Why We Chose Grass Fed Beef?
There are many different reasons why grass fed beef is the choice for so many people. We chose grass fed because well…that is what herbivores are designed to eat. Not corn, not ground up chicken remnants, not ground up cattle remains, or anything else. If you give a cow a choice it will chose grass. It is that simple. If you give a cow plenty of good quality grass and fresh water she will prosper on her own without human intervention.
Our cattle provide us another service. They are the reason our grasses grow so well. We utilize intensive rotational grazing practices to improve our grass quality and quantity thereby providing more plentiful grasses for our cattle.
What is Intensive Rotational Grazing and Why?
Pastures represent more than one quarter of agricultural land today. 80% of these pastures suffer from poor grass quality, uneven fertility, erosion problems, and poor management. The process needed to improve these pastures requires amendments to the soil, in the form of compost teas, to increase fertility, additional seeding to increase the good grasses, and management of the grasses once growing. The management piece includes intensive rotational grazing to improve not only the grasses but the soil they grow in. To see more detail related to the Soil Foodweb please visit Dr. Elaine Ingham’s website at SFI or Holistic Management International’s website at HMI.
Intensive rotational grazing is a method in which property is subdivided by portable fencing into small tracts of land called paddocks. A quantity of mobbing animals, such as cattle, are placed in these paddocks to graze the grasses to a specified level. The cattle deposit manure on the paddock which provides the nutrients back to the soil to replenish what was utilized. The cattle are moved to another paddock allowing the grazed paddock to recover from its grazing. This is approximately 28 days depending on the grasses, temperature, and amount grazed. We rest our paddocks for a minimum of 80 days.This process is repeated and recovery periods modified to meet the needs of the grasses and the well being of the cattle. This method improves the grass density, nutrient quantity, soil quality, animal quality, and overall well being of the farm. There are countless documents explaining the intensive rotational grazing process. For additional information we recommend you come visit the farm where we can personally demonstrate the model in depth.
Our Cattle Breeds
When we began our farm we had an idea of what breed we wanted to eventually have however, as time progressed we changed our minds. Currently we have a herd with several different breeds of cattle. We monitor the reproduction of our beeves and selectively choose the characteristics of our herd as time progresses. We make these decisions based on the the animals ability to sustain South Texas heat, gentleness of the animal, ease of birthing, and beef development. When we began we had a mixed herd of Texas Longhorn, Black Baldie, Hereford, Brangus, Charlay, and Brahman. Currently we have refined our herd to a mix of Black Baldie crosses, Charlay, and Brangus. We find that this mixture of breeds provides us the qualities we want on our farm. I don’t know of many farms where you can give an 1800 lb. bull a hug.