Monday, February 3, 2014

Saving the Earth One Cow at a Time

The following post is courtesy of Quentin Stevick. Quentin is the former Chief Beef Cattle Production, Agrifirma Russia who was caring for the Canadian Angus cattle sent to Russia last fall. He sent us these words just before his contract ended.

I spent the afternoon riding “Feda” the black stallion.

We rode to the Angus cows and their calves.  They were peacefully grazing on land that probably never had a domestic beef animal on it. I rode across land that had been grazed by the cows. The benefit of these cattle to the land is obvious to me.

We take sunshine and water. We grow grass and trees. Grass takes carbon dioxide from the air and sequesters it in the soil, building organic matter. The cows come and graze the grass. The grass has a haircut. The plant then gives its roots a haircut, leaving the roots to decompose, making tiny openings in the earth for moisture to seep into. This helps control run off and flooding.

Ninety percent of what a cow consumes is returned to the ecosystem. We use herd effect and short duration, close proximity grazing to complete the nutrient cycle. The cows’ manure and urine is placed back on the earth and trampled into the soil, allowing contact with the micro-organisms to return these nutrients to the grass. The cycle repeats its self. The calves use their mother’s milk to grow and we harvest the meat that results.

Sustainability. Every day the cattle graze the land we do the following.

  1.   Avoid nutrient transfer of plant material from the fields to the farms.
  2.   Reduce the petroleum products used.
  3.   Keep the cattle from the mud of the pens.