Saturday, July 14, 2007
Cows are here!Category: Cows
Author: 5 Chicks and a Farmer
We are so excited.
Today was a great day on the farm..... despite the hours of rain!
We received our first batch of grass-fed cows. They range from 500-700 pounds and are just getting started growing.
This marks the day of the beginning of our grass-fed cattle business.
Somehow, we as a society have gotten away from the way things were created to live out their lives. Cows were meant to eat grass, not grain. But, nearly all of the cattle and dairy cows are fed grain. Even some that sells their beef and dairy under the 'Certified Organic' label. Many cows do start in the pasture but are then shipped off to feed lots to be finished and stuft with grains.
Seventy-five years ago, steers were 4 or 5 years old at slaughter. Today, they are 14 or 16 months. You can't take a beef calf from a birth weight of 80 pounds to 1,200 pounds in a little more than a year on grass. It takes enormous quantities of corn, protein supplements, antibiotics and other drugs, including growth hormones.
So, all of this brings us to the vision of our grass-fed beef business. Our cattle will be pasture raised on forages that are high in nutrients and protein. In the fall, we will be planting several types of clover that have many benefits verses native grasses alone. These grasses are high in Omega 3's which transfer into the cow at consumption. (Corn is high in Omega 6's which are bad oils.) They are very high in protein, help choke out weeds, and most of all are loaded with nitrogen nodules that lie under the ground. This is what makes your pasture self sufficent from chemical fertilizers. These nodules slow release nitrogen into the soil not only benefiting the clover but also benefiting the other native grasses around them. No more need for fertilizers.
Also, our cows are going to be set into a paddock rotation which means they will be intoduced to new grasses every couple of days. By putting a large amount of cows into a small area, they are forced to eat everything. This means good grasses along with weeds. Weeds are annual grasses so they don't have a very hardy root system as do your perenial grasses.
By stressing them out through Managed Intensive Grazing "MIG" the weeds die and don't get to produce seed. Considering that there is usually enough seed in the ground to allow for three growths of plants, the cows continue to eat the weeds until there is no more seed. This is what elimates weeds in your pastures. Every couple of days the cows will be rotated to new grasses allowing the other pads to rest for at least 30 days. This allows urine and poo puddles to work into the ground and be effective. No more need for herbicides.
Once established, our pastures will not be treated with chemicals, fertilizers, or herbicides. By giving our cows high quality grasses, we can cut down the 4-5 yr time frame that occured 75 years ago to about 2 yrs. But don't tell this to a traditional farmer, they will call you crazy.
And since they will be eating a healthy diet, they themselves will be healthy therefore eliminating antibiotics or growth hormones.
Our products from these cows will be truly wholesome and natural.
Here are some health benefits along with environmental benefits from eating and raising grass-fed cows.
- They are high in CLA (conjugated linoleic acid)& Omega 3. CLA & Omega 3 are good fats that are critical to health of our bodies. According to Positive Health studies have also shown CLA to promote muscle growth and fat burning in the body. This means CLA may help us lose unwanted fat and build a leaner and stronger body. CLA is also a cancer fighting fat and is quite valuable to us for many reasons.
- Contain LESS total fat than grain-fed cows. Grass-fed beef is much leaner and needs less cooking time because of that.
- They have powerful antioxidants: Vitamin E, and Beta Carotene that is almost non-existent in grain-fed cows.
- Pasture-raised cows are easier on the environment to raise since pastures are not treated with chemicals. Also, since cows are naturally grazing and living in pastures, manure doesn't pile up like in feedlots. Instead, it is used to fertilize the ground.
- Choosing products from cattle and dairy cows that have been raised on pasture all of their lives eliminates all possibility of mad cow disease because the animals are never fed anything but pasture grasses and hay.
- Pasture-raised cows are cleaner. E. coli contamination takes place in the slaughterhouse when manure from an animal comes in contact with meat. The less manure on an animal when it enters the slaughterhouse, the less likely the meat will become contaminated.
As you can see, there are so many benefits to eating grass-fed beef. Aside from it being downright delicious, it is good for you!
We would love for you to come out to the farm and pick your cow. There are more to come in August.