Pre-order Bulk Meat Shares - 1/4, 1/2, or whole

Feeding Grass-fed Beef in the Winter

written by

Joe Wanda

posted on

February 6, 2021

Today lets discuss another common question. How do you feed grass-fed cattle in the winter?

Well as you know, our farm is located in northern IL, just minutes from Wisconsin, so we experience some harsh winters. Come November our pastures go dormant and stop growing feed and don't start up again until April. We try to stock pile some pasture, meaning don't graze them the last few months of the summer, so come the end of the growing season the cattle have more pasture to consume, however for us it seems like by about December we run out of pasture or we have a snow storm. Then we have to supplement the cattle with hay (stored pasture) for feed.

Please watch the video and I'll share a little more about the winter feed.

As I shared in the video this product takes a lot of planning and work to make it happen. I would say I tend to be a perfectionist with making hay. Our goal to do each step correctly so we have an amazing product at the end for the cattle. There's no shortcuts here at Wanda Farm. The reality is making hay is like a recipe. Follow the steps and you will have a great product in the end. However, the biggest challenge for us is getting the right window of weather with no rain to make the hay which is out of our control. This is part of the reason we do balage, as it doesn't require as many days for the hay to dry out from the sun. So lets break it down, step by step.

First: Mow the pasture (grasses/legumes)

2nd: Bale the hay with a baler.

3rd: If we were making dry hay the next step would be storing the hay inside the barn so it stays dry and keeps it from rotting. However, since we make Balage as I shared in the video, we wrap the hay in plastic to get it completely air tight. This allows the feed to ferment.

4th: By the time winter rolls around, the pasture has completed it's fermentation process and is ready to be fed to the cattle. We then bring the bales of hay to the cows everyday for their meal.

Final Step: Enjoy stored pastured!

We are thankful for our wonderful neighbors that have big machinery and help us tackle the project. We certainty couldn't do it without them.

I hope you enjoyed learning. Feel free to ask questions and share your comments, we would love to hear your feedback.

More from the blog

He Arose

Happy Easter Friend! Today, we are taking it easy on the farm. I just finished morning chores and now have a short moment to write you this email before we bustle off to church. Thankfully we worked pretty hard yesterday to get all the chores done so today we can take some extra family time to celebrate this Easter Sunday.Of course there will be the Easter egg hunt this afternoon as we do everyday ;)However, we look forward to celebrating the magnificent miracle that happened 2,000 years ago. Our Lord, Jesus Christ arose from the death of his crucifixion with our family today. As many of you know we are a faith based family farm. This means we hold very closely our faith in everything we do. That said, I wouldn't be acting out of faith, if I didn't share His story as it reflects who we are and stand for. If you are willing, please watch this really cool poem that I found encouraging!It sent chills up my back! It's such a beautiful poem sharing what Christ accomplished with his death, burial, and then resurrection.  We are so thankful for his love and grace to save us. Choosing him as our savior vs our good deeds can uplift anyone from the bondage we face.  I hope you enjoyed the poem as well.  God bless you on this Easter Sunday.  The Wanda Family

How We Scale The Regenerative Farming Model

As a farmer who's been practicing regenerative agriculture for several years now, I firmly believe that it's not only scalable but also essential for the future of sustainable food production. When I look at my own journey and the transformations I've witnessed on my farm, I see immense potential for regenerative practices to be adopted on a larger scale.

Industrial Ag's Paradigm: Cheap Food, Unsustainable System

As a farmer who has witnessed firsthand the evolution of agricultural practices, I am compelled to shed light on the detrimental effects of the industrial agriculture model. While this system has promised increased efficiency and productivity, the hidden costs it imposes on our environment, society, and health cannot be ignored.