Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Virtual Farm Tour :: Dexter Beef Cattle
When the farm began ... and really before the farm began ... I was working towards having the grassfed beef be the centerpiece enterprise of our farm. I read a lot of books on raising cattle, managing grass, management intensive grazing, and so much more. In fact the very first livestock we purchased were the Dexter cows and calves. I really wanted beef to be my focus, but once we really got going and moved to the farm it quickly became clear that the beef was going to be a small side enterprise of the larger farm business.
The reason is very simple ... land! We only have a total of 40 acres and from there probably only 25 or so acres are available for grazing (minus the woods/buildings). Those 25 acres will allow us to do a few beef each year (along with our Katahdin lambs), but with our limited grazing land right now it will never be a centerpiece. And, as things stand right now I don't see renting more land as a viable option ... so our purebred Dexter beef is a smaller part of our farm.
Now that I have that all out of the way ... how are things going? Grazing started out well this year, but it quickly became apparent that the grass would not be growing back. That along with my injury has meant less rotational grazing and more scrambling for grass! Nevertheless the cows and calves seem to be doing well and since we have had only bull calves for the last couple of years we should have more beef offerings the next couple of years.
I believe if you look over some previous posts you would see that I was beginning to question the Dexters because they don't produce as much meat as other cattle their size (Lowlines for example). I have been having some serious thoughts about at least crossing in some more beefy lines. Just this past Saturday though I think I ruled that out at the farmers market when I had multiple customers come up asking for beef and were disappointed that I was out because they said it was the best they had ever had! For now ... we're sticking with the Dexters.
There is my quick rambling on our Dexter beef ... if you have any specific questions I would love to share more!