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December 2009 Archive for 100% Grass-Fed

RSS By: Randy Kuhn, Beef Today

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.

Passion For The Future

Dec 31, 2009
PASSION FOR THE FUTURE
 
As we prepare to begin a new year, let’s determine to start it with passion, to press on with a desire to lay hold of what GOD wants us to do, not a governmental panel of “experts” or an organization that thinks they know what’s best for you, your cattle the environment and consumers that depend on us for the safest BEEF in the world.
Ask GOD to show you HIS plan for your farming/ranching operation in the coming New Year,
and than live it out to the fullest. 
On New Years Eve we may fear what the future holds because of events of this past year.
Think Positive! 
Let’s look forward to what the New Year holds for us and what we do as cattle producers.
Have no fear! 
We need not be chained to our old memories and way’s of doing things because we can move ahead focused on GOD. 
Just as God looked over his people and the land in Moses’ time, he still to this day and the coming year(s), will be looking over all of us and our land as we continue to constantly improve how we produce quality food for an ever increasing world population.
 
Happy New Year
from all of us at:
The Kuhn Family Farm
& Old Country Store
  
Read: Deuteronomy 11:7-12

Take time to STOP & THINK

Dec 20, 2009
CHRISTMAS OPPORTUNITIES
 
 
Christmas gives us the opportunity to do things for people we might otherwise neglect, and we must take advantage of every opportunity.
 
December 25th isn’t about presents but about Christ presence in our lives. The angels had been overjoyed once before when the Son of God, through whom all things were created, laid the foundations of the earth (Job 38:1-7). But now the same Son was coming to dwell upon the earth He created! The joy only the angels had known would now be a joy spread throughout the earth to all people.   Have you experienced the peace of which the angels spoke?
 
Imagine how excited you’d be (or are), if your loved one were returning home after a tour of duty. You would be (or are), giddy with excitement, straightening the house, planning a menu, calling friends, and preparing for the long-awaited reunion.  This is the same excitement we should be experiencing and preparing for in the coming week as we get ready for Christmas. The Celebration of Jesus Christ. Think of why he came, and what he did for us.
This Christmas, remind yourself of why it is more blessed to give than to receive.
 
And as this year is coming to an end, it may be a good time to leave behind some old habits. 
Perhaps you need to bring your temper under Christ’s control. 
Perhaps you need to change your vocabulary.  Maybe God is nudging us to forgive an offense or overlook an insult.
 
As we celebrate Christmas with friends and family, and prepare to end one year and begin a new one, let’s determine to start it with passion. To press on with a desire to succeed in how we live our lives and how we choose to raise our cattle!
 
Celebrate Christmas this year with both a backward glance
and a forward look! Rejoice! God is with us!
 
Merry Christmas,
From all of us at:
The Kuhn Family Farm
                                                    & Old Country Store

Anonymous CATTLE Producers!

Dec 16, 2009
Apparently there are ALLOT of BEEF producers out there that read my weekly blogs, and they are ashamed of how they are raising their Cattle! Even though they never agree with anything I put in my blog’s, they constantly spend the time to read them and comment on them “Anonymously”
   You would think that if they really believed in how they were raising their animals and their practices were in the best interest of the consumer and environment, they would share their experiences and practices in a professional and knowledgeable way, rather than back lashing with comments that they don’t even feel comfortable with signing their names to.      “Anonymous” is a broad/non-descript term or title utilized to hide behind when you are afraid of being singled out for your comments and practices. 
   I feel sorry for the “Anonymous” responders that get so upset when someone tries to share personal experiences and a DIFFERENT WAY OF DOING SOMETHING! If we never try anything different, we can’t grow, progress, evolve, etc. 
 And yes, I’m sure there will even be responses to this little commentary by “Anonymous” readers.   I look forward to hearing from you, and we’ll all be praying for you too!
 
MERRY CHRISTMAS !
  
Manuring Hay Fields
 
We don’t spread manure on any of our fields used for Hay production or pasturing of our animals. It’s a personal decision that we made years ago simply due to the fact that it doesn’t seem like a healthy option.   Of course there is manure in our pastures that is deposited by the animals while they graze. As far as I know, no one has been able to train their cattle to only “go” in one area, kind of like a Cattle bathroom! 
 
I recently read an articlethat spoke about “Johne’s disease” as an increasing problem. The disease is especially problematic in dairy cattle. The article took a look at weather or not manure should be applied to forages?   I’m sure most (if not all), of you have heard of Johne’s disease, but do you know how cattle contract the disease?
Calves under 6 months of age are the most susceptible. The common route of infection is when these young calves consume colostrum or milk from infected cow’s/heifers that have been on pasture, or that have eaten forages infected with MAP.
 
MAP is Mycobacterium avium paratuberculosis, MAP is what causes “Johne’s disease. MAP can survive in manure & water for up to ONE YEAR!  
MAP can be reduced by exposure to sunlight, liming, as well as the process of fermentation as when ensiling.  
 
Manure should NOT be applied to pastures where calves and young heifers graze during grazing season. If you don’t have the option of applying your manure on non-animal pasturing or hay production fields, make sure you apply it/top dress it as soon as possible following harvest. This will allow the sun’s light to kill the bacteria (MAP).   If applying manure to your hay fields that will be utilized for haylage, be sure to follow good ensiling techniques.   This means making sure the harvested forage is at the proper DMC (dry matter content), when storing in a silo, trench or agbag. 
 
For most of us, pasturing is over for the next few months. If applying manure remember to keep it thin/top dress only. Especially if your ground is frozen.
Pitch of your fields and run-off is another problem you must consider unless your going to be renovating your hay field in the spring. Make sure you work “it” (manure), in as soon as possible. This will help keep the nitrogen in the ground where you ultimately want it and not going up in the air. This will also help keep the phosphorus out of your streams too! Your local watershed Representatives will thank you.

Manuring Pastures & Hay Fields

Dec 15, 2009
Manuring Hay Fields
 
We don’t spread manure on any of our fields used for Hay production or pasturing of our animals. It’s a personal decision that we made years ago simply due to the fact that it doesn’t seem like a healthy option.   Of course there is manure in our pastures that is deposited by the animals while they graze. As far as I know, no one has been able to train their cattle to only “go” in one area, kind of like a Cattle bathroom! 
 
I recently read an article that spoke about “Johne’s disease” as an increasing problem. The disease is especially problematic in dairy cattle. The article took a look at weather or not manure should be applied to forages?   I’m sure most (if not all), of you have heard of Johne’s disease, but do you know how cattle contract the disease?
Calves under 6 months of age are the most susceptible. The common route of infection is when these young calves consume colostrum or milk from infected cow’s/heifers that have been on pasture, or that have eaten forages infected with MAP.
 
MAP is Mycobacterium avium paratuberculosis, MAP is what causes “Johne’s disease. MAP can survive in manure & water for up to ONE YEAR!  
MAP can be reduced by exposure to sunlight, liming, as well as the process of fermentation as when ensiling.  
 
Manure should NOT be applied to pastures where calves and young heifers graze during grazing season. If you don’t have the option of applying your manure on non-animal pasturing or hay production fields, make sure you apply it/top dress it as soon as possible following harvest. This will allow the sun’s light to kill the bacteria (MAP).   If applying manure to your hay fields that will be utilized for haylage, be sure to follow good ensiling techniques.   This means making sure the harvested forage is at the proper DMC (dry matter content), when storing in a silo, trench or agbag. 
 
For most of us, pasturing is over for the next few months. If applying manure remember to keep it thin/top dress only. Especially if your ground is frozen.
Pitch of your fields and run-off is another problem you must consider unless your going to be renovating your hay field in the spring. Make sure you work “it” (manure), in as soon as possible. This will help keep the nitrogen in the ground where you ultimately want it and not going up in the air. This will also help keep the phosphorus out of your streams too! Your local watershed Representatives will thank you.

Orchardgrass & Tall Fescue. It's what's for Dinner!

Dec 13, 2009
Why Orchardgrass?
 
If you’re a hay grower, marketer or Broker, you know that “Grass Farmers” try to cater primarily to the Horse Market. WHY? Because Horse Owners are VERY finicky when it comes to feeding hay to their investments (their horses).
 
   Orchardgrass is highly desired by horses owners because of it’s digestible fiber.  And because of the high digestibility, It’s very palatable. So why not interseed orchardgrass into your hay and pastures that your BEEF or Dairy cattle are on?
 
   It has a very fast establishment period, it grows vigorously, it withstands heavy/frequent cutting for hay production, has quick re-growth and most importantly IT HELPS ALFALFA CURE/DRY FASTER! And after this past season, I bet all of us (except those of you in TEXAS), could have used some help in the dry-down portion of your hay making process.   Parts of the Southeast have received more than 150% of their historical averages for moisture this past June, July & August, which is the busiest hay making time of the year wherever you live.  
 
   On our farm, we have a custom hay mix of Orchardgrass, Timothy, Alfalfa, Red & White Clover.  The longest we had to wait between mowing and bailing (small square bales), this past summer was 5 day’s. The orchardgrass was assisted somewhat by the endophyte-free tall fescue, but we would have never gotten any rain-free hay in our barn, if it weren’t for the orchardgrass which makes up 25% of our hay mix.
 
   Our rotational pastures consist of endophyte-free tall fescue, orchardgrass, perennial ryegrass, alfalfa (sunken crown), red & white clover, and timothy.  That mix wouldn’t be conducive for making hay (trust me, I’ve tried), because it takes FOREVER to dry if you use a roll-bar style rake like we do.   If you normally take off a 1st cutting of your pastures prior to turning out your cattle for the season, you will want to re-calculate your proportions of seed percentages so it’s conducive to making dry hay.  On the other hand, if you’re making haylage or baleage, the prior mentioned mix would work fine.
 
 
Why TALL Fescue?
 
   Most horse owners will not feed hay with fescue in it. But if you can prove to them that it’s “Endophyte-Free”, that is a huge advantage you will have over your competitor/hay marketer. 
  
   Endophyte-free tall fescue offers High NDFd.  If you’re a Grass-fed Dairy operation, studies show that you can PRODUCE MORE MILK per ton feeding tall fescue than alfalfa!   It has a large deep root system for areas that are prone to drought but at the same time it grows well in wetter/poor draining areas like here in Bradford County, PA.   There are also new, softer leaf varieties to help with palatability and digestibility.  And it grows well with alfalfa.
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