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.
The kids are coming fast and furious daily. We will be posting photos soon. We had our first set of quads on the farm.
I always test my hay for Relative Forage Quality (RFQ). I have it tested through my local UGA extension agent. The hunt for good hay at the same price or cheaper than average hay can be a challenge. This year I found Rye Grass/Red Clover mix hay with RFQ of 135 much cheaper than high quality Bermuda which usually only tests around 100 RFQ. The graphic below gives an idea of what type of hay to look for here in the Southeast that has the potential to be good hay for lactating animals. The dark blue background on the chart indicates the target RFQ for lactating animals. As you can see Bermuda and Bahia do not make it to the dark blue. They are good hays for dry animals but do not make the cut for lactating animals. These are the most common hays in our area. If I can find and feed a hay such as Rye Grass that tests well, I will have healthier does with plenty of milk for the kids.
I like to put a handful of Purple Top Turnip seed in my seed mix for a goat snack in the annual forage plots.