The biggest pitfalls to producing grassfed lamb

Janet McNally with lambs

By Janet McNally

Hinckley, Minnesota — There is no denying that producing a grassfed lamb requires skill and know-how. Grazing is about replacing purchased inputs with knowledge inputs. Unlike grains and stored forages that can be tested and formulated into a ration with a predictable result, green and growing forages are constantly changing.

Therefore it is impossible to offer a cookbook for producing grassfed lambs and expect everyone, everywhere, to achieve the same result. A lot of education is required. Most importantly, the grazier needs to train his or her eye to observe forages and animals so they know when to make changes. This will not happen without just jumping in and getting some experience — hopefully first in the pastures of a mentor, then later in your own pastures. Continue reading “The biggest pitfalls to producing grassfed lamb”

Why you might be green with envy

Cows grazing green pastures

What is your neighbor doing that you aren’t?

By Daniel Olson

Lena, Wisconsin — I know this is just a figure of speech, but there are times when your neighbor’s pastures look greener than yours. Or at least they seem to be substantially better. We all know that he isn’t smarter than you (he probably doesn’t even subscribe to this magazine) and he doesn’t work any harder (his barn lights don’t go on until 5:45 in the morning).

But there, on the other side of the fence, are some wonderfully beautiful pastures. Not only is this contrast embarrassing, it is expensive. If you are wondering how that neighbor got his pastures to grow so well, the following may include a few of his secrets. Continue reading “Why you might be green with envy”

The seven pillars of 100% grassfed dairy

Cows graze on the Van Amburgh farm

By Paul and Phyllis Van Amburgh

Sharon Springs, New York — We like to say we don’t suffer from an agricultural education. Paul was a builder and Phyllis an occupational therapist prior to our farming lives. We mean no disrespect to agricultural degree programs or the folks who complete them, but we like to make it clear that we came into farming without preconceived notions of what will and won’t work from an educational or experiential standpoint.

Most of what we’ve learned about 100% grassfed dairy production came from our willingness to try things that seemed long-shots at best. We were, and remain, eager to listen to all viewpoints, be they conventional, organic, confinement, grassfed or other. The ability to think outside the box has helped as we worked toward a functioning production model at our Dharma Lea farm. Continue reading “The seven pillars of 100% grassfed dairy”