Our grass fed lamb and grass finished cattle are pasture raised which allows them to graze and lounge on fresh grass. This spreads the manure (we call it fertilizer) across the landscape which allows the grass and forbs to grow back stronger, capturing more solar energy. The bugs, grubs, and earthworms cycle the organic matter and aerate the soil, capture rainwater and move minerals in the soil profile.
What does it mean to be Pasture Raised?
It starts with dividing the farm into permanent paddocks, roughly 10 acre sections created with high tensile fencing. Temporary fencing, polywire and step in posts, are then used to further ration the pasture. The fence is the predator in the eyes of the livestock; controlling the moves of the flerd, cows and sheep grazing together across the pasture.
The water points are at the intersections of the paddock divisions. The longest distance to walk is 900 feet, encouraging the animals to impact the entire paddock and spread their manure across the pasture. This increases the use of the forages as grazing and trampling stimulates stronger regrowth. A grass bunch left undisturbed can develop a thick thatch that can choke out plant growth the following season.
The planned timing of the moves are every 1 to 3 days protecting the tender regrowing grass tips. The fastest a grazed plant can put out new tips is 3-4 days. The size of the divisions give the sheep and cattle time to eat a third and trample the rest. This leaves behind a thatch on the surface of the pasture. The solar collector remains intact to stimulate regrowth, while protecting the soil from the intensity of the sun. The microbes thrive converting the organic matter to rich humus fueling the next generation of plant growth.
Proper rest periods planned into the grazing schedule allow the grasses and forbs to recover. This timing varies by season but when the grass is growing fast the rotation will be 30 days to harvest the energy in the growing tips. As the growth slows, rest periods will extend out to 90 days to ensure the plants can rebound once growing conditions improve. The rest periods allow the sun, wind, and rain to sanitize the forage from the previous exposure to manure and trampling.
Diversity in the landscape returns as the flerd are on less than 10% of the farm at a time. All growth periods of plants are present; new growth, wildflowers in full bloom, and mature grasses with seed heads to replenish the seed bank. The birds and bees are happy while fawns are being born in the nooks and crannies.
Some say this is too much work….. but what are the repercussions to the landscape, our water supply, or health if we consume sick animals that are degrading the environment.
“Yee-Haw! Here sheep, sheep, sheep!”
The flerd comes running, as the farmer is a welcome site opening the new salad bar in front of them. The animals can then lay down and ruminate in a fresh sea of grass.
ALL THIS MAKES FOR HAPPY HEALTHY ANIMALS WHO PRODUCE DELICIOUS NUTRIENT DENSE MEAT. SO WE HAVE ONE QUESTION FOR YOU.
DOES YOUR FAMILY CRAVE PASTURE RAISED MEAT?
Taste the Difference!
Derek and Catherine, Grace’s Grass Fed