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Beltie-Briefs Newsletter

March 1, 2020


We are trying something new, e-news...

One of the great things that comes with a membership in the Great Lakes Belted Galloway Association is the wealth of information that can be shared about this fantastic breed of cattle. Many of the ideas that come from our membership include tips and tricks from the field, and what we have learned as farmers. Our Association supports people across a broad spectrum of experience levels and myriad approaches to raising beef cattle. All of these methods and permutations have nuances that are worth learning and sharing with our fellow members. With that in mind, we are trying something new. We have a team of folks who are willing to assemble a monthly e-newsletter that will be sent out via e-mail, with expansion to other media channels as we grow. We are working on framing the initial content and would like your input. If you have any ideas regarding content you would like to see, or are willing to contribute content to the e-newsletter, we would love to hear from you.  Please share your input and/or interest in topics via E-mail at 


Clete Kirschbaum
Vice President  and Assistant E-Editor, GLBGA



Clete and Karen Kirschbaum own and operate a small family farm in Southeastern Wisconsin. They produce grass fed beef, pork, and poultry in a pasture-based production system. They direct market their products off the farm. Clete is a farmer, entrepreneur, and technologist. Karen is a Registered Nurse, and Manager of an ambulatory Clinic in West Bend,  Wisconsin. Clete and Karen volunteer their time and services to local community organizations and support fundraising activities through corporate programs at work and through the family farm. Karen is currently serving as Secretary on the GLBGA board and Editor of our quarterly newsletter. Clete is serving as  Director and Vice President on the GLBGA Board and is an Assistant Editor of the Beltie Briefs E-Newsletter.  



June 11-14, 2020
2020 Spring Field Day
Columbia City, IN
Regional Round Up Junior Show
Columbia City, IN
Doug Abney Memorial Open Show
Columbia City, IN
Register Now!

June 27, 2020
Midwest Classic Show
Pecatonica, IL
Register for the Midwest Classic Now!

Regional Roundup Update:
Campsites are available at the Whitley County Fairgrounds in Columbia City, IN  for $25 a night versus $30. Be sure to make your reservations for a hotel or campsite now!

Herd this at the fence...

Cow days

Have you ever heard the term cows days? In grazing circles,  a cow day is the amount of feed one cow will eat in one day. A cow in this case is considered to be a lactating cow. On my farm, that is a 1000 to 1200 pound animal. Different animals have different feed requirements. For example a bull may consume 1.2 cow days worth of forage and a yearling heifer consumes .8 cow days of forage. Weaned Steers may consume .9 cow days or even more, depending on where they are in there development. So what?  Why is this important?

We use cow days as a way to estimate how much feed a paddock has. This is a little bit more of an art than an exact science, and it depends on the types of forages you have on your farm and the density of that forage in a given area. We use cow days to estimate how much we need and then use that information to size our paddocks for a day.

Lets say we have a mixed herd of 5 cows,1 bull, 2 heifers and 3 steers, the daily forage intake on grass would be 5 (Cows) +1.2 (Bull) + 1.6 (2 Heifers) + 2.7 (3 Weaned Steers) or 10.5 cows days worth of forage. If you release you small herd into a 1/2 acre parcel and count the number of days until they graze the paddock to 3-4 inches in height, you can then calculate how much supply you have. If it took 4 days for 10.5 cow days worth of stock to consume the forage, the half acre has 10.5 X 4 / .5 acres of supply or 84 cow days per acre. You can use this as an estimate to size your grazing area and calculate how big of an area you need to keep in rotation given the size of your herd. It will help you map your grazing plan and account for changes throughout the grazing season. 

If you are interested in learning more about grazing and grazing management, an excellent periodical is the Stockman Grass Farmer. Subscriptions for this are paid, but you can try an issue for free. 

A word from the Bookworm...

The Organic Farmer's Business Handbook by Richard Wiswall

When I first started farming, I didn't know much about how to run a farm or even what things I needed to think about. I searched the web and came across a number of titles, that at the time were of interest to me. I came across The Organic Farmers Business Handbook. While this book does not pertain to beef farming it does contain some topics that are important to all farmers. Farms are a business. Not knowing how to manage and plan the operations of that business can be a major reason why small farms or startup farmers go out of business early. While Richard's content focuses on running a vegetable garden, we as cattlemen can learn a lot from the ideas conveyed in this book on finances and planning. Richard uses spreadsheets set up by enterprise to plan and record his operations. In this way he can study the changes he needs to make to keep his operation profitable. I have created many spreadsheets based on this idea that have helped me to use the winter downtime to plan for a successful season.  Farming is a business and business must be profitable to survive. Spend some time planning how to be profitable.

What's on the Web...

Are you planning to haul cattle to a different state for a show, for sale, or for the exchange of stock?  Traveling between states with stock means having the right paperwork completed to prepare for the trip.Figuring the logistics out can be challenging and time consuming. will help you quickly plan your trip.  To get started, answer a few questions about your livestock movement circumstances. After that, you'll receive an easy to follow report about what is currently required for your livestock movement.

Belted Galloway Society Junior Handbook

The updated Belted Galloway Society Junior Handbook is available online. The updated handbook supports the Junior Association's mission to provide young Belted Galloway cattle enthusiasts a program for developing beef cattle management and leadership skills though our breed-sponsored educational programs at local, state, and national competitions, and is a valuable resource for our Juniors. 
Copyright © 2020 Great Lakes Belted Galloway Association, All rights reserved.

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Copyright © 2020 Great Lakes Belted Galloway Association, All rights reserved.

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