Survivalism & Self Sufficiency Topics > Food Legislation & News

Article on declining protein levels in grass and impacts on grass fed beef



Interesting, really interesting for two reasons:
1) Grassed beef is getting big and is one of the niches of small scale ag that homesteaders are likely to get into
2) If the trend continues and progresses it could change patterns of traditional ag practice. You might not be able to raise cattle "the old way."

Interesting.  They left out a discussion of grass vs legume.  I wonder why.  To me that implied ignorance or an agenda to blame global warming and warn about the need to provide the ground with ever more “artificial” fertilizer.
I farm grassfed beef on a very small scale (10+ acres and 15-25 cow/calves).  I overseeded a legume blend (clover/trefoil) 10 years ago and have had no problem with nitrogen.  I rotate so the legumes periodically go to seed and the field does fine on nitrogen.  The bacteria associated with the legumes capture more than enough atmospheric N2 and convert it to a useable form for the both the legumes and the grass.
My limiting factor is actually soil pH, another thing they did not mention, and to a lesser extent other minerals.  If the soil gets to acid the plants have a harder time taking up P and K.  I sweeten every 3-5years with crushed limestone.  I see much benefit from that. 
So nitrogen does not have to be the limiting factor as they imply.  Certainly it is more expensive to subsidize grassfed beef with oil than it is to use oil to prop up the feedlot model.  But it can be done for a price.  CO2 doesn’t, to me, seem like even part of the issue (except to the extent it contributes carbolic acid to my pH problem, we can discuss that, too, but it didn’t seem to be what the article was talking about).

Very interesting article, Chemsoldier, thank you for posting.

The Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve is just south of me. I remember talking to a farmer/rancher not long ago and he was telling me that when he rented grazing land south of the interstate he cattle put on lots more weight than his pastures north of Manhattan. Protein in the grass, that's apparently what makes the difference.

Interesting thought that removing cattle to the feed lot is contributing - all that lost manure. But where does it go? The feed lots have to get rid of it. But it would be impossible someplaces  and expensive everywhere to respread it from the feedlot back to the pasture. Better to leave the cattle on the pasture and let them spread it.

I'll share this article. Very thought provoking



Yeah, mixed pasture and native grasses is the way to go I think,  both have higher protein green versus dry hay. I use mixed pastures, use mineral salts, lime (have to in rainy Oregon)... But I also choose breeds which do well on what type of pasture or browse that I have on a particular piece of land I own. Sometimes I have marginal grass, so I pick more primitive breeds which can handle and utilize that land.



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