Prairie Soul Meats by Sand Ranch
No Added Hormones
Low Stress Stockmanship
Better than Sustainable
Ranching with Nature
“There is more to be learned from the process of nature than the process of man.” Doug Upchurch
Would you like to know what we do and how our cattle - your food is raised? Our ranch is one big food web, like you may have learned about in elementary school. Cattle, as ruminants, are the key to the ranch food web. They are designed to convert a renewable resource (grass) into a vital human food source (beef). It all works together and it just takes time.
Cows calve in June, making the whole herd more healthy. They calve out on grass and sunshine which offers the calves a clean spacious area to be born. Calves are “not born with a winter coat” and by calving in June we eliminate calf illness and the need for antibiotics.
Calves are not weaned until 10 months of age this produces healthy cattle that know how to graze. Calves stay with their moms grazing and nursing until 10 months of age. This is very important to allow the digestive system of the calf to mature fully. By 10 months they are mostly self-weaned so when they are separated from the cows there is little stress. Calves are not put in a “lot” but instead are grazing the same type of forage. There is no change in their diet, so therefor no illness.
Cattle are rotationally grazed, they aren’t eating in their bathroom. They are moved to a new paddock every 2-4 days during the growing season. They eat some grass and trample some grass while grazing. This “litter mat” keeps the soil protected. It helps reduce evaporation and rainfall runoff and increase rainfall infiltration. While grazing they are leaving dung and urine, this fertilizes the paddock and feeds soil biology. Dung beetles (poop bugs) thrive in the dung and eat fly larvae to reduce fly populations in the cattle herd.
Rotational grazing helps the grasslands. By grazing a paddock for a short time with a lot of animals it is very evenly grazed. The cattle are moved before any plants can be “hurt”. Once the cattle are moved out of a paddock, it is allowed to rest and recover. There won’t be cattle in that area for 6 months to 1 year. This allows plants to grow and establish flowers or seed heads. These are a food source for birds and pollinators. The tall grass offers protection for wildlife and is a home to many insects. In the fall parts of the ranch look like a giant pollinator garden.
Rest and recovery after grazing increases plant species. By grazing then resting paddocks at different times each year we are able to increase plant and forb diversity. Grazing in the summer, cows are eating cool season plants. This allows the warm season plants a chance to grow as there is less cover and competition. It also works the other way when we graze a paddock full of warm season plants that gives and opening for cool season plants to grow. One does not over take the other, but we get more of each as we graze. When the paddocks are rested plants are able to build root structure and resilience. Living growing plants are also capturing carbon from the air and adding it to the soil.
More plant species increases beef flavor. Cattle grazing on diverse plants will have a diversity of flavor in the meat. Grain can decrease flavor and decrease healthy benefits of grass fed/grass finished beef. We believe cattle were meant to graze just as Mr. Savory said…
“Cattle weren’t born with a damn beak.” Allan Savory