We realized early on that if we want to create value for our clients, we must transcend marketing stories, practice truly sustainable agriculture and provide our clients with exquisite, unique products.
Regenerative or sustainable farmers make the following claims:
Economic impact: we produce high quality, exquisite products for a niche market. Clients pay a fair price. The value proposition must be balanced. Clients do not pay for our inefficiencies. Money flows into our community.
Environmental impact: efficient production minimizes waste and we maximize recycled inputs. Local production and sales means les pollution. We detail a agro-environmental plan for manure management.
Animal welfare impact: animals can express their natural behaviors. They have lots of space and live in a fitting environment.
Impact on climate change: more carbon sequestration because of intensively rotated pastures.
Social impact: no hidden costs that have to be carried by society or future generations. Honest relationships with suppliers and employees. Family farm.
Impact on consumer health: more omega-3, more CLAs. No antibiotics. No hormones. No synthetic pesticides. (We use some organic bio-pesticides on our veggies.)
Grass fed beef is said to have a better composition of omega-3/omega-9, CLAs. It is said to be better for the environment, better for animal welfare and even to sequester enough carbon to mitigate its impact on climate change. On the other hand, grass-fed beef takes much longer to finish, thus ‘wasting’ precious resources.
Since grass is their staple, we do all we can to make the grass grow better: think of timely stand renewal, managed intensive paddock rotations and environmentally sound manure management.
After a pregnancy of 9 months, all our cows calve when the deer fawn. At the end of our first season our beeves weigh 600 lbs.
They spend the winter in a three-sided barn eating grass silage (fermented grass) that was made in the summer. The problem is that as the beeves grow bigger, they need almost as much energy as can be available in a full stomach of hay…just to maintain their metabolism! And that would mean virtually no growth.
So, we recycle tonnes of vegetables, mix it with hay and feed it to the beeves to keep them growing at 2.5/lbs per day over the winter.
Come spring, these beeves now weigh about 1100 lbs. We need another season of pasturing (with added vegetables) for the beeves to be ‘finished’ and yield a 750 lbs carcass. Most of our beeves stay for at least part of a second winter until they are sold. They just get better as they grow.
It takes about 18-24 months to grow a grass-finished beef.
So, if you are wondering why our beef is a little more expensive (even if we make virtually no profit), compare with conventionally fed beeves on a corn-based ration complete with synthetic hormones, antibiotics (ionophores), urea, etc. that finish in 13 months on cheaper feed.
Or…compare with ubiquitous unfinished grass-fed beef that is bought at some auction at 750 lbs, then pastured for only a season and butchered too early.
As per popular demand, we do mostly Angus beef now, but we occasionally raise Limousin, Wagyu, Belgian Blue or other speciality beef. Not all Angus are created equally, and we have been working on grass-fed genetics for years now. We have quite a nice little herd!
We sell about a hundred grass-fed-and-finished beeves per year, mostly to specialised butcher shops and directly to the consumer through our website.