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Posts Tagged ‘grass’

Belly Deep in Grass

Thursday, June 20th, 2013
The herd walking into a new field.

The herd walking into a new field.

Pasture rotation plays a critical role in our grass fed beef business. Throughout the years of drought prior to this year, we have struggled to rotate more often and keep the cattle on grass. We had to supplement with hay and alfalfa cubes in order to keep our business going.

Well this year we are on the flip side. Even though technically we are still in drought conditions. In fact according to the US Drought Monitor, we are in a moderate drought. However, you cannot tell it based on the condition of our pastures. We are belly deep in tall, lush green grasses, including our cattle.

After we let the herd in this pasture, we realized how deep and thick the grass is growing. My husband contacted a local hay maker. He asked my husband what we had done to get grass like this. Lane answered, “Well, two years ago we shallow disked the land for aeration purposes and spread composted manure over the ground.”

The hay man replied, “Huh?! Well whatever you did, it worked. You don’t see pastures like this everyday.”

If you notice, there is not only very green, very tall, and very thick grass, but notice what is not in the field–weeds. The grass is choking out the weeds naturally without chemicals or sprays.

If you watched our interview with Dr. Ward Bond for his show, Think Natural, then this is the very same pasture in which they filmed our herd. THere is a stark difference. It is amazing what careful pasture management and a little rain can do.

We moved the cattle off this field after a day of grazing to another similar one and decided to make hay while the sun was shining. The square bales off this pasture will be used mainly for our horses.

Coincidentally, my mom is traveling the country right now. She told me how intensely dry some parts of New Mexico and Colorado are right now. She told of whole herds standing on fields of dirt without any blades of grass. I thanked her for bringing this to my attention. We might be enjoying times of feast, but others are in times of famine. We have been there; we know how hard it is. Please join us in praying for the farmers and ranchers in the drought-stricken parts of the United States.

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

Recently I have been fielding many phone calls from customers and potential customers alike about genetically modified organisms(GMOs). These are crops, plants, and/or grasses that scientists have altered in the hopes of making the plant better, more disease resistant, etc. GMOs are relatively recent phenomena.

The first genetically modified crop was tobacco in 1982. In 1994, the United States allowed the sale of a genetically modified tomato. Since then more and more crops were genetically modified and now almost 16.56% of the United States agricultural lands are used producing GM crops.

The top ten most common GM crops today are salmon, animal feed, canola and cottonseed oil, golden rice, squash, tomato, corn, potato, sugar beets. As producers of grass fed beef, we took for granted that our cattle were raised without any GMOs, which fits into our all-natural as God intended philosophy.

To me that is what is worrisome about GMOs. God created everything and called it good. Now people are “improving” on His creation by altering the genetic makeup of plants and crops. There are countless websites on which you can read about the concerns of consuming GMOs. On the other hand, there are others that sing the praises. You have to do the research and decide for yourself. This article is not meant to be exhaustive on the topic.

Unfortunately scientists were not happy genetically altering only plants and crops. They are genetically modifying grasses. Alfalfa is one of top GM grasses as scientists seek to make this type of grass more pest resistant. This fact greatly concerns us and our customers because we do supplement with alfalfa. Alfalfa is so high in protein and nutritious, which is why we use it in our grass fed beef program. It will not grow in our climate; therefore, we buy it dehydrated in cube and pellet forms.

I have contacted the producers of our alfalfa in Colorado. Their alfalfa is non-GMO as are the block of producers in the area. Cross-contamination is a huge problem in keeping your crop pure. The company is diligently seeking ways to keep their alfalfa non-GMO as they know their product goes to natural or organic farms like our own. If their seed was ever compromised, she said they would announce it to their customers.

Then I began thinking about the rye and oats that we plant for winter grazing. I contacted that company as well and received the good news that the varieties we planted are non-GMO. We are relieved at the news.

It just goes to show that you have to stay informed and proactive. I would not have thought that grasses were not safe from genetic alteration or that alfalfa producers were struggling against companies like Monsanto. The introduction of GM alfalfa alone impacts natural or organic milk and/or beef producers as well as the natural or organic honey producers.

Some of you might not care about GMOs. Some of you might care so much about them that you get frustrated at the grocery store trying to make the right choices for your family. You have high ideals and don’t want to compromise them. Regardless of your opinion of GMO products, the fact is that the grass fed beef at Cross Creek Cattle Company is raised on non-GMO grasses.

On the Homefront

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

With the main herd at the new ranch, our home ranch looks slightly different. The only cattle grazing in the pastures are the calves that are in our grass fed beef program and are finishing out on grass. No bulls or mama cows. No baby calves. Just our grass fed business.

This has opened up our grazing potential for our grass fed herd as we are no longer rotating two herds here. The grass finishing herd has a lot of grass to eat. If we continue to be blessed with rain throughout the summer, I wonder if the herd will be able to keep up with the grass. It is a good problem to have, if you even consider it a problem. After last year’s drought, we just feel so blessed.

We just completed a big grass fed harvest. We thank our many customers who support us year after year. We also thank our new customers who just found us. They travel from Georgetown, Sugarland, Spring, Pearland, Tomball, and Bryan/College Station. We appreciate their business, but most importantly enjoy getting to meet them face to face at our ranch.

With the addition of our new property, we hope to keep expanding in numbers and filling our customer’s grass fed beef needs. As of now we are sold out of any beef; however, we are already beginning a waiting list for future orders. We should begin filling them in August/September and then through the fall.

If you are interested in securing an order now for a future harvest, please contact Lara DeHaven at I will be more than happy to answer any and all questions you might have about the ordering process or grass fed beef in general.

Rain, Glorious Rain

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

This past week has been such a blessing to the ranch. Rain has been in the forecast almost every day and more importantly, it has actually rained. Good soaking rains, not just quick downpours that run off as fast as they fall, have seeped into our soil.

After a wet winter, we had our hopes up for a wet spring, too. Unfortunately that has not been the case until now. The temperatures have been very high for April and May. Last week it felt like summer with temperatures in the mid-90s. As a result, the winter grasses have gone to seed and died while the summer grasses have not had enough moisture to grow well. We were honestly becoming concerned for our grass fed business again.

We repaired a broken dam on a pond on our new property this winter. In an attempt to prevent erosion, my husband and I spent a day planting bermuda and bahia grass on the dam. This rainy weather came at a perfect time. We could not be more thankful.

If you want to learn to grow in your dependence on God, try making a living in agriculture. You realize real quick that you are not in control, but instead have to adapt to the environment you are given with full reliance on your Heavenly Father. Out of gratitude for His faithful provision throughout last year’s drought as well as the rains this winter and spring, Cross Creek Cattle Company wants to give glory to whom it is due. Thank you, God, for the rain, glorious rain.

Getting Ready to Move

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

When the owners of Cross Creek Cattle Company purchased additional land in order to expand our ranch and the provide room for business expansion, we knew the property would require many hours of physical labor in order to be ready for our herd.

Our primary concern is fencing. Without proper fencing, you cannot contain your cattle nor can you keep out neighboring herds. After years of neglect, the perimeter fencing was in bad repair. Trees had fallen in some places like a game of pick up sticks. My husband and some hired men worked long, hard days removing the trees and limbs, clearing the fence lines, and repairing the fences. In many places, it was easier to completely rebuild the fence from scratch.

I am pleased to announce that the perimeter fencing is complete. Our borders are secure. Now my husband’s focus has been the cross-fencing. Pasture rotation requires good cross-fencing whether it is a sturdy 5 string barbed wire fence or a fence made with hot-wire. My husband reports that the cross-fencing is now 95% done.

Unfortunately, this new property has a infestation of feral hogs. We have them on our home ranch, but not near to the extent of the new ranch. In some places, the hogs have disked up the earth. Weeds then come up instead of grass; therefore, the wild hogs are posing a threat to our livelihood in the grass fed beef business. Cattle have to have grass in order to survive without grain.

I have written before about this problem and how my husband built a hog trap. The trap has been very effective. In the last three weeks, we have killed 37 hogs. Monday alone we trapped and killed 21 wild hogs. Not only are we feeding the local community and filling our own freezers with wild pork, but we are making a small dent in the feral hog population.

Now that the pastures are being taken care of with the removal of wild hogs and with the sturdy fencing, our next concern is water. There are many lakes and ponds on the property. One pond’s dam had broken. It has since been repaired with a bulldozer. Now all the waterways are accessible and full to the brim thanks to all the rain we have been receiving.

The next project that my husband must tackle is repairing the existing cattle pens. Once we take our herd of mama cows and the bulls to the new ranch, we will have to have a way to work and pen them up. Our plan is to use our home ranch for the sole purpose of finishing out our grass fed beef.

We are not quite ready to move our main herd just yet, but we are laying the groundwork. When we do eventually move the herd, this will not affect our customers at all. The grass fed animals will still be at the home ranch and you will still pick up your orders from the home ranch as well.

We are so excited about the expansion of our ranch and of our business. As the demand for grass fed beef increases, we are trying to keep up with the demand. We thank our customers for making this possible.

When to Feed Hay

Thursday, November 5th, 2009

In a typical year, we try to not put out bales of hay until after the Thanksgiving holiday.  This is a personal goal of Cross Creek Cattle Company.  With good rain throughout the summer months, our pastures can supply grasses for our cattle until then.  Unfortunately this year we had drought conditions.  For months we had no rainfall.

We prayed for fat cows and green grass, and we were blessed accordingly.  Some of our less fortunate neighbors were having to put out hay during the summer.  It was incredible.  Just yesterday, I was driving in the northern part of our county.  I was amazed at how bad all the pastures looked.  They had their herds on completely bare and brown pastures.  You have no choice as a rancher, but to give hay in this situation.

As the grass season comes to an end and autumn is in full swing, we stop rotating our pastures.  Instead, we open all the interior gates and allow the cattle to forge for themselves.  They can find the best grasses on their own.  They have that innate ability.

Now as winter time approaches, we are preparing to put out hay a few weeks early.  My dad is disappointed, but considering the year we have had I think we are doing well.  In fact we are doing better than most in our area.  The way I look at it, we made it to November.

Rain, Rain, and More Rain

Thursday, October 8th, 2009

After an incredibly dry spring and summer, we are experiencing a very wet autumn.  It started raining, and it feels like it has not stopped.  As a rancher, I am not complaining.  We have to adjust to either drought or deluge.  Fortunately, nothing is flooding even after inches and inches of rainfall, which demonstrates how dry our land was.

Immediately following the first few inches of rain, the grass turned a deep and brilliant green color.  The pastures are beautiful.  Luckily through the drought, our pasture grasses did not dry up and die like many ranches in our area.  We count ourselves fortunate and thank God.  Our pastures fed the cattle, and will continue to feed them a little while longer.

Where the ground had cracked from extreme dryness, the soil is dark with moisture.  As the rain fell for days and days, the soil just soaked up the rain.  No rain even ran off.  The ground was like a huge sponge soaking up all the moisture it could get.  After even more rain, walking through the pastures at Cross Creek Cattle Company is like walking on supersaturated sponges.  “Squish, squish.”  The roads are also beginning to get muddy, but they are not impassable yet.

Now that the ground is saturated, the rain is beginning to run-off.  Our ponds and our lake are finally starting to fill up after lowering to worrisome levels.  I do not remember the water in the lake ever being that low before.  I am sure the fish are happier with more room to swim.  A good supply of fresh drinking water is critical for raising healthy cattle.

With rain, comes mosquitoes.  They are everywhere.  All the little eggs have hatched and the little mosquitoes are hungry for blood.  If you plan on spending any time out-of-doors, make sure you have something to repel the pests.

Despite the mosquitos, the rain has really freshened up the place.  It has washed away the dust from the county road that used to lay thick on the perimeter trees and bushes.  The pastures and trees alike are well-nourished.  The rain has also brought a coolness with it that broke the seemingly constant 100 degree streak we were having.  The air itself smells clean.  Because of the rain, it feels like there has been a rebirth of nature on the ranch.  We are seeing more wildlife out and about, even snakes.  Rain is good.  We are enjoying the fall season at Cross Creek Cattle Company.

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