Our cattle are pasture raised (grass fed) and grain finished. Our calves are born on pasture and enjoy the grass between their hooves for as long as the weather allows it!
Why don't we let them graze in the winter? Due to our location, grass is not nutritionally dense in the winter months. What is available for them to eat will not provide them with the proper nutrition that they need. When snow falls, cattle can have a hard time "busting" through the snow to graze any grass that would be left (which isn't high in nutrients at this time). When we do supplement with grain during the winter months, it is approximately 1.5% of the animals total body weigh. (That is not much!)
At finishing (when the cattle are consuming grain prior to being butchered) they will continue to have full access to hay that we harvested ourselves and are fed grain twice a day. They choose what they want to eat and when.
**The majority of forage (hay) our cattle consume during the winter months is harvested by us. If we do have to purchase, for example due to drought, we purchase from neighbors who meet our high standards in quality.
Our cattle are only administered antibiotics when they are sick or injured. Very few cattle will ever receive antibiotics. Our cattle health is our top priority and we treat each animal humanely and provide them with the best care possible. Examples of antibiotic use are pinkeye, a respiratory infection, or injury.
For example, if we do not treat a calf that has pinkeye with antibiotics, it could not only go blind but also spread pinkeye to all other animals in the same pasture. When a calf is treated with antibiotics, we keep records of what they receive, when, and the amount. We are diligent with our record keeping and herd health.
Yes! We use no-till practices on crop ground not only to benefit the soil health but to also allow our cattle to graze corn stalks. Our cows graze corn stalks and help naturally break down the remaining corn plant while fertilizing the field with manure. When allowing cattle to graze corn stalks after harvest, it has been scientifically proven to help improve yields in your crops the following years. Benefiting the farmer, rancher, and environment, corn stalk grazing is great for everyone.
We utilize cover crops, like rye, to improve soil health, enhance water availability, smother weeds, help naturally control pests and diseases, increase biodiversity and provide another forage source for our cattle.
We use rotational grazing on our pastures to improve plant and soil health. Every year our goal is to leave our pastures in better shape then when we started the grazing season. This includes spreading manure from our pens to our pastures, providing them with needed organic matter and nutrients.
Our pasture is not only a place for our cattle, we have fresh water springs running through the pasture. The wildlife ecosystem is important to us as well. We also see many wildlife including deer, turkeys, pheasants, and more in our pastures.
We also take the beef suet (fat) from harvesting our animals and create tallow products. You can view our new website, Thistle & Bloom, by clicking here.
We choose to not implant our cattle with hormones. If you would like to learn more information regarding hormones used in beef cattle production, click here.