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Small Scale, Intensive Cattle

 
Charlie Michaels
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I was thinking, in the future, we may want to be able to condense cows to a smaller area. It seems to me that cows get tons and tons of space, and while that is the inherent nature of the animal to have tons of space to roam like their wild buffalo cousins, I think we could find ways to reduce their space and have them still enjoy their lives. From what I understand, the buffalo of the great plains fed on young trees shrubs to keep the grasslands from becoming forests again. So buffalo/cattle are adapted to eating shrubs, to some extent. So is it possible to have cattle on a smaller pasture, that are fed like 25% from shrub fodde and the rest from grass? Just thinking about future scenarios, and how billions of people are gona want their organic milk!
 
Paula Edwards
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You might apply this to sheep as well, because they love leaves.
 
Jami McBride
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Location: PNW Oregon
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Yes, there are examples of cattle and other farm animals being fed from brush used to create habitat corridors on land.  I do not know the percentages.  However, the most important thing is the land/soil and having cattle on less means more damage - so a rotation plan would be most important to achieve what you are talking about without stripping the land.  Sustainable and Renewable are the goals, and brush fodder is a great place to start.
 
          
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We do this. Many variables are included, but you do not mention the amount of animals vs the acreage.  Our small 10 acre organic farm usually supports 3 head and approx 300 ranging hens, until this fall and winter. No significant rain for almost 5 months so our usual fall pasture never grew. Costs are more significant than usual. We have had to more than usual micro manage, and buy hay, along with more whole corn. This fall/winter meat crop is more expensive, but the very least we have the manure for garden and pasture. We purchase local natural range fed steers, then organic feed to slaughter maturity for sell. The flock(s) eggs are sold as well.
 
Leila Rich
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Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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I haven't seen cattle fed forage so no opinion there, but Jami McBride's point about  the need to rotate stock to limit damage to land is important.
Similarly, if pasture doesn't get at least 21 days between grazing by cattle to break the parasite cycle, the worm load will be out of control.
 
          
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Leila wrote:
I haven't seen cattle fed forage so no opinion there, but Jami McBride's point about  the need to rotate stock to limit damage to land is important.
Similarly, if pasture doesn't get at least 21 days between grazing by cattle to break the parasite cycle, the worm load will be out of control.



Yes, naturally
 
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