Current as of 2020-06-28 17:43:18 +0000
Cattle ranching - 100% grass-fed
Currently we have mixed cattle that are of several breeds:
- a number of mixed (Charolais, Limousin, Retinta, probably other) cows and 3 steers
- 16 pure Limousin cows and a Limousin steer
Before we actually get to offer anything made from cattle we need to figure out a legal way to slaughter. At this time any form of on-farm slaughter is not allowed.
All of the farmers in our area sell off weaned calfs to feedlots where they get fed grain to reach quickly the slaughter weight. This form of business isn’t very lucrative economically (price per animal between 350 EUR to 600 EUR), isn’t nice to the animals and neither does it create a quality product.
Once that issue has been resolved in a satisfactory way we can offer:
- Spanish cuts
- American cuts
- Dry aged beef
- Fertilizer from blood and bone meal
- Feed for our chickens via insects (flies)
As we cannot offer meat from our cattle at the moment, we can focus on something else that is very important:
We use cattle to regenerate soil fertility by moving them around from paddock to paddock frequently. That opens up the soil, stimulates plant growth for longer root systems and thus a better resistance to drought.
We have observed the re-emergence of Cynodon dactylon, which is a C4 plant species suitable for the hot summer.
Continue in the Grazing Management and Pasture Management sections.
The minimal equipment needed to keep cattle is a chute (spanish mangada). We have an old one left by the previous owners:
We gather the cattle in the enclosed area and can then treat each one in the chute. This works well.
However, we cannot separate animals and put them into different pens. We can also pass all of them through the chute and then they go wherever they want to.
We are planning to build a new cattle sorting facility so that we can work with them once a month to inspect their health, take their weight and, if needed, separate them easily and safely into groups.
As of mid 2020 the cows of mixed breed have given birth to 5 calfs. We’ve had a number of losses due to:
- big male calfs
- mother cows unable to push out the calf due to a too small birth channel
- intermittent cold and wet weather shortly after birth
An open stable could provide a more controlled environment and also provide a dry place for mother and calf. This could be the same building as the quarantine shelter for pigs while it is not in use for pigs.
At this time we are not doing anything with regards to genetics.
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