Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Updates on the new site and some ideas

The New Website is well underway and should be up soon. Sorry for the delay. I would like to include a new project on the new site. Since we have both a bottle baby and a bucket calf this season I would like to chronicle their journey from Pasture to Plate. It takes 7-10 months for a lamb to reach harvest weight and condition, and 22-28 months for a steer. You would get to follow the process and see how much time and effort it actually takes to get a Grass Fed and Finished animal to the table. Some of you may not want to "KNOW" the ins and outs but it will definitely change some perspectives. For example: That cute lamb that follows Jason around like a puppy right now won't be so cute at 130lbs. The calf that wants attention and likes to be petted at 90lbs won't be so cuddly at 1400lbs.
 I'm planting 2 pastures at the home place for these guys, one to grow on and one to finish on. They are by no means the same space as the range cattle and sheep enjoy but will demonstrate the feeding system on a micro scale. It should take a total of 1/2 an acre for the lamb to rotate through and about twice that for the steer. The pastures will require irrigation and close management so that they don't get over grazed. In a totally range based system you can just about triple the needed space per animal to bring them to finish. The Growing pasture has a good base in already(I just have to take the farm flock out in the open field so that it isn't stripped bare before we get started!) and will be overseeded with Annual Rye, Brome, Fescue, subterrainian Bermuda, and Clover. The finishing pasture is going in from scratch with Ladino, Trefoil, Beardless Barley, Oatgrass, and White Clover. I'm experimenting with no Alfalfa in the fields this year just in case they don't get GM Alfalfa stopped. Both babies are doing well and the grass should be plenty high enough by the time they are weaned. "Shadow" the lamb is already nibbling on baled grass and 1321 won't be far behind. They are both currently on Cow's milk right now (Thank God for the Dairy!) with a little baking soda added to the lambs milk to bring the acidity up to what he needs. Oscar has the garden ready for planting so all the seed starts go out in the next week or so. We now have a pair of Emu chicks as well. I'm not quite sure what we will do with them but they are here. I'm not a fan of birds to begin with and 6 foot birds that kick like a mule are definitely not my idea of a farm animal! But Oscar wants to keep them and with as much as he does around here I just can't say no. (Thats how I got chickens and an extra horse too.) Well let me know what you think of the ideas and be sure to send me yours if you think of anything in particular that you want to see growing around here.
Until Next Time

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