Blog Categories/Tags
1/2 & 1/2
120
17.4 Cochineal
36
3rd Party Certification
60
77 Dream Songs
Adam Gopnik
Albert King
Ansel Adams
Antibiotics
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Antonius Cetosus. Lions
Art
Art Criticism
Art Knowledge News
Ass's Shadow
Audible
baa
Balzac
Barthes
Basic Lamb Recipes
Baudelaire
Beauty
Becall
Beethoven Op. 130
Big Food
Big Yarn
Biking
Bill of Rights
Bittman
Black & Blue
Blanket
Bolano
Botticelli
Botton
Breeding
Breeding Stock
Buddha
Bullamalita
Butler
Cage
Capital in the Twenty-First Century
Capitalism
carnivores
Catskill Merino Hat
Cecil Beaton
Cesare Pavese
Cezanne
Charles James
Christianity
Chunky Yarn
CIA
Cicero
Cineman
Citric Dyes
Clara Parkes
Cleanth Brooks
Cochineal
Coco Chanel
Colette
Colorant
Comments
Complementary Protein
Constable
Cooking Lamb
Corn
Corriedale
Coup de Grace
Cous Cous
Coyotes
Criticism
David Foster Wallace
DaVinci
Delanceyplace
Deworming
Dialogue
Discount Code
Dogs
Dominion?
Dominique
doxa
Drugs
Duck
Ducks
Dye
Early Lambs 2014
Eartag 36
Eating Policy
Edward Hopper
Electric Fence
Elkins
Emma
Employment
End of Poverty
Ewe 159
Ewes
Exercise
Experimental Dyeing
Facebook
Factory Farm
FAMACHA
Famous Knitters
Farm Help
Farm Stand
Farming
FDR
Fecals
Festival
Fiction
Fish
Flaubert
Florence Fabricant
Fluxus
Flystrike
Food
Food Deserts
Food Flock
Food Politics
Food Swamps
Foodie
Forecast
Forest Fire
Frances Middendorf
Francesco Mastalia
Frank O'Hara
Fred Kaplan
Garlic
Garlic 2013-14
Garlic Cultivation
Garlic Scapes
Gary Lutz
Genesis Deflowered
George Eliot
Georgia O'Keeffe
Gertrude Stein
Gift Certificates
Gilbert-Rolfe
Goncourt Brothers
Goodreads
Gordon Lightfoot
Grazing
Grazing 2009
Great Expectations
Green Mountain Spinnery
Green turn
Greener Shades
Greenmarket
Greenmarket; Union Square
Guggenheim
Gustave Flaubert
GWB
Hahn
Hand Dyeing
Hand Dyeing Workshop
Hang Tag
Hang Tags
Hannah
Hats
Hats for Haiti
Hay Feeding
Headcheese
Heather
Heather Yarn
Heatwave
Heine
Help Wanted
Hemingway
Henry James
Herbicide
Hickey
High Noon
Home
Homer
Honore Balzac
Ida
Improv
Indigo
Ink
Intelligence
Interns
Irene
Irony
Jack
James
James Joyce
James Wood
James Woods
Jane Austen
Jenny Davidson
Jersey
Jimi Hendrix
John Ashbery
John Berryman
John Ruskin
Johnny Cash
Jones
Joyce
Judy Geib
Kafka

All Categories
Blog Entries by Date
<< Back to main

Thanksgiving

Posted 11/26/2009 12:49pm by Eugene Wyatt.

When the pasture growth slowed as the days got shorter and the daytime temperatures dropped, the ewe flock (~200 hd.) was fenced into an acre and a half.  Not only do we manage the sheep to keep them well fed but we manage the pasture to keep it vigorous by protecting it from overgrazing.  A healthy pasture is a varied ecosystem; it has many interdependent species growing in it; some  of these plants, like the grasses, the sheep will eat and other plants they will avoid because these plants contain toxins that are harmful when consumed in quantities sufficient to provide adequate nutrition to a sheep. 

Sheep must be removed from a pasture well before their only eating choices are species poisonous to them, which they will begin to eat if they have no other option. Pastures are vulnerable too; when the grasses and clovers have been overgrazed the soil in which they grow is exposed to seeds of toxic plants that will germinate, and grow to crowd out the grasses diminishing the amount of useable nutrition in the paddock as the years go by.

Until the grass grows again in the spring, the sheep are fed hay harvested on the farm; and a grain mix of whole oats, cracked corn and soy flakes.  Hay in round bales is provided free choice meaning it is always available to them.  The hay crop was poor this year as the summer rains prevented timely harvest; we supplement the hay with 1 pound of grain per day per sheep.  The sheep love a little grain.

Much is being made of "grass fed" (grain free) livestock; like "organic" it has become a brand regulated by the USDA and that troubles me.  As far as I can tell, there is little science behind the grass fed health claims, either for humans or for livestock, and the extant science seems to be primarily anecdotal: Yes, 100% grass  (pasture raised) is better than 100% grain  (feedlot raised)—or any large grain/grass ratio for a ruminant accustomed to  grazing—you'll agree after having read food guru Michael Pollan. His Power Steer cast light on the darkness of feedlots of factory farms; I  laud him for his gastronomic common-sense and pleasing writing style. 

Tell me this, Michael: Is 100% grass fed better than 85% grass/15% grain, or 90%/10% or another similar ratio favoring grass to grain, a ratio commonly fed by most small farms?  Where is the study, where is the science, where is the proof? 

There is none.

Sheep always tell the truth. And if Dominique is not quick to back away from the ewes, they'll knock her into the feeder and there, butt-up, head-down, ear to ear with the greedy ewes—their molars loudly cracking corn—she'll find herself, proof that a little grain is good for sheep.

4 Comments »
Jim Baldwin said,
11/27/2009 @ 6:42 pm
Science ? Science is part of the addiction to food conspiracy, we don't need no stinkin' science.:)
Pollan alludes to major sickness in the grain fed finishing pens for cattle, but that is not the case or the animals would not look as good as they do "fat and sassy" you might say. A sick animal will not eat and an animal that will not eat will surely not make any money.
Does any feedlot look good?
I guess not, one likes to think of cattle, sheep and even chickens in a "free range " situation for aesthetics if nothing else.
This is what Pollan is getting at , to a degree and probably he's right. Battery cages and crowded broiler house floors for chickens just don't look right either.
I , like you , think we need to compromise. Mostly grass ,as much "free range" as we can reasonably muster and, yes some grain. The sheep like it and we like the meat/ wool/milk/ pelts produced both in quality and quantity.
Eugene Wyatt said,
11/27/2009 @ 8:21 pm
There is a Greenmarket farmer who sells grass fed meat while he feeds himself at McDonalds.

He's a sick guy; there is an organic farmer in Union Sq. who eats his own produce and he's a sick guy too.

Eat what you will, but eat for vanity; your genetics determine your health and longevity but you determine how you look.

I like to buy food from people who look healthy.
lisa fox said,
11/29/2009 @ 11:26 am
Research, done properly, takes thoughtful design, time, effort, and meticulousness. Most don't have it in them to do it right. Instead they do a great powerpoint presentation on their "research findings" in a cushy venue, promise lots of grant dollars, and call it good.

Valid research is also understanding the data between the data.

rgds,
lisa
Eugene Wyatt said,
11/29/2009 @ 6:00 pm
The question asked determines the answer given.
Leave a Comment
Your email address will not be posted to the public and we will not send any emails to the provided address except in direct reply to this comment.



Leave this field empty


Check this box to receive updates by email when
new comments are added to this item.