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Grass and Cattle Management

Ranch Management

Hickory Lake Beef is continually studying holistic ranch management methods to produce healthy cattle and be good stewards of the land. One of our mentors is Betsy Ross who runs Ross Farms in Granger, Texas. She taught us about soil biology. As a result, we do not use chemical fertilizers. The foundation of healthy beef is healthy soil. We spray our pastures with compost tea to build up and improve the soil biology.

Grazing Management

Hickory Lake Beef uses rotational and mob grazing techniques to help enrich our soils and grow grass naturally. Years ago nature would grow grass by using the buffalo herds which roamed the prairies. The buffalo would eat, stomp (putting down a mulch which held in the moisture), fertilize the grass, and then move on. The grass would then be allowed to rest and grow back, producing beautiful lush pastures. This process produced organic matter in the soils that would help feed living microbes, encourage earthworm activity, and grow beautiful healthy grass.

We mimic their method by using electric fences to control where and how long our cattle graze in each area. The result is a gradual improvement of soil health which leads to healthier grasses and in turn healthier cattle. Nature at work will produce microbes and earthworms in the soil, and dung beetles working on the soil surface, creating a rich healthy environment. Our compost tea enhances this process whereas chemical fertilizers inhibit or destroy it. We believe nature has the better way.

Managing our cattle

We do not use pesticides and our grass fed cattle are never given any hormones, growth steroids, or antibiotics. They do not need them because of the healthy environment in which they are raised. Our low-stress methods of working with our cattle helps them thrive naturally. We truly have contented cows. We wean our calves when they are about 8 or 9 months old using a fence line method of weaning, which creates very little stress. Our calves are then put on our best grasses--lush green oats in the winter and warm season, and new, succulent pastures in the spring. Our calves are never fed corn or any other grains.

They are ready to be processed when they are about 24 months old and weigh between 800 to 1000 pounds.

Our grass-fed cattle breed

Our cattle are Devon/Brangus/Akaushi (Wagyu) cross. The Devon breed is noted for gentleness and is genetically adapted to grass-finishing. The Akaushi (Wagyu) is known worldwide for its distinct marbling that gives a melt-in-your-mouth texture and a rich, buttery flavor. All three breeds are known for their tender, tasty beef.

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