Where's the Beef?!

Beef, beef, beef!

Our day today was all about Native Beef Farm, located in Chalfont St. Giles. Native Beef is a farm run primarily by Jonathan and his one part-time worker. All of the cattle that he raises are pedigree Red Ruby Devon, aside from a handful of Devon x Red Angus crosses. Each of his cattle finish completely off of pasture grass or grass silage, without any addition of cereal grains, supplementation, growth hormones, or antibiotics.

One of the most important and unique things to Native Beef is the fact that Jonathan sought after an AWA (Animal Welfare Approved) stamp of approval and a certification from the Pasture Fed Livestock Association! Both of these groups demonstrate just how committed he is to creating a high quality beef product, in a way that is the least stressful for the animal.

Across the 400 acres of the farm, there are currently 220 cattle allotted to various paddocks. In the wintertime, Native Beef has the facilities to house a maximum of 250 cattle, all being fed grass silage. Each of the barns is designed based on simplicity, with the bedding material being loose straw.

In terms of weaning, the barn that the cows calve in has a device called a "calf gate". Essentially what this is, is a gap in the horizontal slats of a fence down the middle line of the barn. This gap allows for the calves to cross to the other side, where sweet grass is laid down. This process makes weaning much less stressful for both the mother and calf, as it is at their own pace.

Word of the day: "poaching the ground"
Translation: when cows are too heavy to put out on grass right after winter because they will ruin & stomp down the grass, so lighter weight cattle are put out on grass first

-Katie, Olivia, Tessa


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