Thursday, January 19, 2012

Kerry Cattle

JUNE 1, 2012 UPDATE: I am now blogging full time about these wonderful cows

We are starting the new year with a new project. We recently brought home a small herd of Kerry Cattle (as well as six Dexter heifers).  We are doing this as a partnership with our friends, the Dean Family. The partnership enables them to  keep the Kerries as commercial milk cows, while providing  a source of  beef feeders and replacement heifers for us to raise and sell.

The Kerry is a frightfully rare breed, and we are honored to be apart in preserving the breeds unique genetics. However, conservation was only a part of our interest. Rare Breeds are important and there is no better explanation of why than this essay from Auburn Meadow Farm. 

Our long term interest is developing the Kerry as a minor  breed of commercial value. I would like to see increased   interest among dairy farmers looking  for a long lived,  moderate size cow who can provide both beef and dairy production with less feed costs. While we are committed to breeding with only  Kerry semen or bulls on the rare cows, our Kerry bull is enjoying his work crossbreeding on cows of other dairy breeds.

Why the Kerry?
We spent a lot of time discussing this project before taking the plunge into the Kerry.  Here are some reasons:

I like the fact Kerry Cattle are black. Whether  feeders or fat cattle, black hair is worth extra money at the sale barn: (sometimes even if their carcass is inferior to a Hereford).  For a dairy farmer, a pure black bull calf should bring a premium over a Holstein bull calf as well.  A Kerry Bull on a Holstein cow should always give us a black calf. Kerry cows are also small, and I think there will be a growing market for smaller sides of beef for the freezer trade.Many people no longer have freezer space for a 400 pound side (half) of beef. Small calf birth weight  mean less work and worry as well. 
Finally, I am impressed by the breed's intelligence. I have wrestled dumb dehorned cattle who stuck their heads in feeders. Even with impressive horns, the Kerries seem to know where their heads are in space and don't seem to  get stuck.   In spite of the regal horns they have thus far proved to be docile.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

SOPA Strike

If you are in the US and reading this, please take five minutes and contact your senators to oppose the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).
I am not tech savvy enough to blackout this site for the day, but in the time you could read anything I have to say, you can call your senators and make a difference.


Richard Grossman, the midland agrarian

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Only a couple days of Christmas left!

As my friend over at Free Range Anglican reminds us, It is still Christmas for we Christmas keeping Anglicans.
Our church refrains from Carols until Dec 24, but we are still singing them,. If you can avoid the malls and radio,  its fun because the carols are  not worn out.

I was recently thinking about the loss of sociability in our culture. I have a poorer social life than my fore bearers here. Our house was once home to midwinter  country dances where the homemade cider and hard perry flowed, but everyone from kids to old folks gathered in one place. The fiddlers (Two great uncles) and caller (my grandpa) squeezed in a threshold between two rooms to allow for a set of dancers in each of two adjoining rooms. Over the years, they beat the floors down, but they had fun. I was reminded of this lost tradition by a fine recent essay from the David Walbert AKA the new agrarian.

The late agrarian writer John Seymour often lamented that loss of sociability was one of the greatest losses caused by industrialism and consumerism. We simply no longer no how to party.   Our family gatherings are limited to eating and gathering around some kind of electronic entertainment.  

Wishing all readers a happy and blessed Christmas! Only a couple days left so party on-- as best you can in our sad culture!