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Pasture Posts #10

Here’s the latest edition of Pasture Posts – the weekly roundup from Watson Farms and your direct connection to your farmer!  Enjoy!

The Case for Grass-fed Beef

Good farms are aesthetically pleasing.  Sure, there might be some things out of place from time to time, or a group of chickens on pasture that stand in some water for a while right after a rain storm, but those should be the exceptions not the norm.  It’s a standard that we adhere to especially when it comes to things that directly affect the well-being of our livestock. 

Poor farming practices have the opposite result: they are generally not pretty to look at.  One of the clearest examples of this is the stark difference between cattle on a feedlot and cattle that are pasture-raised for their whole life.  Take a look at the photos below and see the difference for yourself. 

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Pasture Posts #8

What’s Keeping Us Busy

Tall Grass Grazing

Our grasses are loving this weather and are growing extremely fast right now.  This causes us to rotate the cattle through each paddock quickly so that they can “top” the grass to reset it’s growth cycle and move on to the next paddock.  Here’s a video showing that in action.  

All our layer houses out to pasture 

We were able to get all our hens into their pasture houses for a long growing season where they’ll be able to forage for bugs and grass! 

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Newsletter #7

We hope you’re enjoying our newsletters! You’ll find a lot of information packed in each one such as what’s keeping us busy right now, what stages different sets of livestock are in, product offering news, and much more!

One goal with this is to establish and nurture a direct relationship between you (the well-informed consumer) and us (a pasture-based farm). That’s something that industrial agriculture and supermarkets will never be able to fully duplicate. Thanks for your support and enjoy the latest from Watson Farms!


We have picked a name for this newsletter!

We appreciate all of the name suggestions you all have submitted. There were so many good ones it was very difficult to decide. So the new name of our newsletter is…

Pasture Posts

We will contact the winner this week to receive their $50 Watson Farms store credit! 


What’s keeping us busy.

It’s been an unusually busy week, so here’s a rundown of what we’ve been doing in order to continue to serve you with the highest quality pastured proteins possible!

Moving layer chickens

We house our layers in a re-purposed turkey barn during the cold, wet months of the year (usually early December to March).  We were a week or two delayed in moving them out this year as we were training a flock to lay in the nest boxes so we didn’t want to disturb them with a relocation until they were in good practice.

We use a deep bedding of pine shavings in our winter housing which keeps the birds dry, comfortable and warm.  The sides of the house have curtains that operate on a thermostat that go up to close the barn when it’s cold and go down to open the barn up when it’s warmer.  This keeps the birds comfortable during the worst winter weather.  

We also allow the layer chickens to access some pasture areas throughout the winter so that they can still forage some if they choose to.

Another reason we use stationary winter housing is to keep from making ruts in the fields when they’re wet.  We use a tractor to move the pasture houses and it can make a mess in our fields if it’s too wet.  

The hens venture out of the re-purposed turkey barn on a cold morning.
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Newsletter #6 and A Giveaway!

We hope you’re enjoying our newsletters!  You’ll find a lot of information packed in each one such as what’s keeping us busy right now, what stages different sets of livestock are in, product offering news, and much more! 

One goal with this is to establish and nurture a direct relationship between you (the well-informed consumer) and us (a pasture-based farm).  That’s something that industrial agriculture and supermarkets will never be able to fully duplicate.  Thanks for your support and enjoy the latest from Watson Farms!

***Be sure to scroll down to participate in an opportunity for a $50 store credit if you can help us come up with a name for this newsletter!***

What’s keeping us busy.

We first of all wanted to wish you a Happy Easter!  This is always a special time of year for our family because of the Resurrection, but also because of the massive renewal and regrowth that we see at this time each year.  It is wonderful encouragement to see pastures and livestock in such a state of vitality and rebirth!

After this Easter morning’s chores, the broilers and cattle herd are delighted in consuming the buffet of grasses and clover that this season has provided.

Speed Grazing!

Our grass is growing very fast right now and this requires us to move the cattle quickly over each paddock in order to “top” it and move them on to the next one.  Every time that a plant is clipped off it prunes it’s roots to mimic the top of the plant.  This is called biomimicry and is the key to carbon sequestration.  The plant will then try extra hard to re-grow what has been pruned off and to do so it uses sunlight through photosynthesis.  So what we’re doing here is using tightly grazed herbivores to power this cycle of photosynthesis and carbon sequestration. 

Here’s how Joel Salatin puts it in several of his books: Mob Stocking Herbivorous Solar Conversion Lignified Carbon Sequestration Fertilization.  While that’s a mouthful, it definitely encompasses everything we’re trying to do by moving our cattle in large mobs across the landscape so that we can provide the most positive impact possible for the environment, the cattle, the farmer, our neighbors, and the consumer.

Below is a video we made this week as well as some photos that illustrate some of this process.

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The latest from Watson Farms (Newsletter #5)

We hope you’re enjoying our newsletters!  You’ll find a lot of information packed in each one such as what’s keeping us busy right now, what stages different sets of livestock are in, product offering news, and much more! 

One goal with this is to establish and nurture a direct relationship between you (the well-informed consumer) and us (a pasture-based farm).  That’s something that industrial agriculture and supermarkets will never be able to fully duplicate.  Thanks for your support and enjoy the latest from Watson Farms!

What’s keeping us busy

New Feeder Calves

We recently received some new feeder calves from a partner farm in Virginia.  These are premium quality calves that are South Poll influenced.  South Poll is a breed that has been developed to thrive in warm climates and do well on grass only.  They are usually smaller-framed animals which makes them do well in a grass-finishing program like ours.  

Below, you can see Noah meeting some of them for the first time.

After letting the calves get acclimated to a new farm for a day or two we turned them in with the main herd where plenty of spring grass is growing very fast, and where we need more mouths to consume an abundance of grass. 

Every time we allow the cattle to clip off the grass, the plant also sheds roots below the soil surface which feeds the soil with an ever-important source of carbon.  This is the secret that many consumers have not realized yet – grass fed/finished cattle that are intensively grazed can be the answer to sequestering atmospheric carbon! 

Check out this film for more information on why it is so important to know your farmer and to support those who are committed to the right practices.

Below, you can see Abby on the UTV just after moving the herd of about 160 head to a new paddock of approximately 2 acres.  

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The Latest Newsletter (#4)

We hope you’re enjoying our newsletters!  You’ll find a lot of information packed in each one such as what’s keeping us busy right now, what stages different sets of livestock are in, product offering news, and much more! 

One goal with this is to establish and nurture a direct relationship between you (the consumer) and us (a pasture-based farm).  That’s something that industrial agriculture and supermarkets will never be able to fully duplicate.  Thanks for your support and enjoy the latest from Watson Farms!

What’s Keeping Us Busy

Broiler Turnout

After some rain and a chance for storms, we were able to move our broiler chickens from the brooder house to their pasture shelters on Friday.  They know exactly what to do with the fresh, tender spring grass that was waiting on them.  They clipped it off like a lawnmower just in time for their first shelter move the next day.  

We move them daily using Salatin-style shelters that don’t require a tractor which allows us to service them in all kinds of weather.  Larger mobile range coops require a 4wd tractor and when fields are saturated with rain, you can’t move them without making ruts and damaging pasture and soil structure.  

All pastured poultry is labor-intensive, but we find that it a worth-while tradeoff for birds that are able to enjoy their natural environment and provide you and us nutrient-dense meat that can be consumed with confidence.  

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Newsletter #1

We are looking forward to starting a periodic newsletter to keep you up to date on the happenings here at the farm.  We look to talk about anything of interest to our customers such as what’s keeping us busy at the current time, what stages different sets of livestock are in, product offering news, and much more!  We hope you’ll find this interesting, and we look for it to be another way for you to connect with your farmer. To make sure you receive an email when we have a new issue, you can subscribe to our emails at the bottom of this page.

What’s keeping us busy

When it’s not raining, our team is working on some of the following tasks each day:

  • Tending to our 1000 baby chicks in the brooder pens.
    • This is probably the easiest time we have with the broiler chickens since they don’t eat a lot of feed and we’re not moving them each day like we will be soon.
    • We top off their feed each day and make sure everything looks good with them – especially their temperature.
    • They need supplemental heat when they are small, and that’s what the saucer-like thing is in the picture.
chicks huddled around the brooder at night
Chicks huddled around the brooder as they bed down for the night.
Continue reading Newsletter #1