Sustainable Angus Cattle Farming TipsDecember 8th, 2016
With the rise of environment awareness, sustainable Angus cattle farming are becoming increasingly popular. In fact, farmers are finding it more lucrative than other methods. In fact, you can greatly reduce your costs by raising grass fed beef.
Current research shows that raising grass fed beef cattle that is correctly pastured can yield a lot more meat. In fact, beef cattle that are grass fed can yield up to 90 kilograms (200 pounds) or more. Moreover, the beef cattle cost less to raise and have less fat than commercial grain fed beef cattle.
Starting with the Pasture
You can start raising your beef cattle more sustainably by increasing your knowledge about pasture. Generally, your hay will be comprised of locally favored forage. In South West Victoria (Lower), the most common pastures for cattle are perennial ryegrass or phalaris with subterranean clover. In Alberta, a common mix is brome (bromus) and alfalfa.
Even so, regardless of the grain you choose for your pasture, there are certain criteria for growing feed for your beef cattle. Moreover, there are certain tricks of the trade that can be beneficial:
Combine grass and legumes – Compared to grass, legumes are much richer in calcium, protein and magnesium. Legumes also have a longer root system with helps prevent the field from becoming sodbound.
Prevent bloating – grass that is planted with legumes can reduce the risk of bloating that can be caused from the legumes.
Mixed feed preference – like humans, cattle prefer a variety of food. Mixed feed will keep your beef cattle happier and healthier. Also, there is no need to worry about weeds; the cattle will enjoy the variety.
Remove toxic plants – get rid of all toxic and poisonous species that can harm your cattle. Prime examples include deadly nightshade, nettles, some mushrooms, pigweed, jimson weed, hemlock and many others. If you are unsure if a plant is toxic, take it to a specialist to be identified.
Rotating – to benefit both the land and the cattle, make sure to rotate the grazing. The pasture crop can be safely eaten down to about two inches then it is time to rotate the cattle. Your trimmed pasture will recover. Although the growth may be slow, the pasture crop will grow back even fuller.
In order to rotate your cattle for feeding, a fence is needed. Unfortunately, fencing can be costly. However, a more cost effective solution is to have a mobile electric fence that can be moved up and down the field.
Summer feeding is rather easy. Winter feeding is more of a challenge. Generally, cattle graze on hay for the winter. However, there is some planning needed. For instance, steers and calves of different weights, young calves and older cattle all require a different eating regime and calibrated rations. Since the weather is colder, cattle will actually need more food. A good rule of thumb for feeding in the winter months is a pound-a-day increase during the first winter and about 0.8 to 0.9 pound per day for the second winter.
Also, beef cattle require a good supply of vitamin A. Dark green pasture provides plenty of vitamin A in the summer months. However, supplements are recommended in the winter. Generally, the supplements can be found at a feed store. The container will also have instructions for dosage.
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