free choice mineral lick

4 price increases

We are increasing the prices on 4 items. Eggs, chickens, beef snapsticks and gammons.

As of the 24th of October 2017 our egg price will increase by 8.5%. This is due to two factors. 1. We increased our staff pay by 9% last month. 2. The protein source in our chicken feed is now the maggot meal from the geniuses at Agriprotein. It is more than 3 x the price of the previous protein sources.

More on our eggs here.

With immediate effect our gammon price is increasing to R76 per kg from R74.10 per kg. This is due to raw material costs going up. More on our pig operation here.

With immediate effect our broiler chicken price is going up to R66.50 per kg. This is due to 4 factors. 1. The protein source in our chicken feed is now the maggot meal from the geniuses at Agriprotein. It is more than 3 x the price of the previous protein sources. 2. We have doubled our production and so have to recover our capital costs. 3. Due to being bigger we have had to hire more staff. 4. Our slaughter costs have increased.

Our beef snapsticks are going up by 20% with immediate effect. They are simply too cheap. More about our beef operation here.

Thanks for your support for our regenerative agriculture project.

Angus

15 October 2017

Free choice mineral licks. Update. Biological farming vs mechanical farming.

In February 2014  I wrote this article about free choice mineral licks.

Since then we have expanded the range of minerals that are available to our cattle and we also now have free choice minerals for our pigs and for our laying hens.

The principle remains the same. All soils are deficient, the plants growing in those soils are deficient, the animals eating those plants (in this case my beef) are deficient and deficiency manifests as disease. The cattle self medicate by choosing which lick they need. 30% is used to fix the internal imbalance and the rest comes out of the back end biologically available to the plants.

In the last year I have had to give one of my animals antibiotics. One injection only. I ascribe this to moving them twice daily to fresh pasture as well as having the smorgasbord of free choice minerals available to them every single day.

 

Click here free-choice-mineral-lick-sept-2016 for a spreadsheet with the exact mixes that we use as well as the suppliers we get the various ingredients from. The spreadsheet has two worksheets.

To understand what I mean by farming biologically versus mechanically you need to understand how different our (biological) way is from the conventional (mechanical) way. The mechanical way it to take soil samples, send these off to laboratory and then apply the minerals recommended by the agronomist or technical advisor of the company selling the minerals. The minerals are spread via compost spreader that is pulled by a tractor. Calibration is a nightmare. Tractors cannot have babies, they use diesel, they compact your soil and tractor drivers are expensive labour. Whereas cattle can have babies. I can eat them when they have finished working, they don’t compact your soil (provided you move them daily), they don’t have to be calibrated and their drivers never have hangovers.

Angus

29 September 2016

 

Free choice mineral lick – Balancing our soils biologically as opposed to mechanically.

Dear Reader

All soils are deficient in minerals. Some a lot more than others. Plants growing in those soils will have the same deficiency that is in the soil. Accordingly the animal, in our case global warming reversing cattle (click on the green to find out more) and Eggmobile sheltered laying hens, that eats the plants growing in the deficient soil will be deficient in that mineral too. An imbalance of minerals eventually leads to disease.

The common, mechanical, way it to take soil samples and then apply the minerals recommended by the agronomist or technical advisor of the company selling the minerals. The minerals are spread via compost spreader that is pulled by a tractor. Tractors cannot have babies, they use diesel, they compact your soil and tractor drivers are expensive labour.

We address this problem by providing our cattle a free choice mineral lick in what we call our mineral wagon. Please click here to see a short video of my favourite Simbra heifer accessing the minerals.

The principle works as follows. The cows goes to the wagon, it licks whichever of the mixes it needs. It’s body takes what it needs and the rest, approximately 70%, comes out the back end biologically available to the plants to grow and to be incorporated into the soil.

We have 3 separate minerals that we put into 3 compartments on either side of our mineral wagon. Mshangazike and Kasango are filling up the wagon.

 

 

1. Approx 75% Khoisan salt and 25% bokashi. It is critical that the salt must be the dehydrated sea minerals and not the washed, iodated salt as the Sodium Chloride is much higher in the latter and accordingly the minerals in the former are much higher. Bokashi is a probiotic that we make ourselves from EM (Effective Microorganisms) and wheat bran. If you dont want to make it then buy it from these guys at Probiokashi (disclaimer: it is NOT my cattle that feature on their website. I breed for beef and not leather)

2. 50% kelp and 50% diatomaceous earth. The ocean has the complete mineral spectrum in it and like the the Khoisan salt above the kelp is an excellent tonic for the animals. Diatomaceous earth is a great mineral that we feed to our cattle, our laying hens and we also put it into the nest boxes which keeps our hens skins bug free. We buy it from Farian 078 379 3542.

3. Pat Coleby is a prolific author of many books that you can buy from Acres USA. Natural Cattle Care being just one of the titles. She has developed a mineral lick which we have been using for a few years. 2kgs dolomitic lime, 1kg copper sulfate, 1kg sulphur dust and 1kg kelp. Mixed together. All these ingredients are available from your friendly chemical rep.

Sticking to the theme of 3, we move our cattle 3 times every day. This is so that they stay in the top third of the grass where the energy is, they spread their manure and urine (the only fertiliser we use) all over the farm and there are enough reserves left in the plant so that we can regraze in 6 weeks. Also known as high density grazing or mob grazing. A lot of animals in a small space for a short period of time. It is regenerative agriculture. Espoused by Andre Voisin, proselytised by Alan Savory and Joel Salatin. On our farm it was implemented by Christo Kok and refined by Ian Mitchell-Innes.

In the photo above Khiphelakhe and Shayelakhe are doing one of the three daily moves. On  top of the water tanks which are on top of the mineral wagon are heavy metal water tank protectors that we had to weld up as the black cattle keep trying to get into the tanks on hot days. One of the reasons I don’t buy in black cattle anymore.

We don’t have a mineral wagon for our laying hens. However they have a balanced laying mash made for them by Profile Feeds that has all the minerals they need.

Finally our beef is legal grass fed beef which yours probably is not. You can read more about this, if you care, below. You can also buy our beef and eggs, details are further down the page as well as on the sourcing produce tab at the top of the blog.

We are all farmers by proxy – Wendell Berry

Angus

 

 

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