Sunday, December 12, 2010

It all starts here

Big Bluestem (Andropogon gerardii)
Four years of annual spring burning reawakened the native grass seeds under our brome/fescue pasture for a beautiful, thick stand of big bluestem (our farm's namesake), little bluestem, indiangrass, and panicgrass.  The wildflowers and herbs that should have accompanied a native prairie, though, were only abundant in the areas I had also mowed.  Plant diversity, it seemed, needed more management than fire alone.  After a conversation with KU professor and author, Kelly Kindscher, I realized that prairies had evolved to be clipped, mowed, grazed.

After giving our pasture a four-year rest, we were ready to bring back the grazers...

Agnes, the Angus, Karen, and Zeke the cat

...Enter Agnes (the Angus) the first of our herd of seven bovine.  (Only 2 of which are "cows" or females that have borne a calf.)  With the use of management-intinsive grazing, called MiG in the graziers' lingo, these ladies and their babies will produce healthy, grass-fed beef while increasing the plant and animal diversity on our farm.

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