Our food is only as good as the soil it grows in, so soil health is at the core of everything we do. Healthy soil grows healthy plants for our cattle to eat – and they fertilize the soil as they graze.
We thoughtfully seed different species of plants in our pasture (in addition to the already established perennial grasses) to accomplish two things: to give the soil what it needs, or to give our animals what they need. Each plant has a different impact on the soil and the diet of our animals, and we test the forages in our pastures periodically to see what we may need to add or change.
If you drive past our pastures, you’ll see noticeable sections where where cattle have grazed and where they haven’t. That’s because we open a new section of the pasture for the animals to graze on each day. They can still spread out and roam the area they have grazed previously, but they usually stay grouped together munching on the new tall plants they have access to that day. This grazing method is called “intensive mob grazing” and it is one of many things we do to improve the health of our soil. The cattle eat half of the plants and trample the other half back into the soil with the manure they leave behind to feed all of the microorganisms in the soil and help build organic matter. This way, the soil gets what it needs to regrow plants for cattle to graze again in the future.
You’ll also see a variety of species grazing together – cows, sheep, chickens, pigs, and even a couple of goats! This also has soil health benefits (plus it’s fun).
Soil health is complex, and we’re still learning more about it every day, but that’s the short version of what we’re doing in our pastures. We’re not just trying to be sustainable, we’re trying to be regenerative and leave land even better than it was before we got here.