There is a lot to love about being a farmer. One of the highlights for me is moving the cattle onto new grass every day.
Compared to many of the “old-school idea” cattle farmers, at Wallace Farms we custom-manage our herd a bit differently. Most grass-based cattle farmers turn-out their cattle to graze on huge pastures, many up to 40–50 acres or more at a time. We instead section off small paddocks — about an acre — for them to graze on daily. Every day brings our herd to a fresh, new paddock as the cattle continually moves around the farm.
I never tire of this daily ritual. When I show up, the herd knows why I’m there and I see their heads perk up. On some days, you’ll even see a few kick up their heels with wild anticipation. I simply give a “come on girls” or “come on boys” — depending on the year and what stock we are grazing. Then I open up the single wire rope that acts as a gate and quickly get out of the way! They waste no time heading into the lush new grasses + legumes they are anxious to eat. Heads go down and all you hear is a steady chomp of teeth and tongue ripping the new growth of great green grass.
After I get the herd concentrating on lunch, I pull in a custom-framed skid that includes a fly rub and some Organic Redmond’s Salt. Think of it as a metal over-sized door frame on a heavy duty sled. The cattle are able to walk through the frames and rub themselves as much as they would like to detract the flies. The premium salt sits in a tub that is chained to the door frame skid. I follow that up with the movable water tank —fresh water vs. stale pond water or creek water subject to run-off — and a bunk containing molasses and apple cider vinegar… Are you getting the impression that these cattle are SPOILED like no other?!?
I’ve never understood why a cattle farmer wouldn’t want to take an extra 30 minutes a day to operate this type of system — moving cattle onto lush new forage each day; improving the rest time on the pastures; spreading manure equally across the farm. It all makes so much sense and gives me such satisfaction.
I think the word “sustainable” is often overused, but I smile confidently knowing that it fits perfectly when describing the daily routine at our farm.