Starting Organic Beef Farming
Organic Beef Farming is a result of the demand of a select group for beef meat from cattle that were raised strictly organically- using organic feeds, organic environment and organically bred cattle. The said cattle are raised under strictly vegetarian diet.
No animal by-products were included into organic cattle feeds at anytime.
Many agree that organic meat is far healthier than non-organic beef, because it comes from animals that have been raised without antibiotics or growth hormones; and have been fed a diet, free from chemicals such as pesticides and herbicides.
Animal Breeding Stock Requirement
Non-organic cow breeder can be introduced in the organic beef farming system, as long as the animal is brought into the system before its third trimester gestation. There is no restriction on the bull breeding stock; but artificial insemination is discouraged.
Brood cow and her calf must be raised organically, three month before the birth of the calf. If the brood cow is given prohibited product while lactating, then her suckling calf can’t be considered organic. Breeding organic cows must be bought only from reliable sources. Bulls need not be managed organically. Artificial insemination is allowed, but not breeding hormones.
It is also important for the farmers to keep records of all the feeds and other activities in the farm- to preserve the purity of the organic beef farming. All animals must be identified and marked (tattoos or tags), and with documentations about their dam and sire, sex, birth, health conditions and other pertinent events.
Organic Farm Environment
To have a healthy stock without the use of drugs, the farm environment must be free from stress or have minimal stress causing conditions. And to have this- the farm must have facilities for exercise, allows freedom of movements, has appropriate housing and with sufficient sanitation. Space used for each animal is usually twice that of non-organic cattle farming. And also, processing of organic meat must be separated from that of conventional meat.
Vaccination is allowed but not antibiotics. Diatomaceous Earth is mixed with the feeds to control parasites. All feeds must be all certified organic and comes from reliable and adequately inspected facilities. Use of growth hormones is definitely prohibited. Composting is highly recommended, but manure management must be strictly enforced. Ways must be used to prevent contamination of the soil and the plants for feeds, during the recycling of manure. Preventive measures must be used to avoid growth of pathogenic organisms, and heavy metals intrusion, into the organic faming system.
Comparative Cost of Organic Cattle Farming
The cost of producing organic beef, per kilogram, is about 35% higher than ordinary beef, due to higher costs of beddings and feeds. The market prices mark up is 30% more than ordinary beef. The net return is about 60% lower than conventional cattle raising.
The industry is in dire need of support and sufficient infrastructure. Many needed policies and components are missing. This is true in the organic feeds production, organic stock breeding, environment support and business aspect of the industry. It also lacks the guarantee of profitability for investors.
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