Saturday, September 17, 2011

Learning is Fun!

I am learning a LOT! As many of you know I am definitely a computer novice, I'm just getting the hang of uploading pictures to facebook for goodness sakes! But with friends like Civilized Caveman Cooking Creations and Date Night Doin's I'm having to definitely take a crash course! Several of my Ag. Buddies are great bloggers and they are teaching this ol' cowgirl the ropes! I never dreamed that the life I live would become a subject of interest.
People are becoming much more interested in where their food comes from and how it gets to their plate, and as an educator this seem like a logical progression to me. I have spent years teaching those in the industry about genetics, breed selection, range management, feeds and feeding. I think it is wonderful that the general population is getting interested as well. I realize that you may not want to know how many pounds of seed it takes to cover an acre of ground, but you do want to know what kind of seed is planted and why. As a grass farmer I feel it is important for you to know the difference between grass fed and grass finished. You need to be aware of the differences between Cow/ calf operations and stockers, feeders and grazers. Appropriate Species specific diets are crucial to great end products. For example: Cattle finished in a feedlot on grain are different from cattle fed hay in pens and those are different still from cattle finished on living forage. Muscle mass, fat content, and flavor differ significantly with each production model. The same goes for sheep and goats. 90% of us have to feed baled grasses at sometime during the year BUT we don't market at that time because the quality of the meat is lower and lacks the finish our customer base has come to expect. People will tell you that grass finished animals will not grade, NOTHING is further fro the truth. Grass finished beef and lamb will consistantly grade choice or higher on grass when managed corrrectly.
Pork and poultry being monogastric(single stomached) omnivores require a completely different feeding program. They cannot and will not survive on grass alone. Vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and yes even insects and other animals are part of their dietary needs. We personally do not feed any GM plant matter to any of our livestock and have never used soy based feeds. We are even having to make changes to our permanent finishing pastures due to the deregulaton of GM alfalfa and the fact that it is grown in our drift plain.(upwind).
Now that I have that out of the way, I also intend to keep you up to date about things happening here at the home farm, Like the lamb that was born last week and the custom hogs that are growing in the summer garden. I'm still weak in the picture posting department so for now the facebook page will have to do!
Please feel free to ask questions and I will answer them here for everyone.
Until next time!

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