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Planning for Grassfed Success

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Speaker: Dr. Allen Williams …

Speaker: Dr. Allen Williams
Session: Grass Fed Beef Production

Published in: Education

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  • 15 zeros Quadrillion 18 zeros Quintrillion 21 zeros Sextillion
    Here is how much soil “livestock” there is in a healthy soil. 8000 lbs. What do they all do? I am pretty sure I can’t tell you what they all do. I don’t even know if I can tell you how many there are.
    Can you tell me how many there are? 800 Quintrillion Bacteria. I chopped off 3 zeros so it shows 20 Quadrillion Actinomycetes but it really was 20 Quintrillion . I didn’t figure you could pronounce the name so I didn’t figure you would miss 3 zero’s.
    I can tell you they are ALL critical to the soil health. For example Fungi act as root extensions. They attach to the roots and can extend 30-40 feet. Some of the others make minerals more available to plants. In effect they make the plant roots 40 feet long. Each one is like a link in a chain. If one is killed or destroyed the entire chain will not work.
    So if we all have soil do we all have these microorganisms?????
  • 15 zeros Quadrillion 18 zeros Quintrillion 21 zeros Sextillion
    Here is how much soil “livestock” there is in a healthy soil. 8000 lbs. What do they all do? I am pretty sure I can’t tell you what they all do. I don’t even know if I can tell you how many there are.
    Can you tell me how many there are? 800 Quintrillion Bacteria. I chopped off 3 zeros so it shows 20 Quadrillion Actinomycetes but it really was 20 Quintrillion . I didn’t figure you could pronounce the name so I didn’t figure you would miss 3 zero’s.
    I can tell you they are ALL critical to the soil health. For example Fungi act as root extensions. They attach to the roots and can extend 30-40 feet. Some of the others make minerals more available to plants. In effect they make the plant roots 40 feet long. Each one is like a link in a chain. If one is killed or destroyed the entire chain will not work.
    So if we all have soil do we all have these microorganisms?????
  • What do most NRCS structural practices do? Terraces, Grade Stabs, Waterways? Pl566 Watershed structures? They all try to get water off the field safely to prevent erosion and prevent flooding.
    What if all of our soils were back to presettlement levels of organic matter? Would we have the flooding and erosion problems?
    It is no wonder we have to build things to control runoff. Even with perennial grass and great ground cover to slow the runoff down our soils just won’t hold the water.
  • In the 3-paddock system (analogous to continuously grazed pastures) very few manure piles are deposited in the main paddock area. There is a concentration of manure near shade and water. I frequently ask the audience to identify the areas of the field where manure piles are most densely concentrated (shade, east end; water, southwest corner).
    In the intensively grazed 24-paddock system there is a much more even distribution of manure piles in the pasture creating a higher density of manure piles in the main paddock area. There is still a concentration of nutrient near water but the trends are less pronounced.
  • But what can an even more intensive system do?
  • Here is a set of cows at almost 150,000 stock density. Actually the photo appears to be a little higher than that because the 250 pair have access to 3 acres but they are standing on only about 2 acres of the field. Again, we are taking a look at how closely they are spaced. When I talk to people about putting that many cattle on 2-3 acres they always ask “can they even fit on that small of an area”? Do they look smashed together to you? To they look stressed to you?
  • Transcript

    • 1. Planning For Grassfed Success Allen Williams, Ph.D. LMC, LLC
    • 2. 2
    • 3. Grass-fed Beef : Budget for Success Getting Started – – – – Genetics Principles of managed Grazing Fencing / Watering Solutions Winter Forage Financials – Grazing vs Row Crop Rental – Cow/Calf vs Finishing – 5 Year Cash Flow 3
    • 4. What About The Grassfed Sector? Mintel Red Meat Report – 2012 In major US metro areas – Grass fed beef accounted for between 3% and 6% of all beef sales. 4
    • 5. Grassfed Sector Mintel Red Meat Report – 2012 – Importance On Scale of 1-10: – Grass Fed – 7.2 – Impact on environment – 7.5 – Hormone/Antibiotic Free – 7.9 – Taste – 8.7 43% had purchased “Grass Fed” or “Locally Raised” beef in 2012. 5
    • 6. Value of Grass Fed Beef Market 1998 – 100+ serious grass fed beef producers – $4-$5 million retail value – Domestic – Industry in infancy – Thought of as “fad” – Little attention paid by larger programs and packers, or even producers 6
    • 7. Value of Grass Fed Market 2013: – More than $2 billion sold in U.S. $450 million domestic $1.5 billion+ imported – More than 3000 producers involved. – Growing @ 25-30% rate annually. – Has penetrated all major market sectors. – Major branded program and packer interest. 7
    • 8. Economic Data University Studies and Farm/Ranch Case Study data show: – Takes average of 0.8 – 1.2 acres per head to finish steers. – More than enough available acres to finish 30 million+ head annually in U.S. – Skilled grass finishers net $300 - $500+ per acre. – Build soil rather than deplete. Value of SOM is $750/ac per 1.0%. 8
    • 9. Selecting Genetics for Forage Based Production
    • 10. Cow Herd Attributes Must have great longevity High fertility. Sound feet & legs, eyes, udder & teats, teeth. Low to moderate milk Highly adapted to their environment Moderate frame (BIF Frame Score 3.0-5.0) – Bulls = 52 – 56 inches – Cows = 48 – 52 inches Adequate depth, thickness, and gut capacity.
    • 11. Bull Selection – What Are We Looking For?
    • 12. “Viewed from behind, the fertile bull has well sprung ribs, and the lower rib region is the widest part of the body.” J.C.B.
    • 13. 16
    • 14. 17
    • 15. 18
    • 16. Cow Selection
    • 17. “The animal that is really functionally efficient has small, sleek and very shiny teats.” J.C.B.
    • 18. “The body of the highly fertile cow is in beautiful proportion; she looks feminine or broody. Seen from behind, the largest diameter of the body is the mid-rib region. She has a tremendous stomach capacity…” J.C.B.
    • 19. 25
    • 20. Grass-fed Beef : Budget for Success Environmental Benefits of Holistic Management – Improve Soil Health – Reduce Erosion, Improve Water Retention – Improved Water Quality – Improve Wildlife Habitat 26
    • 21. It All Starts With The Soil!!
    • 22. The Soil is Alive!! 28
    • 23. 29
    • 24. 90% of soil function is mediated by microbes. Microbes depend on plants. So, how we manage plants is critical. 30
    • 25. Plant growth & health highly correlated with how much life & what kind of life is in the soil! – Microbes Matter!!! – Microbial community structure crucial. – Highly Important Fungi to Bacteria ratio Predator to Prey ratio 31
    • 26. Optimum Soil Health Type of Organism number/acre Bacteria 800,000,000,000,000,000,000 Actinobacteria 20,000,000,000,000,000 Fungi 200,000,000,000,000 Algae 4,000,000,000 Protozoa 2,000,000,000,000 Nematodes 80,000,000 Earthworms 40,000 Insects /arthropods 8,160,000 lbs/acre 2,600 1,300 2,600 90 90 45 445 830 Soil Food Web 32
    • 27. Depleted Soil Type of Organism Bacteria Actinobacteria Fungi Algae Protozoa Nematodes Earthworms Insects /arthropods lbs/acre <500 < 300 < 1000 <90 to >200 <50 >100 <50 <200 Soil Food Web 33
    • 28. Role of Microbes Produce Glomalin – “Soil Glue”. – Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) Glomalin creates soil aggregates vital to nutrient exchange and water movement. Reduces ponding and runoff. Without underground “highways” created by glomalin, crops require more fertilizer for same yields. Slows down rate of water entering aggregate. Soil aggregates are soil carbon vault. Stores carbon where slow-acting microbes live. 34
    • 29. Additional Roles Fungal Hyphae: – Help create fine roots More efficient at grabbing nutrients. Require less carbon as fuel (lower mpg). Unlock chemical bonds to release P, S, N. Fungi take up P 6 X’s faster than root hairs. – Connect roots from different plants . Transfer N and other nutrients from legume nodule to non-legume root. 35
    • 30. 10,000 – 50,000 microbe species in one gram of soil. Nutrient cycling services worth up to $20 Trillion annually! World’s most valuable ecosystem! “Soil livestock” more numerous & diverse than tropical rain forest species. 36
    • 31. Bacteria Pseudomonas Bacillus subtillis Mycobacterium Actinomycetes 37
    • 32. Mycorrhizal Fungi 38
    • 33. Protozoa Regulate bacterial populations Mineralize nutrients Release NH4+ (ammonium) Nutrient cycling 39
    • 34. Nematodes Four Types of Free-living nematodes: – – – – Bacterial Feeders Fungal Feeders Predatory nematodes Omnivores Beneficial nematodes help control disease & cycle nutrients. Stimulate prey populations. Disperse microbes. Food source – higher predators. Disease suppression & Development. 40
    • 35. Insects/Arthropods Sowbug Mites Beetles Ants 41
    • 36. Earthworms Functions: – Stimulate microbial activity. – Mix & aggregate soil. – Increase infiltration. – Improve water holding capacity. – Provide channels for root growth. – Bury & shred plant residue. 42
    • 37. Building Topsoil Soil Insects Earthworm Castings 43
    • 38. Nature’s Builders at Work 44
    • 39. The Value of Soil Organic Matter
    • 40. Can we control runoff with OM? 2% OM will hold 32,000 gallons of water or 21% of a rainfall. 5% OM will hold 80,000 gallons of water or 53% of a rainfall. 8% OM will hold 128,000 gallons of water or 85% of a rainfall.
    • 41. 47
    • 42. 48
    • 43. Conserving & Improving Soil data from Breneman Discovery Farms project 3 2.79 Measured 2006 2.5 Measured 2007 Rusle2 computer prediction Sediment losses from Breneman outwintering pastures tons soil loss/acre Dairy cropping system 2 Row crop system 1.5 1 0.86 0.5 0 0.0009 0.029 0.04 Soil Erosion Courtesy of Laura Paine
    • 44. Value of Soil Organic Matter (1.0% SOM Nutrients/Acre) Nutrients Nutrient (Lbs) Unit Value/lb Value/Acre Nitrogen 1000 $0.56 $560 Phosphorus 100 $0.67 $67 Potassium 100 $0.54 $54 Sulfur 100 $0.50 $50 Carbon 10000 $0.037 $20 Value of 1.0% SOM in Nutrients/Acre Source: J. Soil and Water Conserv. B. Hudson. 49 (2) 189-194 $751 5.0% SOM = $3755 50
    • 45. Strategies for Land Improvement 51
    • 46. Building SOM and Soil Microbial Populations Through: Plant Species Diversity Livestock Impact 52
    • 47. Diversity
    • 48. Monoculture Diversity/Complexity 54
    • 49. Livestock Impact 55
    • 50. Constant Observation 56
    • 51. Where Do Majority of Soil Microbes Live & Function? 57
    • 52. Microbe “Home” – Soil microbes live and function in root zone. 58
    • 53. Rotational Grazing 101 Pasture recovery is Critical! 59
    • 54. Planned Multi-Paddock Grazing Ranch road 60
    • 55. Restoration Using Multi-Paddock Grazing – Noble Foundation 61
    • 56. Decrease drought impacts % Leaf Volume Removed % Root Growth Stoppage 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 0% 0% 0% 0% 2-4% 50% 78% 100% 100% Range Condition E x c e lle n t Good Poor 62
    • 57. A B PLANTS AT START EXTENT OF GRAZING 5 DAYS RECOVERY 10 DAYS RECOVERY 15 DAYS RECOVERY
    • 58. 64
    • 59. Light, Continous Graze High Density Grazing Teaugue, et al. 2013 65
    • 60. Manure Distribution
    • 61. Manure Distribution Rotation Frequency Years to Get 1 Pile/sq. yard Continuous 27 14 day 8 4 day 4–5 2 day 1 time a day 2 ??
    • 62. Adaptive High Stock Density Grazing
    • 63. Moving the “Mob”
    • 64. Winter Bale Grazing 74
    • 65. Bale Grazing in Nova Scotia 76
    • 66. Warm Season Cocktail
    • 67. 78
    • 68. 79
    • 69. Cool Season Cocktail
    • 70. Before Grazing
    • 71. New Move
    • 72. Next Move
    • 73. Winter Stockpile Grazing 84
    • 74. Millet: 9% CP 50% TDN Sorghum/Sudan: 12% CP 72% TDN
    • 75. Hairy Vetch: 18% CP 70% TDN
    • 76. Radish: 14% CP 70% TDN
    • 77. Mississippi Farm 88
    • 78. 89
    • 79. Implemented Strategy Bale Grazing 1st winter. High Stock Density/Short Duration Grazing. Long rest periods. Strategic use of soil microbials. 90
    • 80. 91
    • 81. 92
    • 82. 93
    • 83. 94
    • 84. 95
    • 85. Progress Tripled Stocking Rate. Forage species increased from less than 3-4 major species to more than 35. Soil OM increased from 1.5% to 4.3%. Brix increased 400%+. Water infiltration and retention increased. Increase in earthworms, soil level insects, pollinators, and wildlife. 96
    • 86. Building Soil OM Mississippi – 1.0% - 4.2% (4 years) New York – 1.5% - 4.1% (5 years) Kansas – 1.6% - 3.9% (5 years) Nebraska – 2.1% - 5.5% (6 years) Michigan – 2.2% - 6.1% (6 years) Wisconsin – 2.3% - 5.0% (4 years) 97
    • 87. Conserving & Improving Soil data from Breneman Discovery Farms project 3 2.79 Measured 2006 2.5 Measured 2007 Rusle2 computer prediction Sediment losses from Breneman outwintering pastures tons soil loss/acre Dairy cropping system 2 Row crop system 1.5 1 0.86 0.5 0 0.0009 0.029 0.04 Soil Erosion Courtesy of Laura Paine
    • 88. Soil Temperature 99
    • 89. Soil Temperatures
    • 90. IMPACT OF TEMPERATURE ON SOIL ACTIVITY 140 degrees - soil bacteria die. 130 degrees - 100% moisture lost through evaporation and transpiration. 100 degrees - 15% moisture used for growth, 85% moisture lost through evaporation and transpiration. 70 degrees - 90%+ moisture used for growth. Courtesy of Dr. Allen Williams
    • 91. Soil Compaction Crop Location Control Trt 1 Trt 2 Potatoes Minnesota 8.81 7.69 NA Organic Corn Minnesota 7.4 5.5 NA Forages Mississippi 14.33 10.42 11.40 Corn Mississippi 9.92 5.98 7.80 Soybeans Mississippi 6.22 2.59 2.48 Forages Missouri 11 8.08 7.67 Forages Montana 9.33 8.67 NA Forages Montana 14.28 10.44 NA Wheat Montana 10.5 8.67 NA Wheat Montana 4.06 2.44 NA 102
    • 92. Forage Dry Matter Crop Location Control Trt 1 Trt 2 Forage Virginia 2265 3372 3381 Alfalfa Montana 2550 3242 NA Alfalfa Nebraska 3557 4192 NA Native Grass Nebraska 4290 5002 NA Forage Louisiana 2376 3859 3246 Forage Alabama 2430 2650 NA Forage Pennsylvania 2650 4550 NA Alfalfa Mich State 1813 2424 2335 Forage Alabama 4547 7480 NA 103
    • 93. Forage Brix Crop Location Control Trt 1 Trt 2 Forage Virginia 4.25 7.43 5.75 Alfalfa Montana 6.68 10.12 10.56 Native Grass Montana 5.28 7.28 NA Alfalfa Nebraska 7.75 11.22 12.13 Native Grass Nebraska 4.31 6.78 7.54 Forage Louisiana 3.75 5.00 7.50 Forage Alabama 3.25 5.13 NA Forage Pennsylvania 10.75 14.00 NA Sorghum Kentucky 3.75 5.00 NA Forage Missouri 4.41 6.25 6.63 104
    • 94. BRIX Higher Brix – Result of improving SOM and soil microbial populations. 105
    • 95. What is Brix? Dissolved plant solids include sugars (such a sucrose and fructans), minerals, amino acids, proteins, lipids and pectins. About 50-80% of the Brix measurement represents plant sugars, with the remaining portion representing the other plant solids. 106
    • 96. What is a Refractometer? A simple optical instrument that measures that amount of light refracted in a liquid. Standard piece of equipment for many agronomists and commonly used in the fruit and vegetable industries. Digital Optical 107
    • 97. Brix Index of Common Forages Forage Poor Avg Good Excellent Alfalfa 4 8 16 22 Ryegrass 6 10 14 18 Sorghum 6 10 22 30 Fescue 2 4 7 12 Bermuda 2 4 6 8 108
    • 98. Effects of Stage of Maturity on Pasture Composition 7 33 Protein 3 Lipid 10 10 25 Sugars 5 Minerals 12 23 Hemicellulose 14 30 Cellulose 18 3 Early Maturity Lignin Mid Maturity 7 Late Maturity 109
    • 99. Effects of Stage of Maturity on Pasture Composition 7 33 Protein 3 Lipid 10 10 25 Sugars 5 Minerals 12 Sweet Spot 23 Hemicellulose 14 30 Cellulose 18 3 Early Maturity Lignin Mid Maturity 7 Late Maturity 110
    • 100. Why High Brix in Forages? Research shows that High Brix forages increase animal gains and milk production. High Brix Forages also are more drought resistant, freeze tolerant, and more resistant to plant disease and pests – (Moorby, 2001). – (Moller, 1996). – (Downing & Gamroth, 2007; Miller, et al, 1999). – (Allison, 2007). – (McKenzie, 2007). 111
    • 101. Benefits of High Brix More Sugars, minerals, and proteins – Less water Forages and crops will taste “sweeter” and be more nutrient dense Enhanced aroma Indication of nutrient uptake Helps plants resist disease and insect infestation Stored Forages & Crops – Longer “shelf” life, better nutritional values, better flavor characteristics 112
    • 102. Brix Advantage Brix 5.0% or less = ADG in low 1’s. Brix 8-12% = ADG in low to mid-2’s. Brix 12 – 15% = ADG in mid-high 2’s. Brix > 15% = ADG in high 2’s to 3’s. Every 1.0% increase in Brix adds 0.1 to 0.3 ADG. 113
    • 103. Important Grazing Tips Know DM availability and allow 3.0% - 3.5% daily. Take no more than 30% available DM. Move forward rapidly to not allow too many bites of the same plant. Know the brix content. Turn into new paddocks in early to midafternoon (peak brix or plant sugars). Stage of forage maturity critical – Mid-stage to slightly beyond… 114
    • 104. Equipment
    • 105. 117
    • 106. 119
    • 107. 120
    • 108. 121
    • 109. 122
    • 110. 123
    • 111. 124
    • 112. 125
    • 113. 126
    • 114. Fencing 101 Invest in good fencing solutions Build to suit your needs with the future in mind
    • 115. Fencing
    • 116. Photo by Bev Henkel, Norfolk
    • 117. What kind of fence is best ? Key Considerations – Plan with the end game in mind – Budget and phase if needed – Terrain (hills, woods, streams) – Cattle Type – Feed Availability
    • 118. Fencing, Fencing, Fencing..
    • 119. Water Management Don’t let water be limiting factor in finishing. Gains will be limited if cattle have to walk too far to water or if water source is poor. For optimum finishing – water available in each paddock. Different for cows. 137
    • 120. Water Management
    • 121. 141
    • 122. Livestock pipeline installation.
    • 123. Quick Couplers.
    • 124. Easy and Simple.
    • 125. 146
    • 126. 147
    • 127. 148
    • 128. Degree of Finish 149
    • 129. What is “Finished” Animal?
    • 130. Tailhead Topline Ribs Flank Brisket Heat Girth
    • 131. Brisket
    • 132. Fat Pones 153
    • 133. 154
    • 134. 155
    • 135. 157
    • 136. 158
    • 137. Actual Gain Data - Finishing No. Head Sex Forage Type DTF ADG 85 S Warm Season Perennials 145 2.39 168 S Warm Season Annuals – Cocktail Mix 120 2.65 125 H Cool Season Annuals – Cocktail Mix 125 2.77 132 S Cool Season Annuals – Ryegrass/Oats/Clover 155 2.25 175 S Cool Season Annuals – Cocktail Mix 145 2.67 159
    • 138. 160
    • 139. Actual Carcass Performance No Head HCWT DP % Choice+ % Select % NRs 42 718 59.5 63 37 0 40 697 59.2 84 16 0 39 702 58.7 92 8 0 41 685 58.4 82 17 1 40 713 59.8 77 23 0 161
    • 140. Why is Finish Important??
    • 141. What is the Target?
    • 142. 164
    • 143. 165
    • 144. High Quality Raw Product Equals…
    • 145. 167
    • 146. 168
    • 147. High Quality Eating Experience
    • 148. Finding the Trainers Resource Guide www.farmbiztrainer.com Also at USDA National Ag Library www.start2farm.gov www.wallacecenter.org/pastureproject Contact us: Through the websites Gary Matteson, Joe Colyn, Allen Williams
    • 149. Grass Fed Exchange – www.grassfedexchange.com – 2014 Annual Conference – July 30 – August 1 – Columbia, MO 171
    • 150. Economic Analysis Spreadsheet http://www.wallacecenter.org/resourc elibrary/-grassfed-beef-financialcalculators 172
    • 151. Building for Future Generations 173
    • 152. Thank You!!! 174