We started raising our cattle on forages only a couple years ago. We were not milking but a few cows at the time. This milk went to our family and extended family. In June of last year we started shipping milk to Horizon Organic Dairy. We stayed committed to being all grass. (Forages only) The problem with a forages only diet is you have a lot less options if you do not have the highest quality forages. With conventional dairying you can add corn, corn silage, and soybean meal to balance the ration and challenge the cattle to produce more milk or meat depending. We can’t do that other than with the forages. Getting hay alone to meet a bovines energy needs is almost impossible. The past year we produced a decent amount of good dry cow and heifer hay. They aren't milking so don’t need the same high feed value as the milkers. We produced some good milking cow feed and hoped for a mild winter and early spring. Well the winter was brutal and it was 32 degree this morning on May 14th! We tried to buy good organic hay but have been unable to. It will be available over the summer but we didn't find it when we needed it. All this is part of the start up learning curve but that doesn't make it any more enjoyable or put any more money in our checking account. On the plus side our dry cows, heifers and calves look fantastic. That is our future if we can survive! Milk cows have a 3-10 year life so we have to always be raising new ones to replace the existing ones. I am really hoping the cows will milk more as the spring and summer progress and they are grazing better pasture. If people knew it was this easy and this much fun I imagine everyone would want to start an organic grass fed dairy farm!
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