Spotlight on Pastured Life Farm: Foraging on Fodder
With the limited availability of non-GMO verified feed, high prices of quality and the difficulty of producing consistent forage throughout the winter, David and Ginger Shields of Pastured Life Farm knew it was time to start looking for a better feed option.
Pastured Life Farm, located in North Central Florida, specializes in grass-fed dairy, as well as pastured pork and chicken. This small farm’s goal is to raise animals on feed that is as close to their natural diet as possible. This means that cows are fed only grass and forage, while the chickens and pigs have access to open pasture, and, of course, feed that is non-GMO.
While these diets provide excellent benefits for the Shields’ animals, they also present a number of challenges to the operations and finances of Pastured Life Farm. “Our biggest challenge comes in late winter and early spring,” states the Shields. “We plant winter and spring forages, but there is no guarantee or consistency in the quality of crop yields from season to season due to variables, such as rainfall amounts, seed germination, et cetera.” The inconsistency of field grown crops and the increasing use of GMOs left the Shields little choice but to purchase high-priced feed. They knew that an alternative was needed and started researching options. The Shields explain, “We decided we needed some sort of X factor and the fodder system seemed to fit the bill.”
Pastured Life Farm now utilizes a FodderPro 2.0 Feed System and they have had excellent results. They found that the feed grown in the system helped the cows maintain weight during lactation and produced about 15 to 20 percent more milk. The Shields’ customers were also satisfied after finding that the quality of the milk had gotten a boost. Although they planned on mainly using the system for the cows, they also found it to be a helpful alternative for their pigs and chickens and found great potential for the use of this system with pastured pigs. Shields states, “We have been able to cut down on the pig’s feed to the point where we are considering feeding nothing more than sprouts and surplus milk.” The FodderPro 2.0 System has also provided the financial relief that the Shields were hoping to find. They no longer have to spend money on expensive, high-quality feeds that are non-GMO verified. Based off of feed savings alone, the Shields expect their investment to be paid off in 18 months.
“I personally believe every small farm or family farm should consider this system as an investment and tool that will allow them to feed animals for less and provide a nutritionally superior food, which will result in improved animal health, performance, vitality and fertility.”