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It’s the Little Things

We raise colored Merino Sheep for the fiber artist market. We can get into that on another day but I thought I would share something that partners with sheep and wool growing. I caught this picture this morning which may seem odd but let me explain. The snow really shows the impact area of a key fertilization operation here. That big green/brown spot, that is where we had just pushed the ram's hay feeder from where it had been staged for the week. Why? soil nutrition. The hay feeder is mounted on skids that we push or pull with the tractor until the snow gets too deep at some point. The benefit is huge. That waste hay, manure and urine will combine to decompose and feed the soil. We simply keep moving it weekly. The sheep are in a safe lot at night and move down to the pasture feeders during the day and then return for the night. There is a balance , leave it too long and too much build up smothers the grasses. Too short and not much benefit. The ewes have a similar pair of these feeders. Meanwhile, since they aren't stationed at the fixed location feeders in the safe lot, the impact to that area is far less. Water is at the safe lot so the trail adds more treated area. We increased our pasture season by well over 30% by improving our soil this way, strengthening the grasses, holding more water and carbon in our soil with techniques like this at our old place. This shows just one way how raising livestock has progressed since what we did 40 years ago. The cost, labor effort and tractor use is very minimal. It’s fun to learn new things that can have a positive impact while the wool grows .. tick.. tick.. tick….

For your viewing pleasure, I recommend "Kiss the Ground", available on vimeo for $1 or Netflex. and "Mountain Wool", a short video about raising Merinos in the alpine area of New Zealand.


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