Traditional Practices9:21 am, January 2, 2008
A good example of this is the way we manage our cattle herd for all year grazing outside – even through the harsh winter months.
The process starts by planting special seed mixtures, which produce hard wearing grass that the cattle feed on through the winter. By keeping the animals outside for as long as possible and topping their feed up with silage we have a more traditional, natural and sustainable system.
Using the old breed Aberdeen Angus cattle also comes together in this system. The breed not only results in a better quality of meat, but provides an animal that is hardy and light enough to be able to live outdoors through a Scottish winter, which is after all, what they were bred for.
Topping feed up with silage we make here on the farm also helps us keep the animals outdoors all year. While it is not quite as nutritious as grass, it’s the next best thing. The organic silage we make here is very high in clover which traps a lot of high protein feed.
The animals do very well on this feed and don’t require extra supplementation. This is also due in part to the breed’s tendency to go into winter with a bit of fat on their backs, in particular, the suckler cows (mothers) put a lot of extra weight on through the summer. They store this fat on their backs, the way nature intended, and through the winter they give the fat through milk to their calves and this is how the calves are able to stay strong and healthy through the winter.
For me, the main point of this process is that everything can continue thriving and therefore remain healthy, it doesn’t really matter how wet or cold it gets, if things are thriving they tend to stay healthy and we don’t have many of the illness problems that indoor herds tend to suffer.
For our customers this means the net result of this process is a meat that not only tastes good but is likely to be better for you, in much the same way as a healthier plant tends to produce a more nutritious fruit.