Author Topic: Beyond Grass fed  (Read 9173 times)

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Offline dariorpl

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Re: Beyond Grass fed
« Reply #25 on: June 25, 2016, 06:53:53 am »
RogueFarmer, where do you live? And are you currently farming? And if not, are you looking to get back into it?
We now live in a world where medicine destroys health, law destroys justice, education destroys knowledge, government destroys order, the press destroys information, religion destroys morals, and banking destroys the economy

Offline RogueFarmer

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Re: Beyond Grass fed
« Reply #26 on: June 25, 2016, 02:35:25 pm »
I live in Southern Oregon and I am doing some amount of farming.

Sabertooth, I am not at all trying to say fescue hay is ever suitable feed however in certain growing conditions even kentucky 51 endophyte fescue can be pretty much the best perennial forage that is actually still green in most of the United States. Now if you are planting pastures, you could instead use meadow fescue which is more palatable and does not have endophyte as well as endophyte free fescue and even "friendly" endophyte fescue which has a special endophyte which does not produce the toxins associated with regular endophyte Kentucky 51 tall fescue. As far as I know there are few other perennials that can replace fescue in quality for a winter forage in the midwestern united states. In order to do better I know of two ways, one would be to plant a crop of winter rye, winter wheat or triticale for winter grazing which produces some of the most nutritious grass possible on earth and two to have some kind of a grazing vineyard of honey suckle, which retains it's leaves and protein content long into the winter.

Bison are adapted to eat native stockpiled forages. Buffalo grass, big and little blue stem, indian grass and switch grass all make excellent winter feed for bison but are inedible to cattle after they grow too tall and throughout the winter. As well, bison's metabolism in winter slows down more than cattle, deer and elk, even more so, lessening their dietary requirements to make it through harsh winters. This is the biggest advantage of native livestock in the Americas.

It is extremely difficult to displace fescue once it is there. It is basically the hardiest cool season grass because of the symbiotic endophyte and because of it's spreading and crowning root system it is difficult and sometimes impossible to eradicate without use of harmful chemicals or great effort in machinery and cover cropping. Using Holisitc Management, fescue can literally be clobbered so hard by cattle hooves and manure that diversity is naturally forced onto fescue pastures. It is possible with one heavy grazing to increase biodiversity many times over. Fescue toxicity stops being recognizable after fescue is reduced to a smaller proportion of fescue domination. Traditional grazing as well as MIG encourages fescue. Fescue LOVES MIG, if you use MIG in the fescue belt of the midwest and southern united states I bet you will end up with a field of at least 90% fescue in less than ten years. Using HM, native grasses are able to compete against fescue and start to naturally establish themselves, the seeds somehow brought in by birds or stored in the ground, waiting for the right conditions.

You can base your beef farm off of fescue pastures, but that doesn't mean your finished product has to ever have personally eaten any fescue. How much will feeding a beef cow fescue harm her calf if her calf only ever eats improved pastures lacking in fescue?

I think it's important to remember why we grew beef cattle in the first place. Beef cattle are probably the most or second or third most economical source of meat on the planet. A beef cow can live off pasture that would starve all but the hardiest animals. A beef cow can survive and raise a calf where little else can be grown. Over 70% of beef cattle are in the tropics or sub tropics where grass grows incredibly lush but low in nutrition. There are parts of Africa where most livestock and humans die within months of living there in the wrong season due to a particular species of fly, but native cows can survive there.

I think there is good beef grown on fescue pastures. I raised my livestock for 2 years on fescue based pastures, their meat and milk was incredibly delicious, my cow in August in the middle of a drought was in better condition than most of the jerseys I visited that year at the Ohio State Fair.

I also fed my livestock kelp and they ate a lot of other things besides fescue.

I did feed my livestock fescue hay one year because it was almost impossible to find hay that year and I will tell you I will never do that again however, that year I also managed to only feed hay for a month and three weeks and my jersey cows grazed and dug through snow and grazed all winter long that year.

I think what eric said about high sugar and protein forages being lower in overall nutrition. Now those crops can be extremely nutritious in ideal conditions however, if conditions are not ideal those crops will be inferior quality. A better solution to building a better diet would then be to plant a higher diversity instead of trying to rely on a few high yielding and superior nutrition forages. What people forget is that these "superior nutrition forages" generally can only match but not surpass many of the "weeds" growing in their pastures in nutritional quality. However there are some super nutritious crops that have ludicrous quantities of sugar, protein and minerals. Most of them are weeds and as I am trying to explain, many that have excellent soil requirements, so often fail to meet expectations.

I think there are farms that produce good quality beef on fescue pastures, but perhaps you wouldn't like their quality either, you should try Polyface beef and Green Pastures farm and see how their beef tastes if you can.

You should also probably go to NZ because their whole beef production model is basically grass fed beef fed so well that the meat is so tender you can cut it with a butter knife.

I think the best compromise would be to buy a really quality piece of land, raise the best economic beef business you can that earns you money, which will also allow you to feast on your retired bulls and cull cows.

I have mostly heard 4 different influences on flavor and eating quality of beef. 1 the faster the animal is growing the more tender the meat will be and as soon as growth slows toughness onsets. 2 a mixture of forages is important for a balanced fatty acid profile and improved flavor and forage quality throughout the grazing life of the animal. 3 the way the animal is killed and the way the meat is stored and preserved after slaughter 4 the older an animal is the more flavor it has. The best tasting beef according to the editor of the stockman grass farmer was from a 20 year old cow. this is my experience as well, the best hamburger I ever ate was from my friends beef farm (which happens to be fescue based) from his 20 or 30 year old cull cows!

Finally, you may find this hard to believe but before he died, Bob Evans had a 2000 acre permaculture farm. Yes Bob Evans from the restaurant chain that serves breakfast foods and sells sausage! He was even quoted to say that if had learned about managed grazing when he was younger he never would have gotten into the sausage business!

Bob Evans managed to graze his cattle in Rio Grande Ohio all but 2 days out of the year. He was working on a system to utilize honey suckle for winter pasture when he died.

Offline RogueFarmer

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Re: Beyond Grass fed
« Reply #27 on: June 25, 2016, 02:41:18 pm »
Wheat grass is usually a sham. Wheat grass to be truly high quality, must have 1 leaf per grass plant. As soon as the wheat plant makes a second leaf, the nutrition drops off incredibly.

Sabertooth, if you want your holy grail of forage, the best soils in America if properly minerally balanced can produce oat grass with blades 14 inches or more, single blades that are the most nutritious food ever recorded growing on land supposedly.

Another really good thing is Eastern Gamma grass which is basically perennial native corn that produces epic amounts of superior quality summer forage, is flood resistant and if properly managed can live for over a thousand years.

I am really interested in this website. I want to compile a seed mixture to plant native flowers and herbs and whatever I can add to quality pasture seed mixes.

http://www.edenbrothers.com/

Offline cherimoya_kid

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Re: Beyond Grass fed
« Reply #28 on: June 25, 2016, 10:18:55 pm »
Damn. You boys know your grass and grazing.

Offline sabertooth

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Re: Beyond Grass fed
« Reply #29 on: June 27, 2016, 01:23:49 am »
I will agree that knowledge of cultivated and wild pasture grasses can be crucial for optimal cultivation of livestock on confined, managed and limited pastures, when going beyond Grass fed isn't an option

I believe one of my reasons for preferring sheep to most beef, is that when given an option, sheep typically avoid eating fescue and other sub quality forage if given the opertunity. In general sheep are more picky than cows and I've even noticed that when given supplemental roll bails sheep tend to pick out what they want and leave what they dont, unlike most cows which have bred to eat practically anything. Perhaps by choosing sheep from small scale operations which do not typically over graze or seed their fields, I have been able to avoid some of the down sides of farmed meat which seems to affect much of the beef I have come across.

Ideally, I like the Idea of giving the animal a wide enough free range that they have the opertunity to decide for themselves what they like best, leaving human judgement out of the picture as much as humanly possible. The trend of taking highly domesticated breeds and confining them to domesticated pastures artificially implanted with cultivated grasses, goes against the more extremist principles of paleo nutrition. That being said, domesticated beggars cant be free ranging choosers, and the entire scope of meat production has long ago shifted away from wild ranging, toward confinement livestock and subsistence cultivation of supplemental feed grass, so many farmers have to do the best they can with the methods available.

The fact that farmers under the newfangled regime arbitrarily micromanage the constitution of the lands bio dynamic make up, as well as selectively breed livestock to fit into contrived production models, seems to go against the natural order, which many people like my self are seeking to reestablish. Trans-generational epi-genetic adaption have given us breeding stock which have become more and more dependent on these artificial conditions, and less and less able to thrive without human interventions. After generations of being artificially overfed unbalanced diets combine with inbreeding, the survivalist mechanisms which allowed for the tweaking of metabolic function, to enable animals to eek out through periods of famine, have been conditioned out, in order to allow for ultra fast growing traits to be established, no matter the consequences to other qualities, so that now much of the domestic cattle cannot thrive without these chronic and extrinsic human interventions. 

As is above so is below, and these trends to domesticate and breed out wildest and most tenacious characteristics of our livestock, while at the same time limiting the variety of forage to a small range of highly cultivated pastures of primarily cultivated grasses...must have an effect on those of us who are on the other end of the food chain. No matter the good intentions of grass based operations, many are still guilty of trying to change the environmental imperatives to suit the needs of economics, instead of adapting the economics to fit the environmental imperatives.

I am beginning to explore the possibilities of sustaining myself on more on the wild side of the food chain....The wild long horns from Arizona that thrive foraging on desert plants like the Jojoba bush, and have much different qualities than the mowed pasture beef of the south east where I live. Wild heirloom cattle have been less-adulterated by human intervention to evolve and thrive within their own environmental niche. Cultivated breeds of confined pastured animals are not given the same chance to naturally adapt in the way open range animals are. If an open range animal does not gain weight at the same rate as a cultivated cow, it isn't an issue... since there is little or no cost to let it grow in accord with its own seasons, there isn't any reason to selectively breed for fastest growth. On the contrary if there is a bad year for cultivated pastures and the animals dont grow as fast there is huge economic pressures to supplemental feed sub-optimal grasses in order to get the animal to slaughter weight as fast as possible. Such methods totally negate the cycles of the seasons so never give the animals the chance to grow and adapt to the rhythms of the natural world. These animals become accustom to and dependent upon artificial means for survival, to the point where they can no longer evolve in sync with the earth. They have never been allowed to starve out a few famine seasons to test their ability to survive extremes like their open ranging counterparts, and so never developed the metabolic adaptations which would allow for survival under more environmentally natural situations.

In the spirit of re-wilding, going beyond grass-fed, and in the quest of the holy grail of the purest flesh under the sun, I seek take the next step that hopefully could lead back to a personal primordial paradise. I have located a Ranch in Western Kentucky, which is about as wilderness as I can find in my home state, and is only miles away from where my grandfather was born, so it is very indigenous to me on a genetic level. It is a forage based operation that supplements with a minimal amount of their own rye grass in the winter. I picked up 10 pounds of suit from a 4 year old cow that was absolutely delicious. The family that runs the ranch of about 300 head, actually adopted a cooked paleo diet, after a few of the members used it to cure digestive issues which seemed similar to my own.

The issue I have is, do I want to put down the money to buy a half of a cow, and then have to commit to eating one animal for about a three month period? Also, I have the option to choose between a 10 year old cow and a 11 year old bull? I am extremely curious about the bull meat, but am not familiar enough to be sure about committing to it, especially if I have to share it with any co investors. They have a family owned Amish butcher so I am sure I could get them to save all the parts, hopefully some blood as well. I like the idea of a long term experiment with all the bull fat, organs and flesh I could possibly eat?

My supply of Arizona meat will soon be out and a decision will have to be made soon. I may get a sheep, or an other short term option would be to order more Jojoba from the rancher, then have my friend who gets free air fare to mule back 50 pounds or so to tide me over until I set up the slaughter?
« Last Edit: June 27, 2016, 01:37:16 am by sabertooth »
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Offline RogueFarmer

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Re: Beyond Grass fed
« Reply #30 on: June 27, 2016, 04:37:28 am »
Get the bull.

Offline RogueFarmer

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Re: Beyond Grass fed
« Reply #31 on: June 28, 2016, 01:45:20 am »
Wild animals are less picky than domesticated animals. It is the domesticated animals who have been bred for almost a century and often much longer to eat out of a feed pail or trough who are picky.

Of course because nature is no longer truly natural wild animals are probably to some extent more picky than they used to be.

Cows are not bred to eat just anything, they evolved to eat all sorts of flowering plants. 27 million years ago, 2 million years before grass evolved! They are adapted to be efficiency eaters, who fork in large quantities of bulk food. Goats and deer are the other end of the grazing spectrum, they select the most sugary tips of as many different kinds of plants as they can seemingly manage.

Icelandic sheep are much less picky than regular sheep or any other livestock I have experienced raising other than perhaps bison and definitely donkeys (donkeys as far as I know are the only grazers that seem to prefer grass stems to fresh foliage). My ewes would frequently stop to graze as they travel and would seemingly excitedly gobble up just about anything in their path, including dry yellow dead grass, when many green options were available. They were also keenly interested in the cedar swamp where i lived, where little vegetation grew and my goats would bypass as a means to get across the farm, rather than a place to find things to eat.

Goats and Deer can AFFORD to be picky because of their lifestyles. Deer are woods recluses that hide their babies in thickets when they go out to eat. Goats do the same but are additionally reside in cliffs on caves and in abandoned human settlements. Goats find a good hiding space that they return to each and every night. In humid climates goats must be within 15 miles of the ocean or a natural salt deposit for them to survive.

Large herds of grazing animals like sheep, cows, bison, water buffalo, antelope, these animals in the wild could not afford to be picky, they were constantly alert of their surroundings, on the move to avoid predation and to get enough food as they were competing with countless of their own kind as well as other herds of grazers.

They relied instead on the natural system that they themselves had created! They were their own gardeners, they created the environment in which they lived, grass evolved in response to cattle! 
The American Indians, burned the forest and brush, to make room for grass to grow for more bison and thus grew more topsoil than any other people in history. Without those ten thousand years of history prior, America would not have become the super power in the world it is today.

Holistic management is attempting to mimic nature. This is an absolute necessity for the survival of mankind today, for as the land the animals created who are now mostly dead, gives way to waste land, there are not enough wild animals alive today to save us, to bring back the fertile soils we have destroyed. Our only hope is to utilize the domestic livestock we still have to improve the natural conditions so that nature can even beguine to recover, in our lifetimes.

Offline RogueFarmer

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Re: Beyond Grass fed
« Reply #32 on: June 28, 2016, 01:51:22 am »
All my livestock were pretty much friends. The goat kids would climb on the cows as they were napping. The goats could eat the seed heads on the grass and the shrubs and cut branches, the sheep ate all the weeds, the cows ate all the grass. Every day I would move the fence to new pasture, all of the animals would immediately tromp into the new fresh pasture, all of them except the donkeys who were content to much on the stems that were left behind. Studies show sheep and cows raised together yield the farmer 20% more than either alone. Approximately 10% of that was estimated to be because of superior pasture utilization, while the other 10% was estimated to be as a result of "unknown factors" that cause sheep and cows to grow faster on average when raised in conjunction on pasture!

Offline Eric

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Re: Beyond Grass fed
« Reply #33 on: June 28, 2016, 01:56:28 am »
Thinking about the original title of this post, another thing I've grown interested in is raising and eating insects. The book Edible, by Daniella Martin, offers instructions at the end for raising crickets, mealworms and waxworms. I want to try doing that. I think it would be a great way to gain access to very high quality protein and fat, and I could enhance the omega 3 content of the insects by feeding them omega-3 rich plant foods that I might not be able to digest and utilize as well, like flax seeds.
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Re: Beyond Grass fed
« Reply #34 on: June 28, 2016, 02:00:22 am »
All this has made me decide to only choose farm animals designed to endure a cold climate. Fortunately, in Austria, it is possible to buy wild deer, wild hare and wild boar etc., so that won't be a problem.
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Offline cherimoya_kid

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Re: Beyond Grass fed
« Reply #35 on: June 28, 2016, 04:38:43 am »
Thinking about the original title of this post, another thing I've grown interested in is raising and eating insects. The book Edible, by Daniella Martin, offers instructions at the end for raising crickets, mealworms and waxworms. I want to try doing that. I think it would be a great way to gain access to very high quality protein and fat, and I could enhance the omega 3 content of the insects by feeding them omega-3 rich plant foods that I might not be able to digest and utilize as well, like flax seeds.

If we really wanted to intelligently utilize the grain that gets grown, we'd feed it all to insects, then feed the fresh/raw insects to chickens/turkeys/pigs, instead of direct feeding grain. Lower yield, but MUCH better quality meat.

Offline Eric

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Re: Beyond Grass fed
« Reply #36 on: June 28, 2016, 06:27:10 am »
Why not just eat the insects?
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Offline cherimoya_kid

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Re: Beyond Grass fed
« Reply #37 on: June 28, 2016, 08:58:45 am »
Why not just eat the insects?

I'm not against it. It would take some time to convince the general population, though.

Offline sabertooth

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Re: Beyond Grass fed
« Reply #38 on: June 28, 2016, 11:53:14 am »
Wild animals are less picky than domesticated animals. It is the domesticated animals who have been bred for almost a century and often much longer to eat out of a feed pail or trough who are picky.

Holistic management is attempting to mimic nature. This is an absolute necessity for the survival of mankind today, for as the land the animals created who are now mostly dead, gives way to waste land, there are not enough wild animals alive today to save us, to bring back the fertile soils we have destroyed. Our only hope is to utilize the domestic livestock we still have to improve the natural conditions so that nature can even beguine to recover, in our lifetimes.


Its hard to generalize many of these trends, because have had different observations regarding the pickiness of domesticated animals. Living in thoroughbred country Ive seen the cream of the crop of cultivated live stock, the Kentucky race horse. The most spoiled thoroughbreds will grass in fields heavy with Kentucky bluegrass and be given premium hay blends of timothy, orchard grass, alfalfa...then supplemented with oats. They are the royalty of domesticated animals and the most spoiled ones will turn their nose up at sub quality hay, especially if it is moldy. Ive helped move hay for farmers who said their horses wouldn't eat it, and had to give it over to the cows who didn't seem to mind. Bad hay will kill a horse, but I've seen cows mow down yellow mildewy fescue bails without qualm....Sheep can be picky in regard to how many will avoid eating fescue and Ive seem them pick through hay bails and only eat the sweet tops, leaving the stalks.

We do seem to be the inheritors of a legacy of environmental atrophy which began when the large wild foragers where either wiped out or fenced in. The great herds were a driving force behind the evolution of a living landscape. Land that was once shaped by mega fauna gave way to smaller and smaller animals which continued to shape it according to their own needs. Even smaller animals like the beaver had a huge impact upon the bio dynamics of the escape. The little oasis's created by these creatures made much of north America lush and apealing to the great herds. With the decimation of the busy beavers, the wiping out of the buffalo hoards, the extracting of the lands life force though mono crop industrial agriculture, the establishment of mans unnatural order is suppressing the living systems of natural regeneration, which requires free movement of biologically diverse organisms to work optimally.   

My nutshell vision of what an enlightened solution would be is to open the land up to the mega herds. Get the army core of engineers to build mini damns and reservoirs throughout the land, and allow for the free ranging of mega herds cattle and buffalo to roam the vast wilderness. Let us re-wild set loose the ruminants upon most the land which is currently designated as off limits for grazing animals in the name of phony conservationism.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2016, 11:58:18 am by sabertooth »
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Offline svrn

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Re: Beyond Grass fed
« Reply #39 on: August 15, 2016, 06:17:21 am »
whole foods grass fed meat is absolutely vile. Its color is pale. It gives me digstive discomfort.

I dont know if the meat is simply crap or theyre doing something to it before i get it.

Other supermarkets with grassfed like fairway are just as horrid.
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Offline dair

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Re: Beyond Grass fed
« Reply #40 on: January 04, 2018, 06:23:58 pm »
interesting thread...
There is a very big focus on cattle and bigger animal, in general, not only in paleo circles, but among cooked meat eaters as well.
Would be nice to diversify also, with fowl, hare, deer, and any other local animal that can be hunted or that could be eaten, including insects, squirrel, ducks etc...
Big animal such as cattle are heavy, and walk on the soil creating a certain habitat, with certain plant to thrive. But that also mean that other plants would not be able to grow there, because they are more fragile and would be crushed by the weight of the animal. Fukuoka, a japanese guy into natural farming once said that he wouldn't allow an animal heavier than a chicken on his grounds and gardens, other animals would crush and stamp the soil, making harder and more compact, destroying a variety of plants.
Diversification or desertification...?

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Re: Beyond Grass fed
« Reply #41 on: January 04, 2018, 11:30:31 pm »
 I've bought wild hare carcasses many times in the past, and, despite the fact that the farmers/hunters usually get rid of part of the guts, leaving only kidneys and heart and a bit of liver behind, there is always enough meat and blood left to satisfy 1 RVAFer for many days.
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