. By the time we came to an estimate of how much to fill our container sunset was near.

Since I had picked up the sprayer late I negotiated a late return tomorrow.  Unless the morning is too windy I should be able to spray tomorrow.  It has to be in the morning as I forgot until later that I had two appointments in the afternoon and will be busy then until 5 pm.


The herbicide can either be sprayed from the hose for spot spraying or using the bar at the end of the pickup's tailgate.  The bar covers about 36 feet (I believe).  The sprayer is run by a little Honda gas engine.  The sprayer bar (left, center, right) are controlled by three switches in a box.  The box is run off the battery.  So I had a long cord that I ran into the pickup cab where I used the box.  From the box a small wire with jumper cable connectors run to the battery in the engine where  I hooked up each lead to the positive and negative on the battery.  All these cords made getting in and out of the cab tricky.



Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Island fence

Last week, after I finished the fence rebuild on Wyatt's property on the river bend, I still had some extra metal t-posts.  So the next day I took twelve posts and rebuild 96 feet of the fence along the river on the west side of the big island.  Similar to the river bend fence the island fence was two by four boards as posts with two strings of barb wire.  So far the old fence had been successful as no cattle jumped the short fence into the river.  But that doesn't mean they never would.

I rebuild the 96 feet with the metal t-posts and four strands of barb wire.  The rebuilt fence is only a third to a fourth of the entire fence length, but it is better than nothing.  Next year when I get more metal t-posts after more pasture/hayfield fence rebuilding I should have enough posts to complete a proper fence.

On the left are three of the 2by4 board posts and on the right are the newer metal posts.

I re-used some of the old 2by4 boards as in-between the metal posts.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Cattle pasture switchup

In the morning when I was in the front yard Mama and Rose stood at the fruit tree and garden gate wanting in.  Nope, didn't happen.

Early afternoon after returning home from getting herbicide I noticed Buddy sticking out of the barn.  I had been leaving the barn door open a crack to let Daisy go in and out to look for mice.  I had a leather strap clipped to the door so the door couldn't be opened further.  Buddy broke the strap and pushed the door open.  I went into the barn through the other door so I could face Buddy and rap on his forehead to get him to back out.  He didn't want to go out but he did.  I shut the door.  He then pushed against the door trying to get in.  While uptown I had gotten several bags of ripe apples from Donna's sister and I used the bag to get Buddy away from the door before he could break it and then led him out of the corral.

At the same time I noticed Beulah and a number other cows had pushed several corral panels on one side of the hay bales against the hay bales.  The cattle has found the one spot against which I hadn't pounded a metal t-post in the ground.  Even though I had field fence  on the corral panels the cows either ate from the hay bales below the corral panels or above the corral panels.  I pushed the corral panels away from the hay bales and used the apples to lure the cows out into the north pasture.

I then led Buddy and the cows to the middle pasture gate and let them in the middle pasture.  Time for a change and that's what they wanted.

With Buddy out of the corral I opened up all of the corral to the calves.  There is grass and weeds to eat in the north part of the corral where Buddy had been.  With more of the corral to roam maybe this will eliminate or slow down the calves from getting hay bellies.

The broken door strap

The corral panels after I pushed them back out away from the hay bales.

The calves in the north part of the corral

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Fruit tree and garden day for cattle

I hadn't planned on letting the cattle into the fruit tree and garden area; I just planned on letting them into the NW corner where the ground clover was thick.  But after I moved the corral panels to block off that corner for the cattle I decided to move the panels to around the two apple trees and also protect the rhubarb and strawberry plants and the buffalo berry shrub in the NW corner.  I then opened the gate for the cattle.

They found the open gate in the early afternoon after their morning siesta.  The first few cows sauntered in and started to eat.  Then the others noticed the first few were in the fruit tree and garden area and they came running across the field to join in.

By evening the cattle had eaten the grass down and left.  I closed the gate.  It appears they behaved.  I did see that they moved the fence from over the strawberry plants and bit part of them off.  But they must not have liked the taste as they left the bitten piece on the ground.  Several times I noticed number 7 pushing against the corral panels around the apple trees.  Since the cattle weren't going after the apple tree leaves - that I noticed - I only chased number 7 away from the corral panels once.  I'll see tomorrow if they snuck in some mischief when I wasn't looking.

The cattle mowed the grass well.  Now I don't have to mow it with a lawn mower before Winter.

Buddy spent the day in the corral.  Before I prepared/protected the fruit tree and garden area I nailed several temporary stout boards on the fence where Buddy broke through yesterday.   In the afternoon when I opened the gate for him he preferred to stay in the corral and eat the grass & weeds there.  Later I decided to keep Buddy in the corral for the rest of the day rather than have him go into the mostly eaten fruit tree and garden area for a few hours and potentially push or break something.

Dan and his son stopped by very briefly this afternoon.  Dan hadn't seen Buddy since last October and he remarked on how much bigger Buddy is.  Dan agrees that Buddy certainly weighs more than 2000 lbs , or 1 ton.



Siesta time in the fruit tree and garden area.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

The jailbreaks continue

I was bicycling back home after an hour plus ride when it seemed as if my front tire was going flat (again.. as I had just fixed a flat tire a few days ago).  Then a neighbor riding his bicycle in the other direction said he thought my bull was out as it was near the road at my driveway.  I was 2 and 1/2 miles from home.

By the time I got home my bicycle tire was now flat.  Buddy was in my front yard.  From the NE pasture he had pressed against the yard fence popping off the top board.  He hopped over the remaining two boards to get into the pasture.

I re-nailed the board to the fence post.  Buddy scratched against the front house bushes then headed to the patio to look for apples.  None where there.  I did get a bag and using apples as bread crumbs led Buddy into the corral.  He is spending the night in there until I can add a heavy board to this part of the fence.  Otherwise he will walk back to this section and pop the board off again.  With all the fence rebuilds I've done recently I will patch this fence to last the short time the cattle are in the NE pasture as I have no interest in rebuilding this section of fence right now.


When I returned home I also found five cows in the fruit tree and garden area.  Beulah, Mama and three other cows. The tomato plant was flat and all but one green tomato was eaten.  The mystery was how the cattle got into the fruit tree and garden area.  The gate and all the fences were ok and too high to jump over.  I went to the neighbor to see if he or she had seen anything.  Nope.

On the way back I stopped and filled a couple plastic bags with fallen apples from the neighbor's yard. I tossed some apples over the fence and to my surprise Beulah was right there pushing the other cows away so she could have all the apples.  Wait a minute!  I looked over and the fruit tree and garden fence and gate were still ok.

I took the bag of apples to the middle of the pasture and dumped them.  I opened the garden gate and the four cattle came out to eat apples.  Then I believe I figured out how the cattle got in (and Beulah out) of the fruit tree and garden area.  The 'gate' is two gates held together by a long bungee cord and a wire around the gates.  The cattle had pushed against the gates and popped the wire off.  As large as the cattle were apparently the bungee stretched but did not break as the cattle pushed through the gate.  I added more wire to hold the gates shut.  Tomorrow will see how successful I was.

Buddy in the yard and four of the cows in the fruit tree and garden area

Former tomato plant