Grass is the staple feed for all our cattle!

Our entire management plan is dictated on minimizing inputs while maximizing the use of grass and grass hay in the diets of our cattle.

Cows: Our first calves are due on April 20 and we continue to calve into June for a 60 day calving season. We calve at that time of the year to take advantage of the lush spring growth of grass to get the cow back into condition for re-breeding while getting her calf off to a fast start. We calve on pasture and supplement hay, protein, and mineral until the grass growth can maintain the cow (sometime between May 1 and May 15). After that the only supplement is a high quality mineral product. We rotationally graze our cows and move them every 1-3 days while resting pastures from 20-30 days after grazing. This allows the grass to establish excellent root structure and enhances soil productivity. This not only provides nutritious feed for the cattle but it maximizes photosynthesis for the sequestering of carbon while encouraging optimal development of various beneficial “critters” that live in the soil. We pasture cows as long as possible which usually goes into November on stockpiled grass.

AI (artificial insemination) season starts July 15 and goes for 21 days. Historically, we AI over 90% of our cows by visual observation and obtain a 70% conception rate. We turn bulls out after the AI season and pull the bulls from the cows on September 15.

After the pasture grazing season, we let the cows forage in corn stalk fields with supplemental grass hay for the winter.

Calves: The calves run with their mothers until they are weaned on November 1. Up to weaning, the calves thrive on their mother’s milk and the lush clover/grass pastures. Prior to weaning, the calves get two rounds of vaccinations and we start a creep program on October 1. After weaning the calves are grouped by sex.

Heifer Calves: The heifer group is maintained as a fairly pure contemporary group up to a year of age. They are fed to express their genetic potential without getting fat. The heifers are developed with high quality hay, protein/mineral supplement, and minimal amount of a grain mix. We feed for an average daily gain (ADG) of around 2 lb/day. This brings the heifers to 750-950 lb at a year of age.

After taking yearling weight and getting ultrasound information for rib eye size and marbling, the calves are turned out on pasture with grass and a mineral supplementation. They are bred at the same time as the cow herd.

Bull Calves: The bull calves are treated fairly similar to the heifer calves. After we get weaning weights, we select the top end to remain as bull calves with the balance castrated and sold as feeder cattle. We take DNA samples on all our bull calves. The bulls are developed with high quality hay and a grain supplement. They are fed to gain 3-3.5 lb/day. The bulls are available for sale after we get their yearling weight, ultrasound information and they pass a BSE (Breeding Soundness Exam). Historically the bulls wean at 600+ lb and have a yearling weight of 1,100-1,350 lb.

Deuteronomy 11: 15: I (the Lord) will provide grass in the fields for your cattle… Just as the Lord has made a promise to the Israelites, He still is the one that provides the feed for our cattle! We thank the Lord for the opportunity to be caretakers of a little piece of His creation for a short period of time.