The Nutrients Cows Need
Updated: Dec 7, 2020
The cattle herd at River Ridge Land and Cattle Company varies from week to week and season to season. We are intentional about raising our own healthy herd to get the specific genetics we want such as breeding for traits like heat tolerance and easy birthing. Farmers who raise animals for Grayson Natural Farms can purchase cattle from us. We all finish our cattle on our own lush grass like you see above.
"Grass-fed" is not a term that the US Department of Agriculture regulates. As such, a lot of the beef you see marketed as "grass-fed" in grocery stores may come from very different circumstances than what you'll find at River Ridge. Grain is only offered to our cows in two scenarios: when we need to call them to us (for health checks, pasture rotation, etc.) and in emergency weather situations when they can't access the pastures.
That said, cows don't get everything they need from forages alone. They need certain minerals that are not safe to spread broadly on the land. For example, trace amounts of selenium are necessary for cellular function in animals, but selenium salts are toxic in large amounts. In order to protect the land while ensuring the cows get what they need, we build mineral feeders (like the one shown below).