We truly believe that cattle are the greatest “upcyclers”. They take land that would not otherwise efficiently grow food, and the byproducts of producing some of our favorite food & drink that would otherwise create waste, and turn it into high quality protein for our diet (beef!).
Making the best use of this land and byproducts is a common practice by the beef community that pre-dates the national conversation around the environmental impacts of raising food. This up-cycling based approach is the U.S. model for beef production. It's one reason U.S. ranchers and feeders are able to produce 18% of the world's beef with just 8% of the world's cattle.
Here are the ways using marginal land and upcycling plays out at Post 5 Cattle Co:
We graze our calves on ground that is not suitable for farming during the spring (i.e. too rocky, no water to grow crops)
In the fall we trade composted manure for a rotational grain or forage crop with a local seed grower.
In the winter we then graze on stubble (what remains from corn/wheat harvest) fields.
Summer time the calves spend their time grazing on lush green grass and living the easy life.
The calves are then "grain-finished" at the feedyard we lease. Because eastern Washington produces such a diversity of crops, we are able to pick and choose what type of by-products we include in our ration. We work with our cattle nutritionist to develop seasonal rations of a variety of crops and byproducts such as:
Dry Distillers Grains
That's right. Our cattle eat local, seasonal rations and it changes depending on what's available. We are considered a "premier" feedlot in Washington meaning we only feed high quality ingredients and all of our by-products are 'whole' foods (i.e. no waste products). It is our personal belief that cattle feel better/yield better when fed this way. Not knocking feedlots that feed other products, it's just our own personal belief and feeding philosophy that fits our business.
During the finishing stage, our cattle are fed for 120 days where they have room to roam and free access to water and feed. The majority of the cattle in the feedlot are custom fed - meaning we don’t own them, other ranchers trust us to get their cattle to slaughter weight in great health and condition.
We value the trust of our customers -- ranchers who have put their heart and soul into raising great calves. We feed their cattle and ours with great care and one goal in mind -- to produce delicious, high quality, healthy beef for you.