A Baby Is Born! And Follow Up On The Peas 7/12/19

July 13, 2019

Hello Small Farm Enthusiasts,

Sweet baby LuAnna Joy was born to us on July 9th at 2:40 AM.  We enjoyed an uncomplicated labor and delivery at home. She is perfect and cuter than anything I have ever seen and I look at her mom and sisters daily! We are all enjoying her so very much.

So now that the rains have come and we have abundant grass, why are the cows hitting the mineral box so much? Because the grass is now “washed out” as we farmers say, meaning less nutrient dense. In drought times the grass is not abundant but the cows get fat and milk like crazy because it is more nutrient dense.  A cow eats a bushel or 2 of grass per day and has to ferment down and extract nutrients from it and now she eats even more and has a challenge getting enough nutrients.  So, off to the mineral box she goes. We feed a 16 choice mineral system that allows the cow to get anything she needs at any time. Sea 90 salt is included as well as kelp, but anytime the cow needs iodine or calcium or trace minerals or whatever she has it right there in front of her for the taking. I see a lot of homesteaders wondering why their cows have issues, especially now when grass seems so abundant. But abundance is not everything for the cow, just like it is not for us. We need nutrient density. Our bodies do not want to process a lot of junk food to get a few nutrients. This is hard work for nothing. Junk food meals are energy negative, meaning they take more energy to digest than they give. Your body can live a while this way but not at peak performance.  The cow needs soil that is high in organic matter and these are only built thru rotational grazing and many home streaders do not want to do this, which is a BIG mistake in my opinion. You are not getting nutrient dense food from this poor starving cow. Also, one time 10 years ago a beef producer came and spent the day with me moving fences etc..  At the end of the day he told me he is never going to do rotational grazing as it is too much work. I told him he will not ever have nutrient dense beef but he said people will buy it just fine and they have been for 10 years. He is listed on http://www.eatwild.com/ and selling a lot of beef!!!

After our last newsletter went out we had a few questions that I thought would be beneficial to answer for all:

Hello Dennis,My name is _____________. I’m a member of a family ranch about 30 miles west of Okeeochobee Florida.How many lbs of peas per acre do you plant and how many acres per cow do you plant to supply one cow until your rye will provide her enough forage? Also do you use commercial fertilizer or any amendments on the peas?I enjoy reading about your thoughts. I’m sympathetic to your causes and admire your work ethics. Keep it up.   J

50 to 100 lbs per acre

1 or 2 acres per cow. I do not use fertilizer.  I might in the first few years until the organic matter in my soil was high enough, but not now.You might not need to plant a winter crop where you are. Also, look into star grass. Nickerson Dairy uses it.

Hi Dennis:Do you recommend growing peas and then rye as you described, for goats?  Thanks, M

Hi M, A few peas for the goats are ok. They are very high in protein and will suppress iodine if too many are fed causing only buck kids to be born. We experimented giving the goats peas over the whole summer last year and the results weren't something I want to repeat: almost all buck kids and the kids were a bit weaker, which is caused I think by the binding of iodine. In general, the higher the protein the more minerals the goats need. So, no I don't think peas are good for goats. Rye, however, is great for them and they do graze rye like the cows during the winter and do very well on it. Thanks,Lily

So, there is a lot to planting peas, and we do not yet have all the answers. But we know peas are a huge improvement over hay. See, if you feed grain you do not have to worry about feeding hay as the cows will get enough protein and energy from grain to do fine but grain is not something we want, as the health benefits of 100% grass fed milk and meat is what we seek. So when it comes time to graze these peas in October we give our herd about 1/10th of an acre, 3 times per day. They go into that 1/10th of an acre and get busy and when they are done there is not much left except rye seed stumped into the ground and pea vines and of course their fertilizer and the nitrogen fixed by the peas. 

This summer I am experimenting with a 14 way cross of different things I am planting along with the peas. Variety is good and Gabe Brown, in his book called “ Dirt to Soil” really challenged me to find what else works in our area. If I run into success I will certainly let it be known.    https://healthyliving101.kartra.com/videopage/7lUyfodS3HoQ 


Thanks for supporting a small, family farm and contributing to a more REGENERATIVE future,
Dennis and Alicia

Alicia Stoltzfoos

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