Blog

Out On The Ranch: Drought Update

AUTHOR: Karen Pavone POSTED: May 28, 2014

With summer quickly approaching, many of you have been asking how California's drought is affecting this year's harvest of our grass-fed animals. Despite this very serious situation, and the resulting realities we are faced with, we are pleased to report our grassfed beeves and lambs are still fattening up nicely.

We are blessed to be based in the coastal hills of West Marin, just a couple of miles from the Pacific Ocean where the cool offshore breezes and fog have kept our forage green. Many of our beef cattle and sheep are still belly deep in pasture grass as of this writing, but that will soon change as June heat brings seasonal growth to a halt and our drought continues into the fall.

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Typically, our prime grass season begins in November when we get our first rains, and lasts through the end of June when the natural cycle winds to a close. This year, however, we didn't receive our first wet storms until early February, which meant the grass didn't come in until early March. That shortened our overall green grazing season from the usual six months, to just under half that time. Here's where the drought comes into play. With natural forage scarce and demand on the increase, the price of supplemental feed (hay) has been driven to an all-time high. That means the cost to bring an animal to market is also expected to increase.

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Thankfully, we've been lucky. Though our animals are a little smaller this year because of the shortened grazing season, we are currently on schedule for harvest. This means you will still be able to enjoy our fine quality, grass-fed and finished beef and lamb at your family BBQ this summer!  Traditionally we have harvested our cattle year round but this year we encourage you to stock up right now while our supply is good.

Quantity is limited. Now is the time to place your order for whole, half, and quarter animals to ensure availability. We thank you in advance for your continued support and patronage of our family farm as we strive to serve our customers despite the challenges Mother Nature has presented.