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The Success of Earthworms on Our Ranch
So we've taken the Red Devon Breed and put them out on open pasture to eat grass and grass only. This grass isn't just any grass! More on that in a minute... One of the biggest problems with our food system is the intensive tilling that is taking place, the over spraying of chemicals and the killing of billions of living symbiotic relationships. These microscopic bugs work in unity with plants. When we kill the bugs the plants are almost nutrition less and it takes large amounts of inputs to make grass grow and to rid of pests. So here's what an industrialesque pasture's life cycle would look like at each layer and what the results is, the result that you ultimately purchase...
Average Grass-Fed Beef from dead Fields
I plant seeds, I water the seeds and grass grows. Because I don't want to deal with pests I spray my fields with herbicides, insecticides and whatever chemicals are necessary. By spraying my fields I won't have pests and I will ensure that my grass is going to grow. I learned this from farmer wisdom, everyone else does it this way so it must be right. Well since I've killed anything living in the soil, the plants support system, my grass never really grows and it dies. I start over the following year. I still have no life in my soil from spraying chemicals the previous year so I will add nitrogen in order to help the grass grow. After spreading nitrogen fertilizer I plant my grass, water it and wait for it to grow with confidence. After it grows I spray again to rid of bugs and pests. Bam! Success, I have grass. I continue this cycle over and over for decades. The grass has weak roots so its often completely uprooted as a cows takes a bite and is never established but I can't do much about it, i'm ok doing this cycle over and over and over again. I use this grass to feed my cows and sell them as grass-fed beef.
So technically putting a mongrel cow on that type of grass would merit, to the average consumer, an ideal visual of what grass-fed beef is and should be. Because after all were we to peer over a wooden fence to see a cow grazing on this field we would think to ourselves, "this is nice, this is how it should be, this is ideal." That cow will one day be butchered and sold and you will have a terrible experience because there is little nutrition in that meat, it will be tough, it will be dry and it will hardly have any nutrition. That's why many will say that grass-fed steak is far inferior to corn fed traditional steak because they're actually paying a premium for a crappy product.
Bar 10 Grass-Fed Beef from living Fields
I have this land that doesn't seem to want to grow anything unless I put large amounts of nitrogen on it and spray chemicals to rid of bugs. I am adamant that this is not that way. I struggle for years to rebuild the soil, struggle to get any production at all. I'm in debt trying to make this work and often times think it isn't worth it! I should just quit and do what everyone else is doing. I stick to my guns, though. Each year, though it has taken a decade, I spread 2 gallons per acre of raw milk and 2 gallons per acre of cane molasses to feed the bugs and invite them back. I've never used fertilizer, i've never sprayed chemicals. When I began my soil was motionless now it's teaming with life. I never worry about pests like aphids or grasshoppers eating my grass because the mineral content is so high that they die when the eat my grass. These pests are much happier partying around my fields on the neighbors land but they don't party with me anymore. There's a direct correlation between mineral content of soil and sugar content of plants. These predator pests that industrial wisdom sprays for don't have a pancreas, therefore, they cannot process sugar. The sugar turns to alcohol and kills the bugs. Strong soil = healthy grass which has natural defenses. Our soil's mineral content or sugar content rivals that of Napa Valley grapes. Industrial fields have dead soil (no minerals), therefore no sugar in the plants and thus the problem with pests. We separate our land into different pastures and move the cows from one to another so no pasture is ever overgrazed and uprooted. The grass keeps it's roots and maintains it's microscopic relationships that continue to get stronger and stronger as I type. In addition to the molasses and raw milk our cattle consume bentonite clay. Bentonite clay is a toxin binder, when wild animals have access to clay they consume it, the clay will bind any toxins the cow has ingested and it will pass on through. Like you read above, we don't throw a mongrel herd on our grass either. Our Red Devon cattle have pure genetics and are built, through evolution, to thrive on grass. They get fat on grass alone. So when your in the grocery store looking to purchase grass-fed beef for health reasons or environmental reasons you may want to ask a few questions. While they say the worst steak is a grass-fed steak they ALSO say the BEST steak is Grass-Fed because some of us are actually doing it right.
The Grand Canyon makes this strip of land unaccessible to it's own state! All the land North of the Grand Canyon is considered the Arizona Strip. The county seat is in Kingman, AZ. and because of that the Strip was historically known as a place for outlaws. They'd committ their crimes then jump the border into Arizona and since it was out of Utah's jurisdiction nothing could be done. Kingman was only about 60 miles from the strip the way the crow flies but it took the Sheriff 3 weeks by horseback to ride from Kingman into Nevada then Utah and down onto the Strip and because of that he rarely came around. After survyeing the land years ago National Geographic dubbed it the Tibet of the Americans. A desolate strip of land that is untamed and harsh on anyone who plans to live there. The early Mormon Pioneers came across the plains to Salt Lake City, Utah from back east and once there, many families were commissioned to settle other regions nearby. Originally the plan was to grow cotton in the southern part of Utah (This is why St. George, UT. is called Utah's Dixie) but they quickly realized it was a very difficult place to grow anything but they recognized that the cattle were thriving! Since then the Strip has become cattle country. Currently Bar 10 Beef grazes 1,000 cows on 250,000 acres. It takes 100 acres per year to sustain just one cow out here! We rotational graze the cattle to ensure that certain pastures are resting, allowing the soil and grass to regenerate and thrive after the cattle had left their mark. The grey dot is where our guest lodge is. It lies about 10 miles from the north rim of the Grand Canyon in Whitmore Canyon. The ranch is completely off the grid running on solar power and is gravity fed 25 gallons of fresh water per minute by a spring called Big Spring. We have guest from all over the world come out to experience the truly wild west! Bar10.com
All Natural Grass-Fed
Our herd of around 1,000 cows are never given hormones or anitbiotics. When a cow is fed it's atavistic diet of grass from rich soil they fatten up naturally and have strong immune systems! A cow was never meant to eat anything other than grass, period! Cows are ruminants and as such they are amazing in the sense that they can turn low quality forage into high quality beef. Antibiotics and hormones are given to keep cows, who eat an unnatural diet, alive along enough to reach a desired kill weight. Cows fed corn and other byproducts are near death by the time they're butchered due to their immune system's being compromised on a diet other then grass. There are numerous ill effects when cows are fed corn or other byproducts from other food industries. If the cow is unhealthy and we consume that then we will also expereince ill effects as a result.
FUN FACT: Did you know that some ranchers or grass-fed beef providers will claim no antibiotics when in fact their cows have been given antibiotics? In order to make this claim a rancher simply can't give that animal antibiotics 30 days before processing, that's it. That's why building a relationship with us directly is way better then any label or certification. At the end of the day, our animals are way too healthy anyway!
Bar 10 cows are healthy and strong! Another small but incredibly significant thing we practice as part of our operation is weaning our calves at around 10 months as opposed to the industry average of 4-6 months. When a calf is first born it's rumen (stomach) is still developing. When a calf is taken off it's mothers milk too soon it isn't capable of processing grass nor anything else properly. 10 months allows the development of this evolved digestive system to reach it's natural potential so that once a calf begins eating grass it's able to process it more efficiently while avoiding illness at the same time. Hippocrates said that all disease begins in the gut! Cows need, just like us, healthy guts!
FUN FACT: Changing the diet of a cow that has been fed grass it's entire life to corn for the last couple weeks will change the fat content, duh!, of that animal. Thus the imbalance of Omega-3's and 6's once again making a product that isn't ideal for human consumption. Next time you hear that from someone you can know that it isn't right and it isn't near as healthy for you. It usually looks like this, "we just feed them corn to fatten them up for a few weeks, no big deal." It is a big deal, try eating ice cream straight for 4 weeks and show us the results;)
Genetics play a huge role in successfully finishing a well marbled, healthy animal that never eats anything other than grass. What has happened over time is pure genetics have been lost. Most cows are from mongrol herds who have been raised for generations on unnatural diets in non-ideal living situations. Like mentioned above, they're weaned too early as well. The Red Devon is a heritage breed from England. Their genetics have largely been protected by Amish and Mennonite communities. One of these bulls can sell for 10's of thousands of dollars. Being a 5th generation cattle ranch we, too, had a fairly mongrel herd. We traveled to different parts of the country and all over the world to convert our conventional-industrial wisdom to the wisdom of our ancestors. We learned that a Red Devon cow will get fat on grass alone, is easy keeping, docile and thrives on the Arizona Strip with a calf in the middle of the winter! For every bite of forage taken it'll convert 65% to muscle and fat and use the rest for sustaining. Whereas a traditional cow is closer to 50/50. This bull is the the bull we began using in order to transform our herd! He's from New Zealand. We continue to improve our herds genetics for their health, our health, and to overall produce a more ideal experience for everyone and everything involved. Check out two videos in the video section of our website on how we linear measure and take our heifers to Heartwater in order to improve genetics! It's a lot more work than most are willing to do, but our product is also unlike anything you'll ever have!