November 1, two weeks away from first frost in my area and the chicory is providing forage for the doelings. They have not touched the hay yet with so much chicory forage available. Click on photo to see full sized version.
It is working! The goats ate all the peas and oats first. They did not eat much of the buckwheat or rape, probably 10 percent. Now that the peas are almost gone, they are starting in on the buckwheat grain and rape. The rape should continue to grow throughout the winter. I broadcast some ryegrass seed in the same food plot to give the bare spots some coverage and should provide forage in spring. If they eat all the rape over the winter, I can harvest the excess ryegrass for hay. The dark colored leaves in the photos are the rape leaves. The white flowers in the previous blog post is the buckwheat blooming. Click on photos to see full sized version. Cowboy is enjoying a gluten free breakfast of buckwheat grain.
August I planted cowpeas, buckwheat, chicory, oats, and rape. The hope is to feed the goats through February. The rape should grow as the goats eat the peas as they should prefer it over the rape. After the first frost, the peas will stop growing and the rape with oats will take over and provide forage through the winter.
Our chicory pastures are doing great. This pasture is about 60 percent chicory. High quality summer feed for the girls. They eat the leaves, stems and flower buds. They like it all. Click on the photo to see the full size version.
I let the buckling goats into the 3 week old peas and millet this week.
Experimenting with some Chicory this year. I over seeded some Chicory in different parts of the pasture last September. It is doing very well in the parts that I have fertilized. It is high quality forage with a long growing season. I think I found my source for summer grazing. I am trying to get away from Bermuda an Bahia because of its low to the ground growth. As a plus, there are some studies that suggest it may be beneficial in lowering the parasite loads in the goats. Chicory is drought tolerant due to its deep tap root and it is tolerant of soils with low PH. The only drawback for me is that it requires lots of nitrogen fertilizer. I will put out Crimson Clover in the fall with it so it can use the nitrogen produced by the clover for spring growth and fertilize it later in the summer.
Some links to UGA information on Chicory:
UGA - Chicory Variety Trials
UGA - Chicory For High Quality Pastures
Cutleaf Evening Primrose
is a herbaceous weed that is a challenging weed to control in the corn and cotton fields across the southeast. It is Roundup resistant and the seeds can lay dormant in the soil for up to 20 years. It is loaded with nutrition, high in crude protein and highly digestible in its early forms.
It is foraged and eaten by humans as well as my goats according to "Foraging Texas"
It grows as a rosette form in the winter then grows stems in the spring. It is very interesting watching the transformation in my pastures. Pictures below are from my pasture. The first rosette form picture was taken in October and the second picture with stem and flower was taken last week of April.
Our Myotonic bucks Nemo, Joker and Boots playing on the hill. Nemo is 5 yo, Joker 2yo and Boots is 1yo. Nemo and Joker can be seen on our "HERD SIRE" page.
Our round kidding barn is at full capacity. 11 kidding pens full plus 2 does with older kids in center common area. When the kids are a couple weeks old, we will take out the pens and it will be all open again.