Thistle Hill Farm – Blog

…doing what comes naturally

Category: Mob grazing

Strip grazing…

…and the main herd has settled in…changing paddocks with no more than a whistle.  I’m sure you could set up an automatic gate opener and they’d move themselves. There are 33 pregnant cows in this group.  The section already grazed is in the foreground.  By enlarging the picture you may be able to see the […]

Starting second pass…

…after about 45 days rest. Grandson Church says too many weeds though that’s not apparent in the picture. We calculate we have about 54,000 pounds animal weight per acre…just about a quarter of what we really need to see the results off mob grazing. At this level the cows can still afford to be selective. […]

Yes, it’s true….

….Greg and Jan Judy’s Green Pastures farm certainly lives up to its name.  More than 50 would-be grazers attended Greg’s three-day program near Moberly, Missouri last week to study the power of mob grazing. It’s been a cold, wet spring but the proof was there as you drove down the road.  Greg’s green pastures alongside […]

Grass fed workshops….

….our friend Ridge Shinn will be holding a grass fed cattle workshop this Saturday, May 11th, at Hardwick, Massachusetts.  The day-long session will includes a wide range of topics including selecting, breeding and managing cattle for the grass fed beef market.  Here’s the registration form: Sorry we can’t attend but we’ll be in Missouri […]

Worth waiting for….

   ….the second pass over the new grass and we’re still moving them quickly.  The plan is to cover every pasture (but one) within 21 days.  The “one” is our Italian rye pasture, intended for the steers but they didn’t get the memo. We put the steers on the “special” grass earlier this week.  By the […]

Spring is in the air….

  …37 degree air, but nevertheless.  At Thistle Hill we decided today to declare Spring has arrived.   We announced the news this morning to a line-up of our young bulls. That means some new assignments.  For instance, Green Field, winter home for ease of taking care of our young bulls, is now reduced to six.  […]

Saving the planet….

….not exactly a humble goal, but that’s what is at stake. The earth’s surface has been turning into a vast desert, releasing more carbon into the atmosphere every year than all the fossil fuel engines combined.  This “browning” of the planet is the cause of all the hunger, suffering and war than we can possibly deal […]

A milestone (of sorts)….

….part of the main Thistle Hill herd making its final move of the winter.  The stockpiled grass in what we call River Pasture is about 10 inches tall and we estimate this will take us to about the end of March. That could mean we have grazed the main herd through the winter for the […]

Nature is always right…

One of the lessons of farming is that you don’t fight nature….and it’s time for us to recognize that we ‘re in the summer dry spell.  Maybe drought.  Whatever.  While the grass still looks good and there’s plenty of it, you can feel the dryness in the hardening ground.  And you certainly see the water […]

Mob grazing…the soil report

It was a year ago that we began our experiment with mob grazing at Thistle Hill.  And here, agricultural land consultants Charlie Thornton (foreground) and Tim Woodward of Tellus Consulting help us consider the results. Tellus did a complete mineral analysis of seven of our pastures using Brookfield Labs in Ohio.  We tested three of our […]