grassfed

New Year, New Farm

In the summer of 2017, Katherine and I purchased a new farm and began the monumental job of moving a family and a farming business. Our new farm is about four miles north of the town of Louisa in a spot called Ellisville. It is a 300+ acre farm that was in pasture and cattle probably since the house was built in 1920. In the recent past, in between the owners farming here and us purchasing it, the fields have been leased out to a grain farmer for growing corn and soybeans. The last crop of beans were harvested in December and we immediately seeded the farm into grass. This is a farm that should not be in crops. The land has some hills and parts are fairly steep. In the few years that the farm has been cropped, some major gullies have formed where gentle swales should be. We have plans to fix these areas and put them in perennial grasses to hold the soil in place. There are two major creeks and several branches running through the farm. We are going to fence the cattle out of the water to prevent contamination and erosion. We have plans with the NRCS to build miles of fence and install automatic waterers this coming year. With these practices and our careful planned grazing we will heal damage done to these fields, build topsoil and nutrition, sequester carbon from the atmosphere, all improving the environment while producing top quality grassfed beef. We are excited about all of this, and are looking forward to sharing our work and progress with our friends and customers.

our rolling fields

our rolling fields

We have put our Beaverdam farm up for sale and we will eventually let go of some of the leases on other farms. It will be great for our work and our family to have everything closer together. I had been commuting 45 minutes each way to manage cattle in three counties. I will not miss that. We are fencing 10 acres for horses and Katherine will continue her boarding business. We are leaving the two greenhouses in Beaverdam, but will probably build one out here eventually.

our new home

our new home

Here are a couple of pictures. I'll post more soon, but you can check out our instagram and facebook pages, too.

Grassfed Beef Genetics

When selecting cattle, there are many factors to consider in order to produce the best grassfed beef that we can. The most important is the cattle that we work with. We have chosen the Belted Galloway and Angus breeds to use, but our selections do not end there. There is great variety within any breed as far as types of animals. We select for smaller framed, 1,000-1,200 lb cows that stay fat on grass alone. The cows need to be fertile, good mothers and live a long time. That will give us one calf per year from each cow for many years. The calves need to grow well, be vigorous, finish from 18-24 months with well marbled, flavorful beef.  All of the animals need a calm disposition. Selecting for these traits improves the herd, allowing us to produce our best grassfed beef.

grassfed cow herd

grassfed cow herd

Our cow herd consists of Belted Galloway, Angus and a few crosses of the two breeds. Our bulls are below. The Beltie bull we have used for three years and our Angus bull is new this winter. 

Ajax, the Belted Galloway bull

Ajax, the Belted Galloway bull

Cedric, our Angus bull

Cedric, our Angus bull

Here are a couple of our cows with the form that we are aiming for. 

Udaberri, a registered Belted Galloway cow

Udaberri, a registered Belted Galloway cow

Tessa, a purebred Belted Galloway

Tessa, a purebred Belted Galloway

Here are a couple of the calves born in the fall of 2012. Pictures were taken in the summer of 2013. The first is a purebred Beltie and the second is a Beltie x Angus. 

Beltie calf, 9 months old

Beltie calf, 9 months old

Beltie x Angus

Beltie x Angus

We enjoy learning more as we grow and improve our herd of cattle. Breeding for better cattle is one way we improve our grassfed beef and strengthen our business.