Not all Grassfed is the same. We all do things differently but here are some points that we practice.
It’s not the cow that causes problems it’s the management of the human farmers that makes or breaks their hoof impact.
For us grass fed means that our herd is grazing on grasses, weeds, legumes all the warm season in this part of the country. We mange how the cows graze, how they impact the land and always with the future in mind.
We don’t feed them grain or fermented feeds or grain waste from the plentiful small breweries. They graze from about the end of April to mid November. Depending on the year it can be more than that but that’s an average. It all depends on mother nature.. Too cold or wet of a spring and the pasture could not be growing well or could just be too wet where hooves could damage the plants themselves. Same thing in the fall. Lately the cows are moving to the barn yard to be fed hay around Thanksgiving time. It’s usually cold and wet then, the ground isn’t frozen and those hooves can easily damage the plants.
We don’t want to damage the plants or the root structure because doing that now is bad news for grazing in the next couple of years. It’s true.
Our cows are moved around the pastures often. Often moved to fresh ground 2x a day depending on where they are. Currently they are finishing grazing our hillside and we are getting another round of hay done plus have a big event on Saturday. So the cows were given a larger area than usual with some brush and trees that will keep them busy until we move the to the main pastures Friday before our event.
THEN they begin the usual 2 times a day moving, those areas they graze then rest for 30-60 days before they are grazed or hay taken off. we make 90% of our own hay for our beef herd. We do buy in some for our pigs to munch on at the moment but that’s 15-20 round bales a year. Yes pigs like hay too.
Key thing we do is to always have plenty of grass for the cows all the grazing months and this take some planning, lots and lots of planning and lots of previous data how the land is performing.
If you hear a farmer who grazes cows say that their pastures aren’t performing you can bet we are shaking our heads knowing that farm has a lack of holistic grazing knowledge. They’ve fallen into the trap of most humans that think they control how things grow. Sure we can to a point but it’s fine line between managing how we and our animals and our machinery impact the land and just plain old “it will grow this way or I will just plow it, spray it, fertilize and and replant it so it does what I want it to do.
We observe, make changes to where the animals go, how long they are there, what they ate and how they ate then make changes based on that observation and our goals. Our goal is lots of grass for a long time.
So what is Grassfed? Simply no grain of any sort ever, well that’s how we see it.
When a farmer makes a claim of grassfed, go for a tour, ask them how they manage things, and do they feed hay in the summer. If they do then why aren’t they grazing grass instead of feeding hay.
Often they have too many animals for the amount of land they have. A very very basic number is 1 acre per adult animal in a well managed grazing system. Now some have a better climate and probably have improved their land so they can do with less acreage but those are few and far between.
We usually have 2 acres per head- adult or young stock because half of that accounts for us making hay for winter feed off those same pastures. Some farmers don’t do that and buy in hay. It’s whatever works for them financially. If be bought hay it could cost us $15,000 or more to feed our herd but then we could graze more animals and have more meat to sell but then our cost of hay could double to $30,000 a year. Then hay could be of dubious quality and nutritional value.
We instead carefully graze a small herd and always are careful of how much the land can easily handle with out a negative impact.
The opposite is cows and other livestock in barns their entire lives. Where farmers are always working to feed those cows every meal using machinery run on fossil fuels, powering the lights and fans to control the barn climate for the animals, where disease and illness is more prevalent because of close quarters and closed environment making it necessary for more and more medications. Where manure from these concentrated feeding wharehouses are toxic and dangerous to YOU, ME, THE AIR and the WATER.
Farms like ours have a careful balance where the manure breaks down naturally to create more dirt and does'n’t cause environmental crisis. Farms like hours are also not polluting the air with the disgusting smell of liquid manure so many communities are plagued by.
Make a choice and make a difference.
Every time one of our cows munches on grass, that grass then grows through photosynthesis and then it gets even better…… it pulls carbon out of the air and back into the ground. That’s call carbon sequestering and that’s why it’s the how the cows are grazed that can actually negate greenhouse gases.
So if you want to buy green credits and balance out how much your car or traveling by plane uses up fossil fuels, you can pay us to graze cows. Better yet, just buy meats and veggies from us and invest in the farm growth so we can feed more families safely.