Monday, April 25, 2016

Montana Ranchers



Welcome to Ranching Week here at OPOD. Today's picture is from 1942, and it shows some ranchers gathered around the dinner table in Montana, discussing cattle prices. I will have to admit I am toying with the idea of buying some cattle for out little 10 acre place here. I will probably start with two weaned calves, raise them up, and then sell one at market, and butcher the other. Recently, I have really gotten into the whole grass fed and organic craze. I believe our confined space factory raising of food leads to poor health. So, my plan is to raise my own beef. Already, we grow our own vegetables in the greenhouse, and have chickens for free range eggs. The next move will be to grow our own meat. The plan is to grow forage in the greenhouse, so the cows will eat fresh green grass year round. So, do you think I have what it takes to be a gentleman rancher?

11 comments:

  1. That sounds like a good idea.
    Linda here in Texas

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  2. I don't eat meat, so this is out of my field, but the idea of deliberately killing something that has learned to trust you, practically a family pet, is not a pleasant one.

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    1. If you don't eat meat and it is out of your field, why did you butt in with a comment?

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    2. My father was Montana farmer/sheep rancher during this era. His parents were homesteaders in eastern MT in the early 1900s, so there's a sense of familiarity for me in this photo. He felt much the same way as Lady Anne about killing and eating animals that we raised. It always seemed like a bit of a contradiction for someone whose family had been in the business for many decades.

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    3. No one said it was pleasant, but life is full of complexities. That's one of the important lessons our 4-Hers, Future Farmers of America, and just plain farm kids learn as they go about raising their animals. The best ranchers respect the animals in their care -- but keep the sentimentality in its proper place.

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  3. I think you should give it a try. You will get some interesting pictures and anecdotes to share as well, so everyone will benefit.

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  4. yeah just call me if you need assistance--MB

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  5. You can't grow enough grass in your greenhouse to feed even 1 calf or cow through the winter. Have to buy alfalfa hay. $17.00 a bale in Eldorado right now.--MB

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    1. Actually a SMALL fodder system will produce over 100 pounds a day. Then I get probably another 10 pounds a day in leafy green waste from the greenhouse. The sprouting/hydroponic fodder systems grow a lot, fast in a small space.

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  6. Clearly, you're already a gentleman, so adding rancher to the description is a natural next step. :-)

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  7. Having used a fodder system to try to feed my livestock a couple of years ago when the drought was worse than it had been and hay was hard to come by, if you try to go this route do NOT try to raise more than two calves. (And I'm only saying two because I dislike having social animals raised without a companion.) While fodder is touted as being the solution to high hay prices, etc. what I wasn't told and found out the hard way, that fodder is a substitute for grain - not hay. While my sheep all lambed that year, lamb weights were low and I couldn't keep weight on my ewes. The fodder itself is quirky and difficult to grow without molding unless you have a climate controlled system or room. The fodder was a nice treat for the chickens and goats but was NOT sufficient as a substitute for hay. Good luck if you try it - I found that the fodder was like everything else that sounds too good to be true -- the hype isn't true. I hope your experience is better.

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