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Category Archives: Grassfed
I am basically cataloging here, but this will serve to give me something to look back upon as I make decisions.
I am in the process of selecting Red Poll semen to build the genetics of the herd. I have the three adult cows to breed back. I also have the one heifer calf, but she will be too young to breed this season. I have done some research and I think I have located a good source of semen. The herd is grass fed in its basics and has some top producers in the show ring and in terms of meat. I am also looking to bring new genetics into the area.
Until Next Time!
This is a very interesting article that I happened to stumble upon among my blog reading. It brings up interesting points that grass fed programs have a lower carbon footprint than other methods of farming. The other interesting thing is that organic practices lower that footprint even further.
We would like to try to take things a bit further by trying to eliminate some of the machinery in our gardening. Unfortunately, we are unable to totally eliminate the use of machinery all together.
We may look into horses for farming at some point in the future. That sounds like enjoyable work.
Thanks to the author for the article!
Until Next Time!
I am excited to see the newest Red Poll journal included in mu post vacation stack of mail! Good times ahead reading all of the articles. I will try to pass on tidbits as I learn them.
We are still researching and building our foundation herd, so gathering as much information as we can is vital. The National Red Poll meeting appears to be slated for Louisville, Kentucky this year. I think the date is set for sometime in November.
Until next time!
Last night we were able to put up 38 round bales of hay. This is a great start to next winter’s feed supply. Our neighbor cut, raked, tettered and baled the hay over the weekend and brought them up into the barn last night. We are excited to have a great jump start for next season. Now the challenge is to get some of the pasture eaten down by the cows that we have. We may be in the market for a few more adult animals or steers that need to finish. There is a total of about 12 acres that needs to be eaten, well more than our three adult cows will be able to eat.
We do not supplement our cattle at this time, featuring a grass fed beef program. We hope to provide good, flavorful and nutritional meat once our calves finish out. We also employ a hormone-free, organic program. (We did not certify our land organic, but sprays and chemicals are not used on our farm).
Until Next Time
We just got to witness the first ever calf born to our farm. We have not gotten a chance to see if it is a bull or a heifer. We are very excited. He or she is standing after only 20 minutes. Hopefully he or she will nurse soon.
I was talking to a local farmer today about our small herd. He asked if we were raising beef cattle or dairy. My response to this is usually that we are raising Red Poll cattle. The common retort from people is that we have Red Angus cattle with no horns. I explain that the breed is called Red Poll. That is the name of the breed and that my cattle are registered. They then begin to ask about them, so I explain that they are a heritage breed of cattle that are very good at foraging. They are known for good milk production and have been bred more for grass fed beef.
I then explain that we are believers in grass fed beef and are trying to capture like-minded people within our niche market. To my surprise, this farmer began to tell me how his son is producing grass fed beef for a restaurant in Wisconsin, where he currently resides. They are looking for any and all grass fed beef. This immediately gave me some hope for our products. Though I do not necessarily want to sell the grass fed beef to a distant market, it is nice to know that one exists.
So this got me to thinking: is there an increasing demand fir grass fed beef, or do I simply perceive an increased demand because I am a recent covert? So I began to look into it. I did the common research technique known as ” Google it.” Here is what I found with some links:
This article highlighted the growing demand for natural or sustainable beef production. The author discusses that Walmart and McDonalds are even getting in on the movement. She mentions that grass fed beef is no longer just offered in high end restaraunts. In fact the trend has moved more and more mainstream. She also mentions several books about the subject matter such as: “Food, Inc.,” “Eating Animals,” “The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” “Animal Factory” and “CAFO.” Those are some titles that perhaps we will read and do a review at some point.
This article. blog talks about the benefits of grassfed beef. These benefits include:
- Lower levels of unhealthy fats
- Higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids.
- Lower levels of dietary cholesterol
- Offers more vitamins A , Vitamin E and Antioxidants.
- Twice the levels of conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA, isomers, which may have cancer fighting properties and lower the risk of diabetes and other health problems.
- These statistics were gathered by the author from a report in the Nutrition Journal.
So in summary, there appears to be a greater awareness of the benefits of grass fed beef. These benefits are nutritional, as can be noted above. Other benefits that are linked to grass fed beef production include environmental benefits and humane benefits for the animals themselves. Those are both a discussion for another time and place.
I added some additional articles that are related below. One is one of our own posts, the others are from various authors. It appears that the first one has some concerns about the sustainability of the grass fed industry due to the increased cost per pound for the meat itself.
- Why Grass-fed Beef Costs More and is worth it! (gauchoranchgrillboutique.wordpress.com)
- Red Poll Cattle (The perfect breed) (heritagebreedfarms.wordpress.com)
- Increased Demand for Grass-fed Beef (gauchoranchgrillboutique.wordpress.com)
- The Performance and Health Benefits of Grass-Fed Beef (stack.com)
First off, let me appologize for the cheesy title, but I had to do it…
For those of you that have been following our blog for the past few weeks, we have been looking into buying hay. We purchased approximately 75 bales in the fall. These bales were all purchased via Craiglist and chosen based upon a low price. I paid $2 per bale.
So about two weeks ago, we noted that we were going to run out of hay. We began the search for more hay. We took inventory and noted that we were feeding between 1/2 bale to 2/3 of a bale per cow per day. With the 3 heifers, that means basically 2 bales per day.
We began to look around for more hay, with the one remaining bales rationed for the next day. Off went some emails and texts to various people that we know so that we could buy more bales. Thankfully in the middle of that, the seller called back and we were on our way. We picked up the bales around 7:00 P.M.
Upon picking up the bales and then returning home, we tried to get the hay wagon into the barn. At that point, a lesson was learned—-the wagon that we borrowed was a wagon to catch bales of hay from a kicker wagon. The importance is that the front axle is reticulating (not fixed like a normal trailer). My weak attempts at backing the trailer were near comical. As soon as the wheels to the wagon began to turn, the wagon would basically jack-knife.
This began the unloading of 100 bales after the kids were in bed. O-yeah and in a light rain, which actually let up during the unloading. Finally at 12:30 A.M., we unloaded the last bale and headed inside. one project done and two tired workers. But thankfully we got “Baled Out” in the nick of time.
Early Sunday morning, I received an emergency call to go see a cow that had managed to prolapse her uterus after calving. I proceeded to get out of bed, dressed, took the puppy out to go to the bathroom and finally headed out to the call. It was about 25 degrees as I pulled up to the milkhouse. I took a quick inventory of my supplies: lidocaine for an epidural, two buckets of warm water, intravenous fluid administration set, calcium intravenous solution, Bruehner needle, umbilical tape, antibiotic flush, halter, dish soap, and rectal palpation sleeves.
Once I entered the barn, I saw a nice looking herd of Dutch Belted cattle. Dutch Belted are a heritage breed of cattle. I was not aware of any of our main herds being comprised of a heritage breed. I began to ask the farmer how long they had been using the Dutch Belted cattle. I also inquired as to why a commercial dairy would go with something other than Holstein or Jersey. He told me that they has gone to a grazing operation in 2007 and found that the Holsteins did not perform well. Thus began the search for an old breed that was more geared toward grazing. Enter the Dutch Belted. He stated that they selected not only for grazing but also for component composition. On a dairy, they look at pounds of production and butter fat content as their two main drivers for milk economics. He told me that the Dutch have better components than the Holsteins and also that they seem to produce better in the grazing set up. In fact, their best producer made 80 pounds of milk per day at her highest. That is rather good production.
So back to the story at hand. I entered the pen to find the cow with a prolapsed uterus, and reluctance to rise. Once she got up, she was very agitated and weak. I administered the calcium solution via the jugular vein, yet she was unable to get up. At this point, I proceeded to pull her back legs out behind her and administer the epidural. I then cleaned the placental attachments from the uterus, cleaned the lining, and smeared the uterus with the liquid dish soap. At this point, the farmer helped to elevate the uterus and I was able to manipulate it back into its normal location. I placed two sutures with the Bruehner needle and the umbilical tape after filling the uterus with 9 liters of uterine lavage with antibiotics. Following that, I administered a second bottle of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium via the jugular vein. I encouraged the cow to get up and she stood immediately, much stronger than before.
So my Sunday Surprise was not only a very successful outcome on the case at hand, but the chance to discuss heritage breeds with yet another producer.
Lush Green Pastures will be here soon
Since this is the first year that we have been feeding cattle, we had to make a guess at planning enough hay to feed through the winter. Thankfully this has been a very mild winter, which allowed our cattle to graze more than they normally would be able. As we get to mid-February, we are anxiously counting the remaining bales and longing for the lush green pastures as pictured above. I counted this evening and the remaining 16 bales are not going to be enough to last, especially with another cold spell predicted.
We have to begin the adventure of locating extra bales to purchase. A quick check of Craigslist revealed several possibilities for hay in the surrounding area. Hay prices are near their seasonal high this time of year due in part to shorter supply. Once first cutting hay is done in the area, the prices should begin to settle back into a lower price range. This fluctuation in hay prices, may be beneficial to us later on in our production. We may be able to sell some bales at various times of the year depending on our supply.
We are hoping that our small hay field will produce enough hay to tide us over through next winter (with maybe a few bales to sell at a later date). The fields at our farm have been certified organic for the past four growing seasons. We are not going to certify them again this year, as we are not going the certified organic route. The next question to answer is going to be how to get the hay put up. We are starting with no equipment, but are able to rely on the good graces of our neighbors. We will probably have them baled in the small square bales once again, but we could handle round bales if we can single-stack them and roll them around the storage area into a place to drop the daily ration down to the cattle below.
The sunny day today, makes us long once again for the time to plant and watch things grow.