As an ongoing segment here, I am going to provide some reviews, insights, and thoughts on books that I have read. And since you’re probably here to learn more, you may want to read them as well.
To kick this series off, let’s discuss Grass-Fed Cattle: How to Produce and Market Natural Beef by Julius Ruechel.
When I first started reading up on what we might be looking at on this adventure, and really, to see if we really could actually raise cattle, this was the first book I picked up. And I am glad I did.
In this book, Julius touches on almost everything you could think of on your ranch. While it may not be a 100% definitive tell all book, it is extremely comprehensive and gets you thinking about a lot of things I bet you’d never even considered before. Chapters cover topics from herd selection, breeding, to maintaining a healthy pasture, fencing and earth friendly pasture rotation strategy.
Beyond the actual farming aspects of raising grass fed cattle, Ruechel also provides ideas and insights into marketing your product from niche market opportunities to labeling and financial planning. You know, the stuff farmers most often neglect in favor of raising animals. But let me ask you this: what good is raising animals, particularly in a small scale agriculture environment without a solid plan to sell your wares?
If you’re already ranching in a more traditional fashion, not to worry, Ruechel gets into a transition plan to move your operation towards a healthy grass fed operation.
As you read through the book, it is easy to get overwhelmed. Its not a small book. What I found particularly useful is the extensive use of diagrams and images. Trust me, when you start thinking about fencing systems and pasture planning, the pictures go a long way to help conceptualize the concepts.
I think I have probably read through this book cover to cover three times and still refer back to it often. I think what I found most alluring about this book is that not only is it a great resource for natural/organic beef production, but it is also a great resource for cost reducing financial thinking. For insight and ideas into running a lower cost, natural beef operation, this should be your guide.