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Strieker has chosen a hilly area of his farm for the intensive pasture program
which the cows are grazing that they obviously have their
preferences for the young shoots with leaves.
‘They don’t like the heads,” Strieker said.
In one pasture he has planted puna chicory for which he
had to obtain a permit from the state Department of Agri
culture because the plant is considered noxious. “The
cows really like it,” Strieker said.
In the current pasture, he places a 25-gallon tub of
water. Throughout the 12-hour time segment the heard is
in the pasture, cows wander up to the bowl to drink as they
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“They just come up and drink a gallon or two, then go
on,” Strieker observed.
It may take some work to keep your eye on the clock
and move the herd so often, but Strieker points out some of
‘The tradeoff in labor is, instead of mixing feed. I'm
now moving fence and water,” he said. Strieker explained
that all he does to move fence is move cross wires to close
off the area in which he wants the cows to graze.
If it rains, no problem. The grass is still good and the
cows can still graze. Last summer, he said, he had trouble
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Connie Leinbach is a free
lance writer and graphic designer
living in Douglass Township,
Berks County, just west of Boy
ertown, with her husband, Steve,
an editor for The Morning Call in
Allentown, and her son. Alee, 5,
and daughter, Catherine, 3.
Before launching out on her
own, she was a reporter for the
Reading Eagle-Times and cov
ered a variety of beats, including
the Pennsylvania Farm Show.
She enjoys interviewing mem
bers of the farm community and
learning about farming, and wel
comes suggestions for stories.
making hay because of the frequent rainy weather.
He noted that farmers can’t make the kind of quality
with cut hay as is found in the pasture grass.
“As soon as you cut it, it loses its nutrients and mois
ture,” he said.
Since the cows are outside more than they are in the
bam, Strieker saves money running fans and buying feed.
There is less manure hauling because the cows spread
their own manure in the pastures.
Strieker hopes this program will reduce his veterinary
bills, since after attending conferences on the subject and
talking to other farmers he learned that cows become
healthier with this program.
While the cows are being milked twice a day, Strieker
and his herdsman Glenn Ocher supplement their diet with
14 pounds of high moisture shelled com and 16 pounds of
com silage per cow per day. This provides energy they’re
not getting in the pasture.
Before, the cows were fed 22 pounds of high moisture
shelled com, two pounds of soy meal, five pounds of
roasted soybeans, 20 pounds of com silage, 40 pounds of
haylage, plus vitamins and minerals.
Now the cows are eating 140 pounds of grass a day at 28
cents a hundredweight of pasture. Feed cost per hundred
weight of milk has dropped almost $3.
Milking cows also receive mineral supplements in the
form of a free-choice mineral bin containing 14 different
powdered minerals and salt. The bin is in the exercise lot
outside the bam and the cows just eat what they want. The
dry cows and bred heifers don’t get the free-choice
Strieker and Ocher are building portable mineral feed
ers to place out in the pasture for the cows to get minerals
while they graze.
‘That’s the ideal situation,” he said.
Apparently, the grasses contain most all the nutrition
cows need as Strieker’s milk production has remained the
‘That was my biggest concern—that production would
drop,” he said. Now, his rolling herd average is 21,900
pounds, the same as when he started the program.
Strieker notes that the challenge of this method is man
aging the grass so that it doesn’t develop heads before the
milking cows can eat it.
It’s a challenge that’s akin to unlocking the secrets of
like working with nature and God, and seeing the
whole system work,” he said.
Farmers interested in learning more about this method
can observe it firsthand during a grazer’s meeting at
Strieker’s farm from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Thursday,
As they need K, the cows wander up to the
25-gallon water tub and drink, then resume graz
ing. Strieker moves the water to each pasture the
cows are in.
Lancaster Farming, Saturday, June 5,1993-E25
Berks Co. Correspondent