As a grazing operation one of our main focuses is, of course, grazing. Merriam Webster defines grazing as “to feed on growing herbage, attached algae, or phytoplankton”. Translation to a pasture environment means that the animals are eating forage that is growing in the pasture.
We started our journey learning that management changes can not only make the forage healthier for the animals (and you) but it can also increase the forage quantity.
This year we celebrated a big win, 355 days of Grazing! Yes, that means we only fed hay for 10 days. Three, because it snowed and two to repair some ground that could use some additional organic matter which gave Josh an opportunity to demonstrate the hay un-rolling process.
This is a major accomplishment because it is not uncommon in our area to feed hay 4-6 months out of the year. In a grazing operation, feeding hay indicates there is no grass left to graze. We’ve been there too and do not want to go back.
How does this affect you?
- Your beef is from animals that are eating a nutritious live growing forage which results in a diverse nutritional product.
- Your beef is helping heal the soil and environment with growing plants that are capturing and cycling carbon.
- Your beef was produced on clean pastures and was not fed harvested GMO feed or fed feed that is growing on active cropland where chemicals are used to grow GMO products.
Grazing management can change the world and we are seeing that here on our farm. We are working toward a 100% grazing and for the past two years have almost made it! Managing cattle regeneratively has allowed us rest one of our farms for over a year and we now have plans to fence and add livestock. This means more beef for you.
Yes, we still make a little hay. There will always be times of extreme weather and drought, and animal welfare is at the top of the list, so we must be prepared. When our two-year-old boys see the “big tractor” they beg for a ride. Wil and Wes will learn how to make hay, not only to give mama break from raking 😊, but as a necessary skill needed to manage livestock. We take comfort in knowing that our boys’ hay making will be more of a historical lesson and a tool for emergency forage. Our goal is that they will have a much better understanding at an earlier age than we did of the awesome health and envorimental benefits of allowing the animals to cycle the nutrients as nature intended.
Our 1977 Case Tractor!
Still going strong after 45 years of service and the air conditioning works!