Our family farming history began with my great-great-... (nine generations ago) grandfather Johannes. He, his wife and three children left Saxony, Germany, on April 20, 1734, aboard the ship St. Andrew, mastered by Capt. John Stedman. They landed at Philadelphia on Sept. 22 and eventually settled our family’s first "New World" farm near Society Run in Frederick Township, Montgomery County, Pa., in 1743. Pig farming was our family’s specialty until the mid 1950s. A lot has changed since then. Our BQA cow–calf operation includes 100% grass-fed registered Red Angus, Hereford and purebred Beefalo; 30 to 35 pastured Duroc and Spot pigs; 100 Freedom Ranger broilers; and 90 Golden Comet and Buff Orpington layers. We organically maintain 80 acres, comprising 15 acres in rotational pastures, 15 acres in tillable cropland, and alfalfa/mixed grass hay on the balance. We have never used chemical pesticides or herbicides on our pastures or hay fields. We are not a "certified" organic farming operation, but we prefer the natural/organic approach to help promote sustainability.
Apr 21, 2011
BEEFALO, JUST THE FACTS
There is often confusion associated with the BEEFALO Beef breed. The American Beefalo Association is very mindful of the difference between a Beefalo Beef animal and a Bison-Hybrid Ancestry animal. Therefore, we do not register any animal with more then 37.5% Bison as a Beefalo. It is automatically registered as Ancestry Bison Hybrid. Beefalo Beef animals with 37.5% or less bison do not have problems with sterilizations or infant calf mortality. Bison Hybrid or Ancestry animals can be slightly wilder and The American Beefalo Association have shown the difference by keeping their registrations separated.
Many times the uneducated public and humane organizations get confused and do not know where the line is drawn between Bison Hybrid and BEEFALO. There is a difference in breeds. Beefalo Beef are designated a breed of beef cattle by the livestock and cattlemen commission and show judges alike.
History of the Breed
Beefalo can vary greatly in appearance but generally they have a large frame and are well muscled similar in stature to the Bison. One similarity most Beefalos share is their unique coat with it being very dense and made up of fine hair enabling them to adapt to colder climates such as what we have all experienced up here in the Northeast this past winter. We offer them access to the barn year round, but even when it was 20 below zero this past February, they would come as close as the back of the barn just to be out of the wind and lay out on 20" of snow all night and day! Some would think because of their love of winter they wouldn’t adapt to our sometimes very hot summers. Just like any other breed of Beef cattle, BEEFALO like and need shade as well when the summer sun is at it’s worst. They are also very docile in nature. Which means they are easily handled when moving from pasture to pasture, in and out of buildings and especially when working them in a corral and/or squeeze chute if the need should arise that they require medical attention. Medical treatments are few and far between and sometimes nonexistent. They are very self sufficient and more disease resistant to most conventional cattle viruses such as pink eye.
Beefalo are a composite cattle breed developed in the United States during the early 1970's by Californian DC "Bud" Basolo by interbreeding American Bison with Domestic Cattle. Beefalo were extremely popular during the 1970's but fell out of favor primarily due to arguments over proving their Bison content. Blood testing that was available during Beefalo's early years was inexact, and often open to laboratory interpretation. It wasn't until the inception of DNA testing in the 1990's that the breed clearly established itself as having documented bison content.
The reasons for raising Beefalo centre on their handling like domestic cattle while retaining bison traits. Early documentation showed that Beefalo could be finished and marketed at up to 40 percent less cost than a conventional beef animal. Currently Beefalo are experiencing a renewed interest, due to consumer demand for humane raised all natural, hormone-free and antibiotic-free beef. Beefalo beef is documented to be lower in fat & bad cholesterol, with higher protein than conventional beef. Known for its delicious flavor, Beefalo has won taste tests over regular beef as well as bison. Most Beefalo are marketed directly to consumers at the local level.
* Efficient, non-selective grazers (They eat everything)
* Tough, hardy, more disease resistant than conventional cattle
* Easy calving and good mothers
* Low birth weights, excellent rate of gain, high weaning rates
* Active breeders
* Longevity (we have a 12 year old cow that due again May 15th, 2011)
* Quality/Marbeling even when 100% Grass-fed
Evidence shows they are cheaper to raise and maintain than regular cattle. They are ideal for producing 100% Grass-fed beef, since they do not need heavy grains or special finishing rations. Consumers are demanding safer beef, without growth hormones or antibiotics. Bison blended cattle fit consumer preferences easily for such classifications as 100% Grass-fed, all natural, or organic beef.
There is also additional information available via the USDA at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov