The Chapman Family Ranch (CFR) produces from one to five cuttings of coastal hay per year, depending upon the ranch's needs and rainfall, producing in excess of 1.5 million pounds of coastal. For 2007 the ranch will bale three cuttings and then will let the cows bale the last cuttings.
We soil test our coastal pastures in the spring and the Noble Foundation tells the ranch how much and what type of fertilizer to use to achieve the desired hay production or grass growth for grazing. For 2007, we fertilized the first three cuttings identically. We baled the first cutting in 1,500 pound round bales for our cattle producing 406,000 pounds. We feed the same high quality, high protein coastal hay to our cows that we feed to our horses, just larger bales.
The second cutting produced just under 6,000 square horse bales of coastal and 99,000 pounds of large round bales. The first two cuttings of coastal has brought our 2007 production to date of 906,000 pounds of coastal hay, with “more a coming”.
The third cutting was partially baled into 4,000 square bales, part went into our barns and we sold about 2,000 bales in the field. We choose not to bale any more round bales because we now have enough to make the winter with some to spare. We left the most of the third cutting standing and we put yearling on the coastal. Most of the standing coastal will be baled this winter by the cow herd.
We have had two tests of our Coastal Horse hay this year, with the protein testing at more than 14% for one and 15.8% for the second. Later, the test results will be posted here.
Our plans were to install an irrigation system this past winter; however, we have added another Ranch instead of increasing our hay capacity this year.