How we view the Cattle:
We start with what we think is an obvious premise. Cattle evolved with grass, and not with the grains that are popular in today’s mass production of beef. Cattle, by nature, possess the rumen microbiology necessary to efficiently digest grass and convert the energy derived from photosynthesis into muscle and milk. It is one of the most amazing and complicated processes in nature. As a natural extension of this philosophy is our refusal to use any hormones or other chemical growth accelerators.
Calving and Weaning:
Our cattle are kept on grass, and this is true throughout the year, including calving season. We try to time calving so that our cows are delivering their young about the same time that local deer are delivering their fawns. This ensures that weather and grass conditions are optimal for milk production, calf growth, wellness and breeding back. We use bulls recognized for easy calving and except in an isolated extreme situation, do not assist in calving. We allow the calves to bond with their mothers and their herd mates, and so they learn essential life skills in a low stress environment.
We also wean later than many operations and in the case of replacement breeding heifers, sometimes just employ a weaning ring which completely removes stress from the calf and her mom during weaning. The calf also is then present to see her mom deliver a new calf into the world and we believe learns some mothering skills from her mom and new sibling.
Holistic Planned Grazing:
We employ holistic planned grazing to prevent overgrazing and to ensure the maximum efficiency in water, nutrient and energy cycling. Our cattle are moved from one paddock to another as frequently as once or twice a day to ensure the quality of feed available to them and to also provide adequate time for the grass to recover before being grazed again. The result is more diversity in the pasture, better health and condition of cows, plenty of grass to share with wildlife, and a significantly longer grazing season.
The result of managing grass and cattle in this fashion is a delicious, healthy product that is raised the way nature intended, mimicking the bison herds that existed on the Great Plains. The grasslands these cattle are being raised on are not degrading, but instead are measurably improving without the use of chemicals, and excessive equipment. We are constantly monitoring, and reevaluating the ranch in all aspects. We are adaptive, and constantly trying to improve the land, the cattle, and the quality of life of all people, however connected with our operation.