Spring-fed buffalo and cattle, too | Rock Candy

Friday, March 18, 2011

Spring-fed buffalo and cattle, too

Posted By on Fri, Mar 18, 2011 at 3:02 PM

I urge you to go pick up the latest issue of Arkansas Wild, just out on newsstands. This is the Conservation Issue, and it includes Suzanne Langley’s informative piece about Mindful Gardening.

It also includes a couple of pieces I worked on about livestock you might be interested in. One of them is about the fascinating Ratchford Farms up near Marshall. I was privileged to be able to go out and visit with L.C. Ratchford and his family and witness the powerful sight of a herd of buffalo… even got licked by one. That was an experience.

Ratchford is doing what he can to make his farm sustainable. Rather than utilizing traditional seeding methods for the 400+ acre farm, his livestock eat hay blended with Bermuda and clover seed… that seed passes through and comes out in the manure, which is the perfect fertilizer. He only uses lime on his fields, not pesticides.

There’s also the matter of water. Ratchford believes having clean cool water in summer and clean warm water in winter cuts the stress for his livestock… all the water is piped from springs on-site to watering stations across the grazing lands. It’s warmed in the winter and cooled in the summer.

You may have seen Ratchford Farms buffalo summer sausage and beef steaks in the store. I’ve found them very satisfying. You can read the article in the current issue of Arkansas Wild… or check it out over at Tie Dye Travels.

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