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Wednesday, May 8, 2019

DYK Cows Can Upcycle?

Dexter is back this week with a new round of Did You Know with some Beef Month facts for you.  When I was in school they called it recycling, but now the cooler term is up-cycling trash into something more valuable.  -A Kansas Farm Mom

Did you know May is Beef Month?  For the beginning of the month I want to share why I like to think about how cows are the ultimate up-cyclers. 

Did you know that cows eat the corn leftovers from ethanol production called dried distillers grains that is high in protein? They can also eat the leftovers from beer and whiskey production called brewers dried grains. 

Soybean meal is the most widely used protein source in livestock feeds. Did you know most vegetable oil is soybean oil? I guess you can say that soybean meal is the leftovers from our fried food fascination.

Everyone likes to wear cotton t-shirts and a good pair of blue jeans. Cows like the leftovers of that too! The seed has to be removed from the cotton fiber. The seed is then pressed for the oil. The leftovers are made into cottonseed hulls and cottonseed meal for cows. The meal is high in protein and the cottonseed hulls can be fed for fiber or we can even feed the whole seed (mainly to dairy cows).  We feed several pounds of cottonseed hulls to our show heifers. Dairy farmers even feed while cottonseed for protein and energy.  Check out this post called Trash to Nutritional Treasure from the Arizona Beef Blog for more information.

Beet pulp can be fed to cows, too. Beet pulp is the leftovers of making sugar from sugar beets. Our heifers can eat beet pulp for fiber. The cows enjoy are sugar addiction, too.

Not only do they eat of our leftovers, but 85% of the ground that cows graze is not suitable for crop production. My friend Dairy Carrie has a great post on what they feed their dairy cows and links to other farms and ranches who share their upcycled feed even from oranges.  For even more information about Bovine Upcycling with lots of great statistics check out this post from Cow Country Blog.

Cows truly keep the earth cleaner for all of us and produce high quality protein that we can all enjoy. We have enjoyed this new casserole mom found this winter. 

Beefy Cheesy Cornbread Casserole

1 pound ground beef
½ cup chopped onion
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 (8.5 oz) Jiffy Cornbread mix
1 egg
1 can cream style corn
2 cups Monterey Jack or Cheddar Cheese

Preheat oven to 350*F.  Butter the bottom and sides of 8x8 casserole dish.

Brown and drain beef and onion.  Add seasoning and stir well.  In a small bowl, combine cornbread mix, egg, milk and corn.  Stir well.  Pour half of cornbread mixture into dish.  Add beef and onion and spread evenly.  Add cheese and remaining cornbread mixture.  Bake 35-40 minutes.

 For more posts written by Dexter, check out the Mad Cattle Co. tab on this page.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Flat Aggie's Winter Adventures in New York

     My first view of the barn at Freedom Ranch-they really know how to do winter in Central New York! 

Freedom Ranch is a diversified livestock operation.  Scott and Sharon custom raise a variety of animals in a pasture-based setting for private sale.  When I visited there were meat and dairy goats, chickens, ducks, steers and a horse living there!  In the spring and summer there will also be pigs on pasture. 

They put me right to work, unloading the week’s grain. 
Since the ground is still snow-covered, the goats, chickens and even the steers get supplemented with grain and locally grown hay.  Once the grass starts to grow they won’t need grain or hay. 

Every morning Sharon milks her 3 dairy goats.  They are wonderful producers of rich milk, each producing between 1-2 gallons per day!  Sharon will use this milk in her home to drink and makes award-winning cheeses and yogurt. 

The kids (that’s what baby goats are called) drink their mothers milk during the day, and then the moms get the night off-duty and share their milk with Sharon on the morning.  I claimed to be an expert milker, but didn’t realize just how much milk Haley, her 7 year old Saanen doe, made!  I managed to milk 9.2 lbs. from her though.

Throughout my week at Freedom Ranch I was amazed at how cold hardy the animals are.  Scott taught me that if you can see snow on an animal’s back, that indicates their coat of fur is trapping their body heat in and keeping them toasty warm.  Who would think that these patient steers are really quite cozy?

 Even the does (female goats) and Levi prefer to eat their breakfast outside on a bright, crisp morning.  The meat herd consists of does that are boer/kiko crosses and are quite hardy.   However,  Levi (the horse) must think he lives somewhere tropical and did not grow a winter coat, so he requires a blanket to stay warm!

The chickens have a cozy coop area inside the barn where they spend the winter.  Chickens do not like the snow, as their feet get cold in it! 

I enjoyed checking in on the hens each day and collecting the wonderful eggs they lay. 
Did you know eggs come in a variety of colors?  I found pink, light brown, dark brown and even blue eggs! 


There were a few freshenings (or kiddings, as goat births are called) while I was visiting.  Ramona had triplets, which is not unusual.  Scott, Sharon and I worked together to help the does dry the kids off and dipped their umbilical cords in iodine to prevent infection.

There is a corner of the birthing stall with a heat lamp to allow the newborns to stay cozy for a few days after being born.  I quickly realized why the kids love cuddling up in there!  The lamp emits a red light so the kids can get some sleep without having a bright white light keeping them awake. 

  Sharon also loves sharing her knowledge with students at the local school, Hamilton Central.  She spent a few hours one afternoon teaching the ag students about the basic principles of cheesemaking.  The students got to make three different ricotta cheeses and taste the results too! 

Happy trails…until we meet again after my next adventure!!