All beef cattle on the farm are raised as naturally and humanely as I can. In fact, I’ve been accused of treating them better than my own children. I don’t use hormone implants to enhance or force unnatural growth. I also feel that hormones promote an unnaturally higher lean to fat ratio, hindering both flavor and tenderness, and we all know that fat is where the flavor is. Sub-therapeutics are not used, nor necessary, as my cattle are naturally resistant to sickness. Antibiotics are only used in health or life threatening situations.
The cattle have large pastures year round to graze in. As soon as possible in the spring when the weather is starting to warm up the cattle are moved from their winter pasture to a large rye and winter oat field. They will graze that field until the next pasture consisting of alfalfa, oats, grass and clover, is ready for them. This field will hold the cattle while I make hay on the other fields, and after allowing for regrowth, the cattle will graze the rest of that acreage until the hard freezes hit, and then they will spend the winter with access to the entire farm. At all times of the year they have vitamins, salt and minerals free choice at their demand. During the winter they are also fed as much quality hay and corn fodder as they can consume to maintain their weight as most of the girls will be carrying calves.
I have registered Angus, registered full-blood and purebred Wagyu, Angus/Limousin crosses and Angus/Wagyu crosses.
I went with Angus for the huge genetic gene pool, the natural mothering instinct, the large frame which produces a heavy, nicely marbled carcass and the fact that they do very well in the heat and the extreme cold.
I then started crossing the Limousin, which produces a lot of milk, with the Angus to wean off a bigger calf. Whew! Do they produce some milk!
Several years ago I recently invested in the Wagyu breed, the highly touted Japanese ‘Kobe Beef’ breed for their extensive natural marbling that is high in the unsaturated Omega 3 and Omega 6 fats, and the mono-unsaturated fatty acids that are the reason for the phenomenal flavor, texture and moisture. These fats have an extremely low melting point creating that “melt in your mouth tenderness”. These cattle take a lot longer to mature than my other breeds but are well worth the wait.
My best market steers are selected in the Fall, weaned, castrated and put on to their own pasture. The steers are kept at least a year after weaning to finish out at their own pace, making them at least 30 months old when ready for processing. My steers are completely grassfed during the growing season and fed hay during the winter.