Saturday, July 14, 2007

Cows are here!

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.


shauna maness said...

congrats on the cows... and the pressure cooker... amazing isn't it. brandon is till terrified.
i can't wait to get to serve yonder way produce in our home!
love you girl.

The Vann's said...

Very interesting! I loved reading about your cows!!


grandma said...

great job...they sure look big and healthy...i could see the omega 3's coming out their ears...sounds like i'm going to be eating soon pretty tasty steaks here soon...i'll get the grill ready...what did kaylyn to all grandma

Anonymous said...

Do you have to buy a whole cow or can you split a cow? How much is a cow? Does it come processed? Do you guys have a website yet for the cow biz?


Hendrick Family said...

I have the same questions Kyle has. We need a menu!

Can you just order beef tips and rice?

I want that!

So, so proud of you people.


Anonymous said...

I am thrilled that you have all that is needed to have a re-do of Charlotte's Web...or, has jason been throwing insects into the web so that KK can see how fast the spider gets the bug and is GONE to where ever it is that spiders go. (hey, that will preach!)

Great picture, would love to have a hard copy. I am still in total wonderment about the whole "farming" thing that you're all doing and the photos are so neat because for us who are so far away, we still feel connected.

I also got to see first hand the saying, "You look like a cow who's seen a new gate". It was a great relief to me after seeing these ginormous cows that your tabby was able to look the situation over and tell Jason what the cows were thinking and saying. Jason must learn to listen to that still small meow because Timmy really could be in the

I love, love, love, love you folks. Especially that boy with the baseball cap. He put me in the mind of the rich man in the Bible who felt he needed to maybe tear down his old barns and build new ones. Right now I'm more concerned that you can't find the bottom part of your pants. Let me know your size and I'll get to worth gathering kitten fur to make you some cat britches)

Remember what I've always said: remodeling takes twice as much money and three times the time. You can only do one re-do at a time and right now the house takes priority.

But, you're still not off the hook-I demand a family protrait including all of your "aminals" Once you figure out how that is done, then maybe you can share the secret to getting my portrait done with my five cats and chocolate lab. I just released two box turtles in the wild yesterday. They did no chores, never kept their habitat clean and had no personality. You know that ugly goes a long way with these animals around here but the deal breaker is to have NO personality. Love your blog. Now, who are you people?

brandon said...

nice cows. also, your pictures of the spider with the pig in the background remind me way too much of Charlotte's Web. You may need to go ahead and promise that you won't kill that pig, but rather let it herd your grass-fed cows. can kill the pig and send us some of the bacon. I love bacon.

Judy said...

MOOOOOOO!! We want cow.
Love you and missing you way over there in Brenham.

Ryan Price said...

Wow... that was an incredibly detailed post about cows! I feel like I could birth a grass-fed cow myself given the right "equipment".

So... if I come out and pick a cow, will it be ready for me by the time I get back from Africa? And... can it be named after me?

Anonymous said...

WOW!! I feel like I have had a serious lesson in nutriton. I love you guys. We are so excited to see this business take flight. By the way ...I have to say my brother-in-law is so surper smart. Love you guys!

The Kramer Family said...

Thanks so much for your interest in the cows. We are getting more really soon! As for the details of actually buying a cow, Jason will have to get all of that together....soon.

I do know that we are going to offer the option of buying different beef packages instead of a whole cow also. But, in the long run, buying the whole cow would be cheaper.

Details coming soon!

Hendrick Family said...

Were do you keep a whole cow?

Once they are diced up, are they quite compact?

I need a hands-on Montessori lesson on all of this.

Fo shizzle.