Farm Sustainability Practices: Carbon Footprint
From the farm’s beginning, miles of concrete were never in our plans. We have stayed true to this mission by carefully maintaining our lush green pastures, utilizing our land economically, and re-purposing materials and equipment whenever possible. Grass-grazing is good for carbon sequestration and contributes to a healthier environment.
Here at Organic Pastures Dairy, our cows graze on green pasture every day (365 days) of the year. Why is grazing so important? Pastures grazing has proven to create a more rich flavor, brighter yellow butterfat color (naturally), and more nutrient dense product. The cows benefit from roaming and embracing their wild instincts.
Pasture grazing provides optimal food for cows to make milk rich in:
Healthy fats (CLA, Omega 3)
What Are Omega-3 Fatty Acids?
Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats, a type of fat your body can't make.
The term "polyunsaturated" refers to their chemical structure, as "poly" means many and "unsaturated" refers to double bonds. Together they mean that omega-3 fatty acids have many double bonds.
"Omega-3" refers to the position of the final double bond in the chemical structure, which is three carbon atoms from the "omega" or tail end of the molecular chain.
Since the human body can't produce omega-3s, these fats are referred to as "essential fats," meaning that you have to get them from your diet.
About Our Grazing Cow’s Habits
Pasture grazing does so much more than contributing to healthy milk production; it provides a natural environment for cows to be cows. Cows naturally exist in groups called "herds" and exhibit herd behavior, which means they prefer to be together not isolated. They are a family. They are social, protective, loving, and nurturing. They especially like to groom one another, tattle when someone is not doing what they’re supposed to be doing, and help out if there is a problem.
They are Mob Grazers
If a cow(s) breaks free from the fencing which keeps them safe (yes this happens when we least want it to), the “behaving” cows will bellow to alert us that someone is not following the rules. We have plenty of stories of being awakened by barking dogs and mooing cows, letting us know cows are out! Cows protect one another, especially when calving. They gather around the birthing mother to create a protective barrier, and are quick to help with the new born calf. Cows need a clean and peaceful place to rest and play. You can see our cows running around, as if they were playing a game of tag. They love to sunbathe and chew their cud. Having green pastures for our cows is what’s best for them, and we want our cows to have the absolute best life ever!
What is Good For the Cow is Good For The Soil
Pasture grazing keeps the soil and ecosystem healthy. Soils are healthier where animals graze. Cows give the “gift” of fertilizer (no synthetic fertilizer needed!). Cows share their micro biome, which enriches soil, allowing it to be filled with awesome bacteria, fungi, and earthworms. Take a shovel full of our pasture soil and you will see all kinds of worms, root structure, and a thriving micro biome. Healthy soil grows healthy plants that the cows eat! This is the perfect symbiotic relationship between earth and animals. This relationship includes birds that have called Organic Pastures Dairy home. These birds play an important role in developing healthy soil by eating larvae, control insects, aerate, and provide a balanced ecosystem. You can see these birds plucking flies off of the cows backs and the cows are very appreciative.
The Grass is Greener on the Other Side
You know the saying “the grass is greener on the other side”? Well, our cows are moved to a brand-new section of green grass every day. When they are being moved, they act like it’s their first time going someplace new! They literally run, leap, roll over, and let you know they are happy! This daily movement from pasture to pasture prevents overgrazing which strips the soil of vital nutrients that leaves the soil depleted. We protect our pasture from overgrazing by moving our cows to a new section every day.