Ron Metz

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since Jul 21, 2017
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Recent posts by Ron Metz

Eliot, good to know Dexter cattle have some predator protection instinct as individuals and as a herd. I recently heard of a situation near me where an angus cross gave birth to twins. A group of coyotes attacked the mother and newborn twins. The cow evidently spent the night fending off the coyotes. The next morning the rancher found her dead. Apparently she died from exhaustion protecting her twin calves. Would have been nice if she had some help from the rest of the herd.
4 months ago
I have another question. Not all bull calves are breeding quality. What do those non breeding quality bull calves usually sell for?
4 months ago
Dan, thanks for the links. So why are there two Dexter cattle breed associations? I was under the impression dexters are a heritage breed with relatively low numbers of animals. Another question, we have a healthy coyote population. Do Dexter cows have strong maternal instincts? Will individual cows or the herd work together to protect the calves from coyotes?
4 months ago
Thanks for the replies. Julia, where are you located? Im in the panhandle of Texas. I've been seriously looking at doing pastured pigs for the last 9 months. However, we are in a serious drought. We've had a total of 2.2 inches of rain since last September. Because of this I am shying away from the idea of raising pastured pigs. Number one because all pigs root, some breeds worse than others. Our native grasses are very fragile. When we have little rainfall they go dormant. I'm afraid the pigs will eventually destroy the grass by rooting. Secondly, pigs seem to have more expensive nutritional requirements than say a breed of cattle like the Dexter. My ultimate goal is to manage the grass on our place to grow some kind of livestock in a mutually beneficial situation. I never thought about putting cattle on our place because the stocking rate for the typical cattle breeds where I live is one cow/calf unit per 15 acres. In a drought year that per acre number would go up considerably. Then I found some info on Dexter cattle and it looks like it may be a good fit for our climate, grass and the acreage we have available. Right now I have about 50 acres of grass available. The whole farm is 286 acres, but about 100 acres is in the CRP program and another 130 is irrigated crop land currently in cotton. We are seriously thinking about converting the crop land back to pasture since each year the available irrigation water from the Ogallala aquifer is getting less and less. Again Dexters appear to be a good fit for our situation. I'm aware the dexters don't fit the commercial cattle market mold. My ultimate goal is to sell grass fed beef, so I'm not looking to market my animals through the usual commercial cattle outlets. Speaking of beef, what does Dexter beef look like? Is it well marbled? Again, I would like to see and try some cuts of Dexter beef but don't know of any breeders in the Texas panhandle. Does anyone know of any breeders in my area? I would like to go look at some Dexters. Thanks for all your help.
4 months ago
Is anyone here raising beef type dexters? I know dexters are a dual purpose breed. Some are selected for beef production and others are selected more for milk production. I'm Looking for folks to talk to that breed for the beef type. Thanks.
4 months ago
Thanks for the input. On the market weight I quoted, that was the weight at which this particular breeder felt the carcass quality was marketable. Actually they let some of their large blacks go to 300 lbs before slaughter. I got the idea the large blacks are so slow growing that the slaughter weight had to be 285 or better before you could get good carcass quality. The other thing I learned is if you push to much high energy feed at them to get them to grow quicker, they just put on a lot of fat.

6 months ago
I've been looking at different heritage breeds of pigs trying to decide which direction to go in. After a lot of research, I am leaning towards the large blacks for several reasons. Temperament in general is great, good inter muscular marbling, good fertility and mothering ability. However in talking to a breeder with 9 years experience, I found out the purebreds take a year and a half to reach market weight(let's say 285 lbs) without letting them put on too much fat. That greatly increases the cost to raise the purebreds. Has anybody else on this forum had experience with large blacks? I would like to start with large blacks as the maternal breed. Is there another breed that crosses well with a large black sow that keeps the good carcass traits, temperament etc. but reduces the time to maturity? What about Hereford hogs as the paternal breed?
6 months ago
WOW!!! I haven't been on here in a few days, thanks for all the great replies. I have a lot to look into. The pasture land I am trying to work on hasn't been managed in over 60 years. It is overrun with yucca and short catclaw mimosa brush. It has been overgrazed for years by cattle and does have some areas of erosion. The soil ranges from sandy loam to areas with a bit higher clay content.

My plan is to rotational graze pigs on the pastures after I get it set up. My main concern is water retention in the soil because our rainfall is so sporadic. That's why I was wondering if Keyline ploughing  would help water absorption.

From September 2017 to today we have only received 1/2 inch of measurable rainfall. The challenge is next month we may get 8 inches in a few days, then nothing again for a long period of time. Thus my question about Keyline ploughing in conjunction with Swales. Since I posted the original question, I have laid out and dug 5 Swales on the south end of one of the pastures. I used a tractor with a three point adjustable blade to grade them following the marker flags, then another tractor with a front end loader to clean them out and bank the soil. I have acquired a piece of three point equipment that I think I can modify into a subsoiler based on pics I have seen of the Yoeman plow.

The Swales are on a 0 grade contour. My intention was to rip the soil between the Swales to increase rainfall absorption while the Swales held water. Anything to get the precious rainfall into the ground instead of running off. While digging the Swales, I did make an interesting observation. At the top of the slope of the pasture, the ground was pretty dry. While digging each successive swale going downhill, the soil got moister. The soil in the last swale at the bottom of the slope had the highest moisture content. Thanks again for all the great info.
8 months ago
I recently read a post response by Walter Jeffries suggesting a link to a place called the Pigsite. It deals with CAFO pig production. After reading numerous articles on the first page I have come to a conclusion. Consumers have no idea what they are ingesting when they buy CAFO raised pork or any meat. CAFO pigs can't survive unless injected with a myriad of vaccines and antibiotics. Yet an article about a genetics company boasts their sows can produce over 30 piglets per year. Another article talked about a study where they tried to not treat a control group of pigs in a large feeding operation with vaccines and antibiotics. The untreated pigs in the control group became so ill and wasting away the employees couldn't bear to look at them. The study was stopped and the pigs were treated with antibiotics. Do consumers know CAFO pigs are treated with a chemical called ractopamine to cause the meat to be leaner? I think not. I read another article that reveals CAFO pigs don't get enough fiber in their high energy diets and that is causing severe digestive disorders. So CAFO's have resorted to putting ground up plastic in the feed to act as fiber. This one page gave me a shocking glimpse into the horror of CAFO's, how polluted our food supply is and me never wanting to put another bite of CAFO raised meat in my mouth again. If the public only knew!!
8 months ago
I recently watched an hour long video presentation on rehabilitating a place in southwest New Mexico called "Whirlwind" using Keyline plowing. The presenter said that the land in that area thousands of years ago used to be grassland savanna. The types of grasses present during that time had evolved in conjunction with herds of grazing herbivores. I got the idea it was a symbiotic relationship between the grasses and the herbivores, each depending on the other for existence.

On our farm, the pastures consist of native grasses such as blue grama, buffalo grass, Western wheatgrass and bluestem. These are all grasses that evolved because of the low rainfall and herds of grazing herbivores. Here is my question. Pigs are not herbivores. Will the pigs eventually destroy the native grasses in my pastures since they will be exerting a different kind of pressure on them i.e. rooting behavior?
8 months ago