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We have a mixture of perennial pastures (alfalfa, white clover, Eastern gamma grass, birdsfoot trefoil, ryegrass, orchardgrass, chicory and plantain) that the cattle spend time on during the summer and fall when growth is at it's peak. We are able to utilize some of our crop land to grow cover crops during other parts of the year. For example, in the spring, the cattle will graze cool season cereal plants (cereal rye and triticale) until the perennial pastures are ready. Late summer and fall is an important time to graze warm season cover crops (sorghum sudan, sunflower, pearl millet, buckwheat, sunnhemp, clover, collards). Any extra cover crops are baled in order to supplement the cattle during the winter.
All calves are kept in our herd. As the heifers mature they are exposed to the bull. If they conceive, they are added to the cattle herd. All steers are grass finished.
Our farm uses regenerative techniques to raise livestock and row crops. Our land is certified organic. The cattle are used to increase species diversity to regenerate the land. We do not deworm the cattle because we move them everyday. This allows the cattle to have fresh pasture and keeps their exposure to parasites low.
We enjoy the different personalities of each animal. Another important aspect of raising cattle in a regenerative system is seeing the positive changes in the soil. Ultimately, the best feeling is supplying our customers with healthy, nutrient dense food.
By moving the cattle daily, this allows for the plants they are grazed the day before to fully recover and add more carbon in the soil. Our goal is to keep something growing, keep the soil covered and graze it at the appropriate time to maximize the forage intake by the cattle, while also increasing the plant biomass. All of this limits or stops runoff when it rains as it is soaked into the ground.
The cattle are looked over as they move to new pasture every day. This gives us an opportunity to spot animals that might be getting sick. If we do have a sick animal, we can remove it from the herd to ensure that it gets the best treatment possible. After the daily move, we take a few minutes to observe the herd grazing. This can give the manager info quickly. They can examine what the cattle are choosing to eat first that day. This can clue them in on what the cattle might be missing in their diet, since that is what they feel like they need at that time. We try to grow a diverse pasture to ensure that the animals can forage for as many minerals as they can, strengthening their immune systems.