Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Happy Cows!!

Management Intensive Grazing is a large part of making our grassfed beef program work.  With MIG we can utilize less acreage for grazing with a higher number of animals per acre.  We can also give the grass a rest between grazing and allow it to regrow to optimum grazing height (6"-10").  At this height the animals eat it like candy and it gives the animals the most feed value.  When deciding on our cattle stock we wanted a heritage breed that was old genetics, had disease resistance, pinkeye resistance, and other natural immunities since we are not using antibiotics, hormones, or other medications.  We also wanted a breed that would graze and gain weight on marginal pastures without the use of grain.   This creates a lean, healthy, and tasty meat product that has a proven tract record and is accomplished naturally on a grassfed diet.  That is why we decided on a Longhorn/Angus cross for our cattle breeding stock.  The Longhorn has a tremendous track record in established resistances, good grazers in marginal conditions, great mothers, lean flavorful meat, and a phenomenal heritage.  When you couple the Longhorn genetics with the Angus we feel like you get a winning combination; all the benefits of the Longhorn along with the established marketing of the Angus breed, creating a lean, full flavored meat animal that fits a grassfed beef program.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Wall Street Journal Gives thumbs up to Grassfed Beef

Here is a article I came across regarding grassfed beef.

NEW YORK: A taste-test of beef from five Internet grassfed beef suppliers by the Wall Street Journal gave a thumbs-up to all five saying that "all the grassfed beef tasted fresher and less greasy that supermarket beef."  One taster noted the "purity" of the flavor, saying that supermarket beef sometimes has a livery flavor.  The filet mignon was rated as "superb."  The best New York sprip was called by the Journal as "comparable to a strip at an elite steakhouse."  Tasters  admirred the thick cuts, saying they most looked like a cut fram a high-end butcher shop.

Pastured chickens are growing!

Yesterday we spent time at the farm doing chores feeding and watering the animals.  We got a call from a neighbor that had found our cow that got out of our corral.  She has found green grass and shade and is enjoying her freedom.  We went over and checked her out; she seems to be content and in no hurry to go anywhere.  We took water over to her to make sure she doesn't get thirsty.  We will try next week to bring her back into the herd.  The pastured chickens are growing and having a great time eating the bugs in the grass.  They should be ready to process in 6 weeks or so.  We now have pigs that we are raising up on pasture; they are so fun to watch.  Our pigs love to eat!  Getting vegetables, dropped fruit (apples, pears, and peaches), milk and a feed ration complete with needed minerals and vitamins.  These pigs love to root around in the grass and dirt, creating a natural oasis of cool mud and muck.  These pigs don't have any problem keeping cool in this sweltering August heat.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

New chicks arrived today.

Today we got 100 fryer chicks delivered to us.  What fun little puff balls of fuzz to enjoy.  We got the water set, feed put out and the heat lamp turned on.  They are happy chicks!! 

Monday, August 16, 2010

What a day getting started

Cleaned the gutters on our 40x80 tool shed.  Over time they had filled with tree trash and were not working, over filling during our big downpours.  Now they will do their job.  In the future we will work on getting gutter water away from the foundation of the shed, paddock and sent over to the wildlife wetland area.  Getting new boiler chicks tomorrow (100); got our last batch of 29 out in the pasture in our chicken tractor where they can glean out in the grass.  We have a cow that seems unsettled and has gotten out twice, the second time being today.  I am very concerned due to the fact that she is stressed and not settling in well with the rest of the herd.  She should since she is with her original herd that we bought.  We have 4 cow/calf pairs and two bred cows.  She is a bred cow that seems to have a wild hair in her.  We are trying to get her to settle down by not working her hard, but she spooks awful easy.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Choosing our farm plan

Before we bought any animals we had to look at our land, consider what we had to work with and create a workable farm plan.  We have 26 acres of total land, a tool shed, house and creek on the property.  Useable land is only around 20 acres when you cut out lawn, creek, low land areas, and tool shed.  We currently have pastureland, lawn and forestland as our vegetation areas.  The lawn areas will be mowed regularly, the pastureland we will graze livestock and birds, and the forest areas we will select-cut unwanted trees (thorn trees, misc. trash trees) and limb-up standing trees to establish good wildlife areas and additional grazingland.  Wetland areas will be planted to native vegetation to encourage wildlife habitat.  Our farm plan centers around a grass-fed pasture operation, grazing cows, sheep, pigs, and poultry.  Doing this will lower our financial investment in expensive machinery, buildings and other costs that are related to starting a conventional farming or ranching enterprise.

Starting again with our own small farm in the Midwest.

Here we are starting our own small farm in a new part of the country.  My family decided to move back east to Indiana from Oregon where we have lived for the last 9+ years.  We sold the cows, goats, pigs, chickens, and equipment and loaded up what was left, to arrive here in Indiana around mid July.  Whew!!! What a hot time to arrive.  We had gotten used to the mild Oregon weather, and these hot, humid Indiana days about take our breath away.  Anyhow, we have landed here on a 26 acre farm that we plan on making our own, using the principles we have learned and have taught.  We have lots of work to do getting our place ready for cows, pigs, chickens, sheep and possibly some other furry critters.  Here we go; follow along with this blog and you will travel with us through each phase of our own personal journey starting, managing, and profiting from our own small farm.