Currently taking reservations for Carwood Beef Quarters, Halves, Wholes 2023. Get on the waiting list for Monthly Burger and Beef Bundles by emailing us at corey@carwood.farm. All products sold by Carwood Farm are processed by Federally Inspected sources.
Currently taking reservations for Carwood Beef Quarters, Halves, Wholes 2023. Get on the waiting list for Monthly Burger and Beef Bundles by emailing us at corey@carwood.farm. All products sold by Carwood Farm are processed by Federally Inspected sources.
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How does Carwood Farm raise Prime Quality Beef??? ( Part 1)

While considering the topic of this month's feature article, my lovely wife Kelly suggested I describe what the important factors are when raising cattle.  She thought our readers would find it interesting.  So, here it goes:
The important thing to understand at the very beginning of the process is that we run our bulls with the cows, all year long!  Many breeders only keep the bulls with the cows for 2-3 months per year because they only want calves being born in the spring of the year.  There are several reasons we do it this way but an important outcome is that we have calves born all year round which means we have beef available all year round.  When the bulls only run with the cows 2-3 months a year, that leads to calves being born during 2-3 months of the year which results in cattle being ready for processing only 2-3 months of the year.  This may be fine for the farmer who sells the cattle to an auction (which then often are shipped all over the country or even the world), but because we sell Carwood Beef directly to local families and restaurants right here in Central PA, it's important we have beef available all year round.  
Calving in spring, summer and fall is normally not problematic, but winter calving can be a challenge.  I spend lots of time watching the weather forecast and keeping an eye on cows who according to my records are within the timeframe of possible calving.  I look at those within calving timeframe almost daily.  If I find one showing physical signs she will give birth soon (i.e. swollen areas of the body) and bad weather is predicted, I move the cow into a "nursery" pen we have specifically for cows to have calves in.  Sometimes it's hard to predict when the calf is going to be born and I find new calves born in the pasture.  In these cases, I take the calf and cow into the barn.  If momma cow is protective, this process requires some very specific strategies to protect myself from an irritated momma cow.  
Regardless of the time of year the calf is born, we keep the calf with the cow for about 5 months.  At that point, we move the calf into a separate herd that I call "feeders".  This is called weaning  and is when neighbors of the farm who live within about a mile of the farm hear the late night "moooos!" as cows and calves get accustomed to being separated. The reason we make this move at 5 months is because at that point, the cow could be as long as 4 months pregnant again and she shouldn't be forced to feed the nursing calf and the calf she is carrying at the same time beyond that timeframe.  Secondly, the female calves will start to ovulate at 6 months.  We don't want inbreeding to occur, the 6 month old calf is too young to breed and breeding is not the intention for the calf.  
I'm going to stop here and make this a two part series.  Next month we'll pick up at 6 months of age and describe the rest of the process.  I hope my wife was right and you find this information interesting.  She normally is :)

Your Farmer,
Corey

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