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Raising Grass-Fed Beef in Southern Ohio

written by

Taylor Ayers

posted on

July 7, 2023

Raising grassfed beef in Southern Ohio has its perks. A long growing season from April to November, with mild winters where the cattle can graze stockpiled forage from December to March helps us create great tasting grass-fed beef.

How many acres do our cattle graze?

We raise our cattle on our home farm thats roughly 72 acres of pasture and wooded area. Along with our land, we lease several surrounding farms that are roughly a mile away to increase our grazing land to a couple hundred acres. 

How do the cattle get from one place to another without stress?

We utilize the old western method of cattle drives. We lead the cattle from one farm to another to give the soil time to rest, and grow! This is a crucial role in our regenerative management practices to ensure the soil has adequate conditions to produce forage for the livestock to eat.

What do our 100% grass-fed cattle eat?

Our cattle graze on native Ohio grasses, along with planted grasses such as fescue and winter annuals. They also have access to a free choice mineral feeder to get extra vitamins and minerals that they need to stay healthy. We utilize multi-species grazing to keep our land and animals healthy. For example, after our pastured chickens have fertilized the ground and prepped the soil, the land soaks all the nutrients in to produce more forage for the livestock to graze. With adequate rainfall, sunshine, time to rest and recover the pastures grow and our cattle thrive on the bounty. 

How do we manage the cows?

We manage our cattle in the summer by moving them daily to a new paddock, sometimes twice a day. A paddock is simply an untouched area in the pasture that we have set up to a specific size for our herd. We use temporary fencing to adjust paddock sizes; products such as polywire, geared reels, and step in posts come in handy for this job. This method of temporary fencing allows us to move the cattle easily, as they are trained to the wire and we can also adjust the size of the paddocks with our herd size. 

Do we use any antibiotics, vaccinations, added-hormones, etc?

Short answer, no. We take extra precautions because we choose not to use any medications in our livestock like leaving adequate time to rest between grazing pastures and monitoring herd health daily. We are humane though - if an animal is sick or in distress, we do not let it suffer. We contact our large animal vet, determine the best plan of action and treat the animal if needed. We tag this animal, and it will never go into the meat program. This does not mean that the meat isn't safe to consume, there are safe withdrawal periods before processing but for customer peace of mind, we never include those animals, they stay in our personal freezer or go to friends & family.

What do the cows eat during the winter?

During the winter, we continue to move our cattle but at a slower rate. We optimize our stockpiled forage that has grown in the warmer months to feed the cattle, along with round bales of hay. Hay is made from the stems, leaves, and seed heads of plants that are fresh. It is cut and baled when it has the most nutritional value, and is fed to livestock. 

When is our beef ready for harvest?

At around 2 years of age our cattle are ready to be transported to the USDA inspected processing facility. We calmly load, safely transport, and unload every animal on our farm ourselves and we choose to use a facility that is known for humane handling, cut consistency, dry aging, and as a bonus - they are a small, family owned & operated business that cares for their customers. We transport the frozen beef cuts back to our farm where we store it until it is shipped to you!

How do we know the beef we pick up is the animal we raised?

Working with a small processor has major perks. Not only do they have an inspector on sight who oversees the entire operation, they also have expert tracking capabilities when it comes to keeping the meat straight. When our livestock go in, they have an ear tag with a number that was given to them on our farm at birth. This ear tag connects all the way to the individual cut of meat from our farm. The processors stamp the carcass with their own ID using a natural blueberry juice "stain". All the paperwork contains our number and theirs, once the carcass is broken down into cuts each package has a number that can be traced back to the paperwork to see exactly which animal that cut came from.

We hope you found this blog post informative about how we raise our 100% grass-fed beef for you and your family to confidently enjoy!

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