Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Quality Pasture :: Chapter 12 Book Report

I'll be hitting the blog with a few days of my chapter by chapter book review of Allan Nation's book, "Quality Pasture," because I finished up this week. Chapter 12 is specifically about pasture beef production. This was a fairly good chapter, but again it did seem to focus a bit on larger scale production instead small farms providing food for their area.

One of my favorite quotes from this chapter comes towards the beginning of the chapter. Mr. Nation says, "All pasture management starts with getting your breeding season in sync with your pasture." I think this is one thing that really resonates with me and just plain makes sense. We need to make sure we are following the system that God set up for the animals. God didn't create livestock or wildlife to have their babies in January in Iowa. It is cold, it is snowy, it can be muddy, and there is no growing forages that can give the mother and the baby the energy that they need. Also, when the calving season gets in sync, then everything thing else falls in sync. The cows are dry when the timing is right, the calves are weaned when the timing is right, everything can just fall in place with God's creation.

In this chapter Mr. Nation also outlines a few other business plans for grazing beef cattle. He suggests things like grazing cull cows (you can put some easy weight on them for the burger market and usually 50% are bred), raising stocker cattle on pasture, and finishing cattle on grass. He also mentions some systems of pasture beef management used in other parts of the world. It is interesting to see how few other places insist on feeding corn to their cattle in order to finish them. I think we are missing the boat and spending too much money on corn production for our cattle. God did make the digestive system of cattle different for a reason, and I for one am not ready to try and change God's system!

This chapter was a good overview beef production on pasture, especially at a larger scale. It provided lots of information on different systems and management ideas for beef production. I do enjoy contrasting this with other books I have read, I feel like it just broadens my knowledge base ... if just by a little bit!


Steven said...

Thanks for the blog Ethan.
I'm wanting to do much the same that you are with Dexters. We want to raise grass fed beef primarily. Right now my brother in law and I have a bull calf coming in Feb. but we're questioning whether we're going to go 100% building fences and buying 10 cows, or just take it SLOW for a year. It sure is a big investment.

Ethan Book said...

Steven ... thanks for checking out my blog! Raising grass fed beef is our main interest, but we are also interested in promoting the beauty of the Dexter breed. Just in the few months that we have had them we have learned so much about them and found out how great they really are at converting forage and being thrifty eaters. I too was going to go slow ... but, then ... well, we are picking up pace and it is possible that we will hit winter with over 10 or 12 Dexters on the farm!

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