Soil Needs Animals

I need to become a better communicator about soil. It is a topic that few people outside of farming give much thought to. With its biological and chemical complexity, it is challenging to condense the ideas down to an easily-grasped summary. But the communication problem may not be entirely the fault of the complexity of the concept. It might also be because I haven’t talked through it as much as I need to. Perhaps with more repetition I’ll find a better presentation. In that spirit, here’s a brief video from a few… Read More

Keep Your Nose Clean

When I wrote the blog post about how our cattle use their noses as a grass guidance system, there was one detail I overlooked: cow nose maintenance. Even if you’ve got a precision instrument, there’s always some maintenance required. Here are a series of pictures that show the nose maintenance procedure. These three stooges have just stopped over at the salt lick to recharge their electrolytes, and now they’re about to go back to grazing. Before they hit the grass again, here’s what they do: If you have a pet dog, you’ve… Read More

Video: Clearing Fencelines in the Woods

About twice every year I need to clear fallen trees and branches off the fencelines that run through the woods. I captured some video while I worked on that today. I took a little time showing how we run fences through the woods without using fence posts. And I discuss how these fences allow us to balance the need to contain cattle while also letting deer and other wild animals pass through our farm.

What Are the Cattle Eating in the Pasture Today?

Since Rachel was away, I took over the pasture moves for the cattle. Every day we move them to fresh grass. And of course, when we talk about grass and grass fed, we’re always talking about a broader category of plants than what botanists classify as grasses. We’re really talking about giving cattle a natural pasture diet that includes a large variety of leafy plants. Grasses make up the largest volume, but the closer we look at our fields the more we notice an abundant variety of nutritious forages. Let’s take a… Read More

Video: Thoughts on Pasture After a Nor’easter

I reflect briefly on managing grazing on very wet ground after a protracted period of stormy weather. Pasture management really is about understanding what we require of our land, and understanding what our land requires of us. Moving our herd of grass fed cattle around the farm is somewhat like directing a symphony, taking into account the timing, resources, and capabilities of each part of the farm’s ecosystem.

Salt for Grass Fed Cattle on Pasture

Discussions of large animal herds moving across landscapes typically describe the migrations in terms of the availability of food and water and the avoidance of predators. But there is another, often overlooked factor, in overland migration patterns: the search for salt. Our part of New York is dotted with natural mineral springs. We’re just a few miles from the once-popular spa town of Sharon Springs with its sulfur springs. And a few miles in the other direction lies a hamlet named Salt Springville. In a completely natural setting, wild herbivores find these… Read More

Grocery Store Grass Fed, and Amazon Deforestation

Connecting the dots between supermarket grass fed beef and criminal activity in the Brazilian Amazon.

A Nose For Grass

Thinking about how cows use their noses to “see” the world of plants around them. And what this means for grass fed beef.

Solving the Meat vs No Meat Debate Conclusively. Yeah, Right.

I’ve been working an experiment at home with my youngest son, Harry. We’ve been studying propaganda. I’d like him to learn to find his way through complicated issues, being able to see the factors that influence the way agendas influence the spread of information and disinformation. He needs to learn more about the ways in which facts, hunches, misunderstandings, and lies are blended together to concoct a winning narrative. I don’t want to make him agnostic toward ideas, but I’d like to help him develop discernment. I want him to be able… Read More

Lab Grown Meat: A Scam And A Distraction

I’ve written about the topic of lab grown meat here, here, and here. But some new reporting really nails down important points about the scam that is afoot. It’s a long article, but worth reading over at The Counter if you can spare some time. I think the article does an outstanding job unpacking such a complex topic. My only gripe is that I wish the author would have taken a moment to consider grass fed beef instead of painting all beef with the ecological problems associated with grain fed beef. But… Read More