Sustainability

"If You Can’t Feed a Hundred People Then Feed Just One."

-Mother Teresa

IF YOU TAKE CARE OF THE LAND, IT WILL TAKE CARE OF YOU

Cattle serve a valuable role in ecosystems throughout the world.

Stewardship of cattle and the land is our top priority, and we work hard to put back and enrich soil with more than we take out of it. On pasture that means allowing cattle to graze freely, spreading their manure naturally to prevent build up and run off into water and streams, fertilizing the pastures with organic matter. On hay land, it means cutting regularly and timely manner to prevent weed buildup and applying organic wood ash and fertilizers to enhance soil quality and grass species. In some fields it means waiting to make hay until Bobolinks, whose  populations are declining, have fledged and flown to preserve precious mating and reproductive habitats. Improving habitats for our cattle as well as wildlife species go hand in hand.

We believe that our responsibility to our cattle is providing ample and quality food, water and care. You are what you eat—cattle are no exception. We provide the best quality feed for our cattle possible; in a grass fed and finished beef farm that means consistently high quality grasses and excellent stored forage for winter months. Rotational grazing helps grass grow back faster and avoids damaging grasslands, pastures and wetlands. Rotational grazing controls weeds and promotes high quality grasses and feed. Our Highland Cattle are moved regularly to paddocks with high protein new growth which ensures the excellent flavor and tenderness of Greenfield Highland Beef.

 

FARM PARTNER

We are pleased to partner with Community Harvest of Central Vermont's gleaning program to help feed our neighbors and community.

 

Cross-Breeding

Highland Cattle are small framed and slow growing. Those traits make it difficult for Highland Cattle to be economically viable, particularly in parts of the country where they must be fed stored forage for at least six months of the year. Requiring an extra winter to grow large enough to harvest makes it challenging to be economically competitive with more commercial breeds. Highlands also have horns, a trait most processors do not like and many outright refuse to allow into their processing plants.

Crossbreeding is the process of mixing superior genes from different breeds to make animals that preserve the best traits from each breed. Hybrid vigor (heterosis) occurs when the production exceeds the average of the two breeds used in a crossbreeding program. Another potential advantage of crossbreeding is combining two breeds which have very different positive traits. Highland Cattle are known for their docility and have superior maternal instinct and calving ease. Beef Shorthorns can be naturally polled (no horns) with a faster growth rate than purebred Highlands.  The outcome of crossing these two breeds is enhanced rate of gain while maintaining good mothering ability, calving ease and easy temperaments. In addition, the Highland/Shorthorn crossbreds do not grow horns.

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The Highland cow is well known for the important traits of longevity and hardiness, with the ability to produce calves up to the age of twenty. They are also good converters of poor quality roughage and forage into tender, marbled beef. Crossing Highlands with breeds that do not possess these traits produces a faster growing animal without sacrificing the quality of the Highland meat.

At Greenfield Highland Beef, an older, more experienced Highland animal is pastured with young crossbred stock. Because Highland Cattle have never been valued as a commercial breed they have not been genetically altered. Highland Cattle maintain much of their instincts that allow them to survive and thrive in the rugged terrain and challenging weather of Vermont. The Highlands teach crossbreds to be efficient like a Highland—consuming a variety of grasses, legumes and other species. It is this variety of forage that gives Greenfield Highland Beef its delicious, complex and “sweet” flavor. The Highlands teach the young stock when to drink and when to head for shade. And, the Highlands teach the young crossbreds to trust and value the company of their human caregivers.

It is the polled and faster growing animal produced by crossing Highland Cattle with Beef Shorthorns that has enabled Greenfield Highland Beef to support and sustain the ancient genetics of the purebred Shat Acres breeding stock. Crossbred and purebred Highland “employees” work together and in tandem to make Shat Acres Highland Cattle and Greenfield Highland Beef economically viable and sustainable for the future. 


"When my son's friends visited, we served them Greenfield Highland burgers. They said they'd never had anything that delicious." ~ Shawn

"Thank you so much for growing such delicious food." ~ Barbara