Published Jul 26, 2011

Organic Beef, Sheep and Dairy

By Suzi Howk

Dan and Bonnie Beard and family hosted approximately 50 people on their farm on Saturday, July 16th.

The Beard family rotationally grazes their predominantly Jersey Dairy herd, a Red Devon Beef herd, and a half Katahdin sheep herd.

The beef herd grazes at a farm 16 miles from the home farm that recently came into the Beard’s management.  They are working on building a well, and fencing that property to make it handy for grazing cattle.  Currently they are watering the cattle in a stream, but Dan says that through Rotational Grazing and high management cattle can have access to streams without ruining them.

Also growing on that farm is approximately 40 acres in Sunflowers.  The Beards plan on using a cooperatively owned pressing machine to press the sunflowers and use the oil to power their tractor.  This is the first year trying Sunflowers, so check back to see how it has worked!

Tom, the Beard’s oldest son, is starting the family’s sheep herd as an additional operation.  He uses portable electric fence and a large water container on a hayrack and moves his sheep anywhere he wants them to go. Because of the flexibility of his fencing and watering system, this year Tom is grazing his sheep on a new neighbor’s pasture where normally nothing would have been able to graze because there is no permanent fencing.

For more permanent fencing, the Beards use Cedar posts with fiberglass posts in-between.  The cattle only require one strand worth of fencing, and therefore fencing costs are very low.  The Cedar posts they get from their farm, and the fiberglass posts are purchased very inexpensively from a local manufacturer where they are part of packaging received.

If you would like more information about this Field Day, or other upcoming Field Days, please call the PFI office at 515-232-5661.