We all know that delicious grass-fed meat tastes great and is good for our health, too. And in order to raise healthy stock on lush pastures, we need to take a look at where that grass is growing from.
The answer lies in the soil. While a bit of ‘dirt’ may not seem important, healthy soil will grow quality grass. In turn, raising cows and sheep that are happy and will provide us with succulent meat for the dinner table.
So what makes good soil and how can organic meat producers maintain their pastures?
There are many elements to a healthy piece of land. An initial tip is avoiding overgrazing pasture. Not only does this leave animals with insufficient grass, it can also remove nutrients from the soil or cause erosion, according to a report published by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, by Professor Ted Wolfe.
At a recent Northern Plains Sustainable Ag Society annual winter conference, Aberdeen livestock consultant and vet William Winter pinpointed the difference between quality soil and unhealthy soil. He suggested that healthy soil needs “biology” and should have living elements, as reported by Annie King in the Aberdeen News.
According to Mr Winter, the use of pesticides can kill essential nutrients and minerals in the soil, which must be replaced.
An element of great organic farming is avoiding the use of harmful pesticides – thus dodging this bullet.
According to the Australian National Standard for Organic and Bio-Dynamic Produce, soil can be maintained through use of organic nutrient-rich compost and tillage techniques such as harrowing to improve soil structure and maintaining records of nutrient input into the soil.
Looking after the soil via natural techniques ensures soil is well maintained and will stay that way, rather than turning to quick fixes such as genetically modified materials. This way, we can all enjoy healthy grass-fed beef and lamb!