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.
FOR THE REMAINDER OF THIS ARTICLE, PLEASE GO TO OUR WEBPAGE http://heritagebreedsfarm.com or click here for the shortlink directly to the article itself.
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!
Research reveals that grass-fed beef is better for people and the environment.
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!
Red Poll (Photo credit: Nick Saltmarsh)
Red Poll Cattle are one of many breeds that are known as Heritage Breeds. Heritage Breeds are typically breeds that are declining in number because they are not the main stream commercial cattle. Many of them have their own niche, such as grass fed beef. Many are also dual purpose animals. Their value is great, perhaps not measurable in dollar amounts, but more in their value for preserving genetic diversity.
Red Poll cattle are a cross between the Norfolk and Suffolk breeds of quality of its beef. They were small, red and white, hardy and horned breed of cattle. Suffolk cattle were a dairy breed that were Red, yellow, and brindle in color. They were a polled breed. Through genetic selection and cross breeding of the two breed, the Red Poll was developed. The traits of Red Poll cattle that make them excel are many of those of the above breeds. Perhaps obvious, but they are a smaller, red and polled breed of cattle.
According to the American Livestock Breed Conservancy, the breed was imported to North America in the 1800s. In 1883, the American Red Poll Association was founded. I am not certain of the numbers nor the membership, but I can state that my farm is registered herd #6500. My herd was registered earlier this year. (I have to laugh a bit to say herd, as we have three heifers that just calved within the past two months.)
The cross resulted in a nice dual purpose breed. Throughout the years, Red Poll cattle have fluctuated from a dairy focus to a beef focus several times. At one point, Red Polls were efficient and competitive dairy cows. This was very evident on farms that tracked total profits above and beyond the cost of feed only. This is likely due to their ability to convert forage into production. They are also known for longevity, often producing 10,000 pounds of milk per year into their teen years. An added benefit of this longevity is that they continue to produce calves into their later years as well.
English: Red Poll cow, Temple Newsam. Home Farm, Temple Newsam, is the largest Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST) Approved Centre. Significant breeding groups of livestock from the RBST Watchlist are kept at Home Farm. This is one of a herd of Red Poll cattle, and there are 8 other breeds of cattle kept here. See http://www.leeds.gov.uk/templenewsam/farm/farm_live.html (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
One of the highlights of the breed are their reproductive traits. Red Poll bulls are very potent. Their traits are predictable and easily inherited. Red Poll females tend to be very fertile and are easy breeders. They are known for calving ease. Red Poll cattle produce a large amount of milk even on forage. This results in good calf growth. They are noted for good survivability of the calf. I saw one study where they were the top producing breed in terms of Rate of gain to day 200. This has to do with good rates of gain, great calving ease, and the survivability of the calf (calf vigor).
So the other night, we got to witness the birth of our first Red Poll calf here on the farm. It all started at softball practice with a call from the neighbor. He called to say that a heifer was in labor…with a bubble hanging out the back end. We were just done with softball practice, so we quickly jumped into the van to head home for the show.
Upon arriving home, I noted that one of the girls was off on her own with her tail raised. Indeed she was in labor. So we set up near the barn to see how things would transpire. We watched as she laid down to push, then stood up for a bit. I was surprised to see her eat some grass in the midst of laboring. We clearly saw her water break. There was a lot of clear fluid the came out very fast at first and continued in small bursts as she pushed. Finally she laid down for several contractions. At this point, her tail and back end were facing away from us.
I decided to walk around to the corner of the filed where she was laying. I stayed outside of the fence line, but got close enough to watch through the video camera. I taped the whole event from this vantage point. I watched as the calf appeared to be stuck. I could only see one foot and a head. My veterinary instincts started to kick in, but luckily I decided to wait a little while. Upon zooming in, I could see both front legs and the head. The legs were crossed in such a way that it appeared to be only one. I was still a bit concerned as a few minutes passed without any progress. I knew it was best to wait it out, but I was questioning this mantra in my head. I waited a few more minutes and could see that the calf was shoulder locked. As I was mulling over what to do inside my head, she began to make more progress. The shoulders were starting to come through as her back end likely relaxed a bit more. Finally, the shoulder came through. After many contractions over about 45 minutes the calf was about to be born. Three or four final contractions and pushes and the calf was out.
We had a live bull calf. I was amazed to watch him stand and nurse within 20 minutes. This is so amazing to me. We are excited that he was born without any problems and is doing very well.
And now the kicker……remember I stated that I was watching through the video camera? Well, I was recording as well. Apparently when I began to walk around for a better view I hit the record button. Our video camera has a delay on the light enough that I messed the whole thing up. Every time I thought I was recording, the camera was off. When I thought it was of….it was on. So when we went to view the video, there was nothing but grass. The stinker is that I had a great video (Or so I thought). O well Maybe 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.
Red Poll cow, Temple Newsam. Home Farm, Temple Newsam, is the largest Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST) Approved Centre. Significant breeding groups of livestock from the RBST Watchlist are kept at Home Farm. This is one of a herd of Red Poll cattle, and there are 8 other breeds of cattle kept here. See http://www.leeds.gov.uk/templenewsam/farm/farm_live.html (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
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.
Cover via Amazon