Entries in Grass Fed Beef (51)


Say Hello to Elegance

We had a beautiful surprise meet us in the pastures this week.  Meet Elegance -- our newest heifer calf.  She is doing wonderful and has already grown considerably.  This was her mother Angel's first calf and she is being a great mother.  



Somebody say it's hot out there?

Excessive HEAT WARNING -- Avoid outdoor activities*
*unless you are a farmer
Well, it comes every year -- right on schedule. SUMMER. Granted some years, like this summer,  it comes in gentle and warm.  Just enough to let you know meals should be cooked outside and are best enjoyed on the porch.  This summer had the added bonus of wonderful and amazing rain that came in nice digestible portions well spaced out.  Inevitably though -- summer heat ramps up and we have to be prepared.  This last week has definitely required that preparation as the dew point has been in the high 70's to more than 80 degrees almost every day.  For the animals, that high dew point is the real stressor because it makes breathing harder and negates their body's natural abilities to cool themselves.  

It makes me chuckle, just a little bit, when the news reports say it's going to be so hot outside that we should avoid outdoor activities.  There must be an implied asterisk there, that states unless you are a farmer.  When it gets that hot, farmers don't get to take the days off, instead the work is a little harder since the animals need to be taken care of more closely in order to stay healthy and happy. 

Cattle generally do really well in hot weather but prefer to have shade so we try to plan our grazing so they have daily access to shade.  This can be challenging when you use rotational grazing and they get moved to new pastures every single day.  The pastures have to be planned to include a portion of shade for each day.  Cattle also drink more water during the day.  Our cattle that are at a leased property right now need to have water hauled to them.  During hot days -- each full grown cow can drink in excess of 10 gallons of water per day. 

Pigs have the hardest time in heat if not given shade.  Mud is not required but does help tremendously.  SInce pigs don't sweat, the moisture from the mud evaporating can be very cooling.  

Chickens adapt very well to the heat, finding shade as they range around the pastures.  Unfortunately, one of the adaptations also used by chickens in the heat is to not produce as many eggs.  Our chickens have dropped production by about 80%.  We realize many of you are not getting all of the amazing pastured eggs from our ladies that you are used to.  

For all the animals, the key to thriving in the heat is an ample and always available supply of clean drinking water.  We have been very appreciative of the solar powered water system that we installed two years ago.  It ensures there is an almost endless supply of fresh water available to all the animals all the time!



Apostle becomes Royalty

When we went searching for a bull, we had one major criterion in mind.  We wanted a bull that ultimately produced fantastic grass fed beef.  Our decision to choose Apostle as our herd sire had some rather exciting confirmation this Week.  Judy Decker, the previous owner of Apostle, let us know that his daughter Calamity Jane (pictured above) was awarded the 2017 National Championship in carcass quality.  This means that when the best of the best Galloway in the entire nation got together to decide which cattle would make the best beef, Apostle's daughter was determined to be the Grand Champion.  
It is interesting how this is determined.  They use a very sophisticated ultrasound system to be able to measure ribeye sections, backfat and even intramuscular fat while the animal is still alive and then make a judgment on the quality of the beef.   

We were very proud to hear that the progeny of our new Herd Sire had such great results and wait anxiously (about three years from now!) to taste the results of adding him to our herd.  


Meet Apostle

As we shared with you last month the sudden & unexpected loss of our herd Sire, Winchester, left a sudden job opening at the farm.  This job opening had very specific qualifications.  We ask a lot of a Bull working on our farm.  First, he must have GREAT grass-fed Galloway genetics. In addition, since our farm has hundreds of visitors every year, he must have a trusted, gentle disposition.   Plus, he must be ruggedly handsome!  These qualifications are difficult to meet when working with a rare heritage breed.  Our search had us looking all over the continent.  Luckily, an ideal situation opened up.  A nationally recognized Galloway breeder, Judy Decker of Renaissance Farms, who happens to be based in Kansas, decided to rotate her 3-year-old Sire out of their herd.  It was perfect timing and a perfect fit.  We were able to get this AMAZING bull who fit all our criteria and he was just a couple hours away from us.

Apostle is now living at Synergistic Acres.  He was in a separate pasture for a couple weeks as he went through a  quarantine and adjustment period.  During the quarantine, he spent a lot of time eyeing the herd when he can see them up on the hill, itching to do his job once he is introduced to the herd.

Once introduced, he quickly greeted everyone and made himself at home as they all got to know each other. We shared several short videos on our facebook page of the introduction.   There was some initial tossing amongst the boys.  However, Apostle is quite a bit larger than any of the other male cattle.  Dominance was quickly established without any real fighting.  

We can't wait to see next Fall what kind of calves we end up welcoming with our new Bull, Apostle.


Leasing land for our cattle

It has been an exceptionally beautiful fall, full of nice weather and adequate rainfall. This had made our pastures look especially good as they begin preparations to head into winter.  We want a nice, healthy stand of thick grass going into winter because that ensures we have great grass coming into Spring.  

One of the ways we ensure this is making sure all our pastures get the rest they need to recover from their previous grazing.  In our rotational grazing system, the ground has a high degree of impact for a very short amount of time.  For cattle, this means they are only on any one particular piece of land for one day before being moved to the next pasture.  After one day of heavy impact, the ground then recovers for anywhere from 30 - 180 days before once again having one day of impact.  This form of grazing mimics nature and how grasslands were created with the gigantic herds of migrating bison.   They would come through an area, eat it down and plow it up with their hooves - but then move on.  This periodic disturbance followed by time to rest creates robust and healthy ecosystems.  

As our cattle herd continues to grow every year, we have begun utilizing pastures around us.  It has been so good to find pastures around us that have been untreated and unused for many years and begin to heal them simply with the power of naturally managed grazing.  We can then lease this land from our neighbors -- giving previously unused land some real value for land they were not utilizing.  There is a fair amount of work involved in moving cattle around to these different pastures, however.    Today was one of those days.  We needed to gather all of the cattle which were in one pasture about 10 miles away, load them in a trailer and then move them to a new pasture that is directly across the road from our farm.  

To gather the cattle, first, we have to construct a temporary corral.  

This is where lots of great pictures would go of the rest of the process.  But...as often happens, once the work actually starts, I don't have the presence of mind to pull out my camera.  

So - I'll be brief in my wordy description.  After we put these panels together into a corral, we then bring the cattle into the corral, back the trailer up to the corral and coax the cattle to enter the trailer in an orderly fashion.  Sometimes they go in really easily, other times they require lots of patience and persuasion.  Our trailer can hold 10 - 12 cattle -- so it takes a few loads to transport the whole herd.  Moving the cattle is usually an all-day affair and today was no different.

The land they are grazing on now has not been grazed or used for anything for several years.  Previously it was CRP grass.  CRP is a government program that pays landowners money to allow land to stay fallow for several years.  This program is losing popularity and most farms, like our neighbors, are no longer part of the program.  They now have land that has been essentially not touched for the last 10 years.  I am very excited to see how it reacts to some grazing.  The grass there will be nutritious and delicious for the cattle.  Our plan is they will be on this pasture for several weeks before moving across the street back to our home farm.  Once back on our farm, we will need to start feeding hay as winter will be in full swing.  

Leasing neighbors land and turning into rich, productive, healthy organically managed pastures is just one way your support as a customer is slowly changing the world acre by acre.  By choosing to spend your food dollars on agriculture that supports the world you want your children to grow up in, you are radically affecting the future in a way much more effective and profound than any other form of radical protest.   

Synergistic Acres - 21733 Iliff Rd, Parker, KS 66072 - 913-735-4769
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