Moving the Cows at Hoven Farms

Posted by Tim Hoven on

We move the cows daily at Hoven Farms.

Moving is usually quite simple. Before you leave the house, you look at the grazing plan. You then use Google Earth to get the GPS coordinates for the right amount of acreage for the day and send the coordinates to your phone.

When you head out to the field, you look at the amount of grass remaining in the field from yesterdays move. Is there enough residue? Was there more than enough adequate forage for the cattle? Are the cattle quiet and content with full bellies?

If the answers to those questions are yes, you start putting up the fence for the cows. If the answer is no, you adjust the location of the fence and either give the animals more or less acreage to meet your goals.

You then open the temporary gate you made in yesterdays fence and let the animals move into the new pasture.

Why do we move the cattle daily?

To give the cattle the best selection of fresh grass so we can grow the best beef in the world. Imagine every day you get to go to a new buffet with new awesome tasty food. That is what a daily move is like for cows.

To give the grass adequate recovery time. After the animals graze and trample the grass, we try to give the grass at least 90 days recovery so it has time to regrow both above ground and below ground. We don’t only want good grass above the ground, but the plants need enough time and energy to invest resources into improving their root structure. It is our goal not just to sustain our grasses, but to give them time to regenerate and improve with every grazing.

There are other reasons but those are the big two.

Every day you also go check the water system and make sure the animals have adequate water for the day. If there is a problem with the water, you fix it immediately. Our goal is to move the cattle every day that we have grass available - from April 1 until the grass runs out in December.