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
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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