And now for the cow portion of our tour…
In my last post, I talked about how the chickens at Full of Life Farm are raised on fresh pastures, closely following the cattle who were there just days ahead of them, eating grass and being cows.
Farmer Bernard showed us six cows that had been mowing down the grass in a paddock for that day.
He moves the cows daily, to make sure they are eating the grass at the peak of its growing cycle and not over-indulging so that the grass can continue to grow.
His process to get the cows to move to a new field was a little shocking.
He takes down the wire that separates the paddocks, walks over, and says, “Come cows.”
And just like that, they walk over and start eating. I have met dogs worse trained than those cows. They probably know that the good grass is just on the other side of the fence, so are always willing to try out a new field.
Speaking of the greener grass, throughout the tour Bernard kept asking us to compare the portion of the field where the chickens were roosting to the cows side. Their farm land had previously been leased to a non-organic nursery. Traditional farming often creates very little humus in the dirt and when it rains the ground doesn’t hold the water – instead creates muddy pools, useless to the growing grass. He referred to the chicken side as a “desert,” which I thought to be a little extreme, but you can definitely tell a difference. Take a look at a picture from that side…
And then again at this side…
The “cow side” has been in the cattle/chicken rotation for a year, the “chicken side” for only a few months. It is dramatic how much healthier the grass is, no? He said by next summer the land will be replenished and lush, full of nitrogen rich droppings and the grazing-cow benefits.
For the final portion of the tour, we were shown a cattle dog demonstration. These dogs were obsessed with getting the cattle to the right place.
And, you’d think since the cows are so big and the dogs are so small they would have a hard time getting those cows to go the right way, but no-sir.
The cows do whatever those dogs say. “Oh, you want me to go this way now. Ok. Don’t fear Master Dog. I will do whatever you want.” I wonder if the dogs could get the cows to do other things… Like my laundry and clean my kitchen!Read More No Comments »