Moving the Herd
Several of our valued customers asked me last week why our 100% grass-fed beef tastes so much better than some of the other local brands they have sampled. I humbly accepted the accolade and replied that it was surely a combination of nature and nurture. It’s likely that less successful pastured beef is the product of a place that lacks the grass to finish the desired number of head. The cattle were probably eating too far down the grass into the hard stems that are supported with protein-rich cellulose. Protein contains nitrogen that breaks down into uric acid and can impart gamy, strong flavor – not in a good way. We have answered that challenge with a resource-distributed solution, contract grazing our animals at several locations that we do not own.
We believe in placing medium-sized cattle with the ability to fatten on pasture (some of our cross-bred Red Devons shown here) into a rotational grazing program that keeps them eating the lush top half of the plant where the sugars are concentrated. We all know that carbs turn into fat – and that’s a good thing for heritage beef that are thrifty by nature. The fats they assimilate are good for us – high in healthy Omega-3 fatty acids with 4-7 times the Vitamins A, B and E compared with grain-finished feedlot beef.
As for taste, we need to make sure the cattle have enough grass that most of it is rested most of the time. This requires us to consider stocking density and carrying capacity of the land. By using mobile electric poly-braid wire on a reel system, pastures can be subdivided into smaller paddocks that encourage concentrated grazing for short duration followed by 30 day rest period. This maintains a diverse pasture with a variety of grasses and weeds that pull up minerals (flavor) from deep in the subsoil. Certain grasses will not tolerate hard grazing close to the ground and are eliminated from pastures that receive too much pressure.
The manure and trampled grass enrich the soil ecology and support an active community of worms, insects and microbes that builds fertility and strengthens the pasture’s capability to generate high-value regrowth. The hoofprints function as minature reservoirs that improve infiltration and ground water recharge. The land is greatly improved through the periodic presence of grazing ruminants and responds with increased vigor. The care and attention given to quality managed pasture yields a satisfying dividend of tasty free-ranged grass-fed beef. Thank you for supporting local livestock production.
Respecting the Protein, PMB