How we regenerate soils with pigs

By John and Holly Arbuckle
We consistently hear how pigs can’t be regenerative. We would edit that to say this: While pigs don’t fit into the regenerative equation as smoothly as ruminants, we can look for strategies to improve land, even with pigs.

When it comes to regenerative grazing, it is useful to look at how pigs compare and contrast to beef cows. Let’s contrast first:
• If you want pigs to grow at a reasonable rate, you’ll have to give them something other than just grass.
• If you want them to create positive animal impact on your cropland or pasture, you have to move more than just the fence.  

This second topic is what we are talking about in this article.

Continue reading “How we regenerate soils with pigs”

Rebuilding soils and community

Suzanne and Hue with cows

Reverence Farms taking ‘local’ to another level

By Joel McNair

Saxapahaw, North Carolina — Quite frankly, what is taking place here at Reverence Farms is almost too much to describe.

There’s the 45-cow dairy herd with its rapidly growing raw milk sales program, plus the possibility of a further-processing venture at some point in the future. There’s the Jersey linebreeding program and bull/semen sales based on genetics that do well on no-grain rations and mediocre forages, along with a variety of milk qualities ranging from ultra-high solids to A2A2 genetics.

Continue reading “Rebuilding soils and community”

How a sorghum-sudan mix saved our summer

Daniel Olson in field

By Daniel Olson

Every so often, you need a win. You know what I mean: just when you feel like the elements and the elected are conspiring against you, by some stroke of luck and timing you actually get it right and have an uncontested success.

That’s what a sorghum-sudangrass mix was for us last summer. We were very fortunate, because we had bet big on it by planting about 250 acres of the stuff. It rewarded us by yielding incredibly well, giving us some good grazing and a bunch of feed for the winter. Continue reading “How a sorghum-sudan mix saved our summer”

What to tell environmentalists about cows

Latest research shows that good grazing is good for the planet

By Allen Williams and Russ Conser

Somewhere along the road, cattle got a bad rap. Just when the fear that eating animal fats will kill you appears to be fading, concern is growing that cattle are intrinsically bad for the planet.

So, it’s refreshing to see some countering truth peek through the clouds of fear in a brand new scientific paper from Michigan State University, “Impacts of soil carbon sequestration on life cycle greenhouse gas emissions in Midwestern USA beef finishing systems” (Stanley, et. al., 2018). Continue reading “What to tell environmentalists about cows”

Doing what it takes to build soil health

Breitkreutzes up their game with covers and grazing

Redwood Falls, Minnesota — Most cash grain growers in the Upper Midwest run big equipment across thousands of acres of GMO corn and soybeans and maybe — just maybe — feed out some of those crops to feedlot cattle or confinement hogs. Often it doesn’t get much more complex than that.

Things aren’t quite that simple at Stoney Creek Farm. Over the past 20 years, Grant and Dawn Breitkreutz have converted a conventional crops and cattle farm into a multi-faceted enterprise that is one part experiment, two parts flexibility, and several parts complex. Continue reading “Doing what it takes to build soil health”

For love of trees

A Wisconsin dairyman sees advantages to planting them in his pastures

By Dylan Paris

Platteville, Wisconsin — Don Austin just likes trees.

Over the past 30 years the veteran dairy grazier has planted hundreds of them along property boundaries and interior fences, next to cattle lanes and in the midst of pastures.

Oaks and elms, cottonwoods and weeping willows, apples and apricots, walnuts and hazelnuts — Don has planted all of these and more during a grazing career that dates back to 1987. “Weed” trees volunteering along fence lines are allowed to grow if Don feels they’re serving a purpose. Continue reading “For love of trees”