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Archive for February, 2013

As you can see from this video, feeding 146 head of cattle in the winter uses a lot of labor, equipment and fuel. Even more fuel is used shipping the certified organic hay down from our supplier, Jeremy Smalley of  Transfiguration Farm in Brandon, Vermont. Where we farm, cattle eat about five times their own body weight in hay every winter. So, it would be significantly cheaper for us to truck our cattle up to Vermont and back than it costs to truck the hay one way. We have talked to Jeremy about this. If we brought the herd to the hay for the winter instead of the other way around, his farm would no longer have to buy manure to fertilize his fields. That would be a more sustainable system for him and a lower carbon footprint all around. On the other hand, his place is now a pristine paradise with no fences, no cowpies, and no muddy hoofprints—and tourists spend good money to vacation there. It is unclear what bottom-line impact the cows would have on that business.

While I had the calculator out, I did this math: If you take the total amount of money we spend on the hay plus the shipping, we could afford to ship our herd about 1,250 miles and back each winter. That just about gets us to spending our winters in Orlando, Florida. All we need is a free 150 acre piece of land to graze. Now that sounds like a plan!

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NemoI was just getting ready to post a note about the upcoming Granite State Graziers 7th Annual Grazing Conference this weekend in Manchester—Steve will be presenting again this year. But now I’m not sure. The folks at the Weather Channel have convinced me that “The Big One” is going to arrive Friday night. Jim Cantore is about to hop a plane to Boston, and he is bringing his yardstick with him. He says no-one should be on the road past noon on Friday. Here’s an idea: get snowed in at the conference, and let the spouse handle the shoveling back home.

Update February 7, 2013: Sure enough, the conference has been postponed. I will post the rescheduling information when I get it.

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