Hinckley, Minnesota—Much of the Midwest received an extraordinary amount of rainfall this fall. In Minnesota, meteorologist Paul Douglass reported that most of the state had 10 to 20 inches more precipitation than normal in 2019 through October 25, making this the sixth wettest year on record. Other states also saw huge volumes of rain this year.
While the sheep in these places were knee deep in beautiful green grass, some of you might have noticed the lambs were in very lean condition and not attaining the finish required for slaughter.
Janet McNally grazes sheep near Hinckley, Minnesota.
Thank you for visiting the Graze magazine website. We offer a few sample articles online, but to see the full content, order a subscription of the print magazine or order the specific back issue you are interested in. This article appeared in the December 2019 issue of Graze.
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”
Hinckley, Minnesota—While doing research on diet and health, I found an article describing lamb as “land salmon.” The author claimed this title was earned because the omega-6:omega-3 ratio of lamb is closer to salmon than any other domestic meat.
Both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are important to our health. But modern diets tend to be too high in the omega-6 fatty acids, which can promote inflammation of tissues and lead to serious health problems. Many nuts, grains and vegetable oils are high in omega-6. Continue reading “Land salmon? Grassfed lamb’s Omega-3s shine”
Hinckley, Minnesota—In past articles I’ve described how much more productive my managed pastures have been compared to the continuously grazed pasture right across the fence line.
I’ve also told how much more productive and drought-tolerant my pastures have become since I moved toward a mob-grazing system with more frequent moves and longer (six- to eight-week) rest periods. I always attributed the improvement to deeper roots and better plant vigor, both of which tend to be true when plants have longer rest periods. Continue reading “If you want to build topsoil, try bale grazing”
Hinckley, Minnesota—One of the more rewarding things I do is visit sheep graziers around the U.S. and Canada who do an outstanding job producing a quality product. I’ve been absolutely amazed at the healthy, well-grown lambs with clean backsides and loads of bloom that reach marketable weights on all-forage programs.
While everyone is almost on their own in exploring what works and what does not, many of these people come to the same conclusions on some things, such as breeds that work and those that do not. Yet they may have a dozen different strategies for addressing problems such as parasites, all of which work. The bottom line is that there are a good number of producers around the country producing quality, grass-fed lambs. Continue reading “Debunking the ‘can’t finish lambs on grass’ myth”