2016 in Review
2016 was a year of expansion! Between building 25 acres of new perimeter fence on a new pasture lease and growing the herd, we’ve let our online footprint fade. To counteract this, we wanted to take advantage of this quiet Family Day Monday to thank those who support our commitment to producing 100% grass-fed beef raised in an environmentally sustainable and friendly matter.
In 2016, we had 17 calves born at Banbury Grasslands. Our cows usually give birth on their own in the fields. Fortunately, our children were able to observe the miracle of birth this year ( https://youtu.be/04pQUhFgxNg ) and this has led to many wonderful discussions on how miraculously cows are made.
The interconnectedness between Banbury Grasslands’ ecosystem, our animals, and our family strengthened again over 2016. This past year, we saw decisions that we made in 2013 about soil management pay significant dividends to our herd’s health. This past summer when many farmers suffered through a drought and resorted to feeding hay or corn, our cattle grazed eastern gamagrass. Gamagrass is a warm season grass native to North America that thrived with the enormous buffalo herds long ago. It has deep roots and loves heat. It now is well established at Banbury Grasslands and should last a life-time with proper grazing management.
We harvested 20 head this year, mostly 22-28 month old steers. Due to a great year, we were again able to donate to the Waterloo Region Foodbank.
In the fall, we moved the herd to a new grasslands property that we had spent the summer fencing. The cattle were unsure about the trip down the road to the new property, but loved it when they arrived at their fall vacation get away.
As winter returned, we went back to bale grazing – this time at the back of our property. As we have rotated the cattle through our property, we have seen dramatic grasslands improvement resulting from the manure and wasted hay building soil fertility. We have started to see the ridge where there previously been poor conditions improve due to the bale grazing we did last winter.
For the third consecutive year, we raised meat chickens on pasture. The chickens certainly love being outside, pecking at new grass in search of bugs. For 2017, our application for the Chicken Farmers of Ontario Artisanal Chicken Program has been accepted and we will be able to significantly expand our flock.
We had the good fortune of having Banbury Grasslands featured in a short film “Teriano” about a Maasai woman and her empowering journey. We were excited to hear that this film was accepted into the largest US documentary festival (DOC NYC). Watch the trailer here: https://vimeo.com/90thparallel/review/187228737/ac8479b6aa
We thank our friends and family for their support with the farm. Ernie, Alex and Teresa, and Marcus – thank you for catching chickens with us at 4am in the morning and moving cows to new grass each day when we were away.
Thank you to all of you for your support in 2016. Farming is my passion.
David & Leslie
PS: Checkout & Like our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/BanburyGrasslands/