My first Limousin bull for sale

There are many reasons why I settled on the Limousin as my beef breed of choice. Cross breeding, Raymond Blanc, suitability to my farm, not black, slow maturing and more income for the same expense. If you are not interested in any of these reasons but want to see a video I took of him last week with his father then scroll down all the way to the bottom.

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The photo above explains the crossbreeding better than the medical explanation of the Myostatin F94L gene. Moeder in Afrikaans is Mother and Dogter is Daughter. Same expense (mother) but greater income (daughter). Mother (Dam) is an Nguni, father (Sire) a Limousin.

85% of Limousin bulls have the F94L gene. My bulls are all DNA tested and the one for sale is homozygous. What this gene does is double the number of muscle fibres, not double the size of muscle fibres which causes birthing problems. The result is small calves at birth but then a great expansion as they mature.

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A friend of mine sent me the above photo on Tuesday. The calf, photo taken on Monday, was one day old and you can already see that he is muscled like his sire, a Limousin, and not like his dam, an Nguni. Interestingly the calves always take the colouring of the mother and not the father.

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Raymond Blanc, the first chef in the UK to get Michelin stars, was visiting our farm years ago and he said that Limousin beef was best. Who am I to argue with him? That’s him in the white t-shirt above.

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Raymond was brought to the farm by Rudi Liebenberg. Rudi is the head chef at the Mount Nelson and has been a leading supporter of regenerative agriculture for many years. He even has to drive me around when he comes to visit.

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We are in the fortunate position where we can have bigger framed cattle such as the Limousin on our farm. We have winter rain and in summer we can irrigate. We apply the high density grazing methodology, most eloquently espoused by Joel Salatin and most famously espoused by Allan Savory with all our livestock. The cattle, our laying hens and our pigs are rotated daily to fresh pasture and regrazing only takes place 6 weeks later. The best breed for your farm is that which will adapt to your unique conditions.

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Limousin cattle are not black. If it is built like a Limousin but is black then the dam was an Angus and the sire a Limousin. We stopped buying in black cattle as they get so hot in summer that they get into the water troughs. We had to build metal cages to go over our water tanks so that the black cattle would not get in. The summers are only getting hotter.

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(A disclaimer before I mention maturing. I am talking about cattle on a grass only diet. Not the grain fed/confinement animal. Or the so called grass fed animal that is fed chicken manure and urea.) A slow maturing animal suits me. My production costs are very low. (1 labourer, solar powered electric fencing, average of 1 antibiotic injection across the entire herd every 6 months, no feed brought in from outside, food grown for free in winter and for a small irrigation fee in summer.) I want them to be 4 years old before they have the proper fat cover and intramuscular fat. The Limousin starts putting on that proper fat sometime after 3 years of age. The older the meat the greater the flavour. Also the bigger the carcass. Which leads me onto my next point.

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The photos above are of a Nguni hindquarter, on the left, weighing 53 kgs and a Limousin hindquarter, on the right, weighing 90 kgs. Both of them were 3.5 years old. It took me the same time to debone each one but obviously I got a lot more income (meat) from the Limousin for my expense (time). I elaborate on this expense/income story in this blog posting.

I am often asked which breed tastes best. An animal tastes of what it eats. Breeds are entirely irrelevant when it comes to flavour. South Africans have been bludgeoned into thinking that steak must be eaten with a sauce. This is because 99.99% of the beef comes out of a feedlot/grainfed/confinement operation and it has no flavour. The future of beef is terroir. A blog post on this will follow at some time.

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Finally we can meet the bull, SP 139. Born on the 12th of September 2013. Birth weight 45 kgs. His mother is a La Rhone cow. They are the famous stud near Tulbach. This means that he is genetically predisposed to know how to eat out of a feeding trough. His sire I bought from Sas Oosthuizen in Wellington. In the photo above he is with some of his brothers. They were castrated as they did not have the right form and semen count.

Angus

16 September 2016

P.S. The GoPro video below starts off a bit noisily so please bear with me. If you don’t understand the Afrikaans then contact me.

 

Our farming philosophies explained

I was put in touch with these guys recently and if you click on those highlighted words (especially scroll down to the photos with their subtitles) you will get an erudite explanation of what the philosophical underpinning is to our grazing methodology.

To understand what underlies how we farm in harmony with nature in the genuine sense of holism then you need to click on these words by Nicolas Joly and these by Monty Waldin. They are the most eloquent proselytisers for the BioDynamic movement.

Blogs to follow soon on eggs, pigs and the poison/carcinogen/descaler Glyphosate.

Angus

6 September 2016

This plant is the answer to many of our problems

There is a plant can be harnessed to address many of the problems we face in this country. Nutrition, employment and environmental damage for starters. It can be used to make rope, clothes, food, paper, textiles, plastics, insulation, building materials and biofuel.

This plant is called hemp and it is banned from being grown in this country. Our Ministry of Health decided that because it is in the cannabis family, it will make you hallucinate or have psychoactivity. This is despite the fact that you can smoke hemp all day long without the slightest bit of hallucination. Great discomfort by 5pm, but no hallucinations. This lack of hallucinations is because the active ingredient in hemp, CBD, suppresses the active ingredient in cannabis, THC. THC is what causes the hallucinations.

We are a malnourished country. Obesity, starvation and infertility are all forms of malnutrition. We are the third most obese nation on earth. Malnutrition starts in the soil. In a previous column I have elaborated on how our government ensures that we are a malnourished nation, by allowing the farm poison Glyphosate, which chelates our soils and bodies of micronutrients, to be used in the production of all our staple foods. Glyphosate was patented in 1964 as a descaling agent so our soils and bodies are being descaled of micronutrients.

Hemp, unlike wheat, maize, soya and cotton, is not grown with Glyphosate. That automatically means that it is more nutritious than any of the aforementioned plants. The most nutritious part of the plant is the seed. I could fill this whole column with the health benefits of hemp seeds so for brevity they a) have the correct balance of fatty acids, b) contain all 9 known essential amino acids, c) are 25% protein and d) go and buy some and feel for yourself what they do to your body whilst you eat them.

As the world industrialises and urbanises, to the cheerleading of reductionist academia and media, so most rural people move from livelihoods to deadlihoods. Employment in producing food that nourishes gives dignity to these people who have become marginalised by this so called progressive system, also known as capitalism. Hemp offers an opportunity for redemption. It is the one crop that can be grown without using pesticides and herbicides because it is not eaten by any pests and it grows so quickly that it crowds out all competition hence no need for herbicides. It does need to be fed as it is not a legume, a plant that sequesters it’s own Nitrogen, but for organic farmers making compost is easy. Hemp would be the ideal plant to grow, both for all small scale and large scale farmers who, as a rule, are under severe pressure from all sides. Imagine the industries that could be spawned from a plant that can be used for rope, clothes, food, paper, textiles, plastics, insulation and biofuel.

The Chinese army, the biggest in the world, now uses hemp exclusively for their socks, underwear and t-shirts. Because it yields 4 times the yield of cotton from the same piece of land and the clothing has antibacterial properties. Cotton is a big problem. 4% of the world’s agricultural land is used to produce cotton but it uses 24% of the world’s agricultural chemicals. Pesticides, herbicides etc. All of these ‘cides are not on the side of the farmer or the consumer. They are on the side of the agricultural chemical companies.

Continued petitions to the Minister of Health to unlock the potential of this wonder plant is the best course of action for us.

Angus

27 July 2016

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