An Introduction to Calving on Farm – Grassfed Life (GFL78)


If you think about commercial livestock farming it is hard to become totally sustainable closing the loop on outside inputs.

Chickens will always require grain, and are likely purchased from a hatchery.

Maybe you farrow your own pigs on farm, but they still require grain, which you probably aren’t growing on farm.

Then there’s cattle raised in feedlots, fed corn, and bought in – meaning they weren’t born there. Not very sustainable, but that’s feed lot cattle.

In a true grass based system you can grow all of their own food as grass, stockpiled forage, and even hay, you can start with stocker cattle buying them in, but you can also evolve breeding out your own herd on farm and begin calving. At that point of your farm’s evolution you have become pretty sustainable. Very few outside inputs are required to keep that cattle herd going. It’s one of the huge advantages of grassfed beef.

In today’s episode Darby and I will take a 30,000ft overview of his calving operation discussing what his experience has been like. We’ll cover the pros and cons, the basic costs, what’s involved, and how to think about calving versus buying in stockers.

By the end of the episode you’ll start to see the huge advantages of calving on farm, and how that brings a beef operation pretty close to sustainable.

Darby’s book recommendation: Reproduction and Animal Health by Gearld Fry and Charles Walters




Connect with Darby Simpson

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Whether you are simply someone looking to raise some or all of your own meat on a homestead, or are looking to follow your dreams of full time farming Darby can help you be a success and reach your goals. Your one on one consultation is tailored to fit you – not anyone else. It’s all about your farm enterprise or homestead, and will answer your questions on a myriad of farming related subjects. LEARN MORE.


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Comments 1

  1. You asked for input on Cow/Calf operations and owning a bull year around with the herd. What specific information are you looking for? I wasn’t sure if you wanted numbers for costs or operational hurdles to consider and overcome. My wife is the 5th generation to live on the same piece of property and she and I decided to start a grass fed Cattle business four years ago. It was our philosophy to take the family ranch in a different direction as the traditional model wasn’t going to sustain the ranch into the future. The name of our beef operation is Watermelon Hill and can be found on the web at http://www.watermelonhilltx.com. My Mother-in Law (4th gen.) is still active on the ranch and we run the beef production/marketing side with her and my father in law Eddie. I would like to offer Connie (my wife) and Mary Neil (pronounced Nel) my Mother in law as experts in not only the ranching business but more specifically cow calf operations with perpetual herd bulls. Not only is Mary a great resource for cattle operations but Connie is fantastic with merging modern homestading and grass fed production methods with the traditional models of raising beef.

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