We started farming cattle on pasture in 2016. It was a lot to start. Our farm wasn’t set up for cattle and we didn’t have pasture as we were surrounded by corn fields. So we had to plant pastures and then wait a year to put cattle on them. During that year we built fences and facilities to handle Cattle.
We did that 3 years in a row. From 6 acres the first year, expanded to 28 acres the second year, and to 34 acres the third year. Once we had all 34 acres into production Christa and I high-fived and immediately I said to her “What are we going to do if we have a drought?” After a lot of reading we changed the way we farmed.
Farm and Animal information:
We intensely rotate our cattle to new pasture everyday during the summer months. The Farm Bureau for this area recommends 2 acres per animal for adequate pasture. We average 36 Steers all year long so by this practice we would need 72 acres for 5 months of pasture and then need to supplement with hay. By moving the cattle daily, managing the land, and giving the ground a chance to rest we are raising 36 Steers on 36 acres and that includes baling hay on this same land to get us through an entire year with hay to sell.
This past year the farm was amazing. Last spring I noticed an absurd amount of Robins in the yard. I went out to the pastures and noticed a small red tint, I thought what in the world is that.. Robins thousands of them. This was huge as proof of our farming techniques improving the land. The birds were there for the worms. Healthy worms healthy soil. Healthy soil grows healthy plants. Healthy plants equal healthy cattle which makes incredible beef. On our farm the ground is treated as the most important thing. We are forage farmers first and the cattle are the benefactors of that. We have messed around with different breeds of cattle depending on the life cycle of the farm.
We started with American breeds / Angus crossbreds. Then we switched to Belted Galloways which is one of the oldest breeds of domesticated cattle. The idea behind that was to give our farm a chance to establish itself. (pasture health) Belties only eat 17lbs of hay per day as an American breed eats 24 lbs per day. So the Belties ate less hay but continued the cycle of having cattle improve the soil. Now that the soil has become better we have moved back to American breeds of cattle which are bigger.
Belted Galloways weigh between 800 – 1,000lbs when they are finished. American Breeds will be between 1,100 and 1,300 lbs.