Bindi’s one Bad Day
The saying goes that feedlot cows only have one good day in their lives and home grown organic pasture fed cows only have one bad day.
One of our strategies for protein is to raise calves from our milking cows which we then grow out. The size we grow them out to depends on the pasture growing season and also what stages the stock numbers and replicating cycles are at. Its not always easy to get the timing right with impregnation particularly when I use a neighbour’s bull. If we process a calf small enough then we will do it all ourselves but once it gets too big we will call in a farm butcher.
Bindi is the largest that I have done and I am not sure that I would go much bigger.
Bindi dressed out at around 60 kgs and will give us about 150 meals for three people. We are hoping that this will last us five months until we will have the next calf ready to process.
I am planning on mating a cow every five months so that the cycle is complete and this strategy should keep us self-sufficient for beef.
Producing our own beef on our property reduces our environmental footprint in so many ways. The products that we yield from the cows means that we don’t buy from the store where all products have used and/or need fossil fuels to be there. We don’t need to drive to the store reducing fossil fuel use. We don’t feed grains to the cows eliminating the soil damage and pollution produced from grain agriculture. In the management of the cows we do a “holistic management/cell grazing” technique that sequesters carbon into the soil and all management builds soil and reduces soil erosion minimising impact downstream.
Each and every time I sit down to eat our home grown produce I am very appreciative of what I am eating and where it came from and give thanks,
©2016 Tom Kendall; permeco.org, incorporating Permaculture Research Institute Sunshine Coast, simplicity, permaculture, self reliance and homesteading, protein selfsuffiency .
Great post. Good to see you doing this.
You listed a few benefits of raising and eating your own beef (or goat or lamb or chickens), but it can also be stated as blanket view that “we know and approve of everything about how this animal was raised and killed”.
That’s really important to a lot of people, even those who cannot raise and slaughter their own animals.
We found a way around this – we have the space, but not the soil or pasture quality or even the water supply to raise our own cattle, sheep or goats – and that was to buy a quarter, half or even whole butchered animal from people we know and trust. That way we do know everything that is important to us about how the animal has been raised and killed. We had two suppliers, one who raised low-line Angus cattle, and from them we got 1/4 of every cut from the butchered animal. The other has a flock of sheep and we could get a half or whole butchered hoggett (i.e. older than one year but not adult). If course you need the freezer space to do this, but in reality is isn’t much.
Unfortunately the long dry spells in recent years have meant that the cattle farmer has had to reduce his herd down to just a breeding nucleus, and the sheep raisers have similarly had to cut back.
But the principle is sound, and not only gave us the certainty we wanted about the nature of our food, but perhaps more important, supported small-scale local producers who were doing the right thing by the animal, the environment and their clients.
Keep up the great work.
Thanks for your comment Gordon, valid points. We appreciate your imputs.