First Step to Raising Cattle, Lamb or Chicken is Growing Grass
From small farms to larger farming and cattle operations, improving pastures has become the focus for many farmers Nationwide. Growing healthy lush pasture grass has become more important than ever before. Thus, small farm operations and homesteaders Nationwide have been leaning more towards permaculture pastures over traditional AG.
If you’re just starting out with a small farm, or you are re-assessing your current operation, you may want to adjust your thinking towards farming. Are you “growing” beef, lamb or chicken, or are you growing grass? Growing great pastures year-round has become a priority and the focus for farmers, especially where it’s feasible to do so. The theory is, that when the grass grows lush, so will your herds and flocks.
Healthy Pastures, Healthy Return
Homesteaders who are raising cattle, lamb or even meat birds have realized the cost effectiveness of abundant pastures. The health benefits alone should be a good enough reason to get that grass growing! It’s long been said that “You are what you eat,” thus, what goes into your meat cows, dairy cows, lamb or any food source, goes into you and the consumers of your product.
Foul, like meat chickens that are grass fed are much healthier than grain fed birds or livestock that feed on mostly grain and hay. If in doubt, look to the natural and original eating habits of the animals you are raising. There wasn’t always a human, hay or grain for feeding, there was simply mother earth. Mass production and traditional AG changed everything from the quality of our food, to the quality of our soil.
Health Benefits of Permaculture Pastures
Like humans, grazing animals need water. It is a life source for all living things. Since fresh grass contains more water than haylage or hay, feeding your grazers grass will always be preferable. But, is it possible to do this year round? Probably not, depending on location and other factors you most likely will have to supplement with hay in the winter months. But the more green grass you have on your farm for feed, the better!
There are of course a number of different factors that will determine the daily nutritional and dietary requirements of your grazers and supplementing will probably be necessary. Focusing on things that can enrich your soil to produce greener, fuller pastures for your livestock however, is rarely a waste of time or effort. Permaculture farming is just one way to produce healthier animals and food on your tables. Even if you must supplement due to limited pastures, something is always better than nothing at all.
How Does Your Grass Grow?
If you are a farmer or homesteader who would like to share your tips on growing better grass, we want to know! We offer a few quick tips below on how to get started on growing great pastures. Remember, depending on your landscape, and location, pasture grass can and does differ from one area to the other. Pastures can include a variety of natural resources and dietary supplements for your grazers to enjoy! For larger operations,
Quick Tips for Growing Better Pastures
- Improve and maintain soil health – Soil health much depends on where your farm is located. Soil testing is the first step to making a plan to grow better pastures on your farm. Knowing what it lacks is the first step to making adjustments.
- Use cover crops garden and kitchen waste for feed – This is a very basic tip for homesteaders or small farm operations. Everyone knows what you put into your animals comes back out. This process helps to create the natural fertilizers that are crucial to building healthy soils.
- Use the unique skills each of your farm animals – Let your animals work and improve your soil and pastures for you! Chickens will clean up after your herd, working the good stuff in and taking the bad things out (fly larvae, etc.) Pigs will fertilize and till and they can even clear wooded or overgrown outlying areas of your current pasture to increase the amount of pasture for your herds or flocks.
** Don’t forget the importance of herd rotation.
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