The Alltech Feeding Times Issue 36 - Winter 2021 Winter 2021 - Page 12

that extend down tens of feet into the soil , so they ’ re capturing carbon by maintaining that grass .
They ’ re also protecting wildlife habitats as well , because when you ( cover ) that up , the deer and the rabbits and the other little wildlife pastures are suddenly misplaced . And then , ultimately , they can take this grass , these grasses , and they can convert it into nutrient-dense beef . And on top of that , they ’ re reducing the spread of wildfires because they are eating the brush and eliminating that dead brush and promoting new growth .
And I could go on and on . But this phenomenon that we see — that cattle do with this grass one — is an important piece , because we simply think that we can replace it and do something else , but truly , that beef cow does something very unique and very important to managing our natural resources and producing enough to adequately provide for humanity .
Well , from your perspective as a producer , what do you wish consumers understood about the difference between protein derived from meat versus that derived from plants ?
I ’ m really proud to raise beef that is jam-packed full of nutrients . And so , the nutrients found in beef are very bioavailable , meaning they are readily absorbed by the body . Beef includes ten central nutrients , including zinc , iron and protein .
And what ’ s really cool about beef is a 3-ounce serving provides 180 calories . And in that 180-calorie serving , you get 25 grams of protein . Now , to get that same amount of protein from a plant-based source , like broccoli or peanut butter or quinoa , you ’ d have to eat several cups or 600- plus calories of these feed item or food items to get that same 25 grams of protein .
And so , calorie for calorie , ( beef ) is truly a super food , and that ’ s where it gets really frustrating when we talk about eliminating meat from the equation , because it simply ignores the fact that it is a nutritious , wholesome food product that benefits people here and around the world as far as providing , you know , adequate protein to meet their needs .
In a synopsis of the panel discussion , Alltech suggested that calls for reduction in animal agriculture could create a protein deficit that , due to the limitations of available arable land and water , cannot be overcome by growing crops . Are the implications of this trend not fully understood or recognized by consumers ?
Yeah . I think that is a big misconception that people have , that we can simply replace animal agriculture and , you know , plow the land and plant something entirely different . And the reality is that there ’ s a large percentage of land around the world that is too steep , hilly or rocky for modernizing or farming . And so , what my cattle can do — and cattle around the world can do — is they can go into these steep and rocky and hilly landscapes — for example , like the rolling hills outside my back window here in South Dakota that are home to native grasses that have been growing here for hundreds of years — and they can go into that landscape , and they can graze the brush , which reduces the spread of wildfires and promote new growth . They aerate the soil with their hooves . They naturally fertilize these lands with their manure . And they protect the wildlife habitat simply by maintaining that grassland . And on top of that , they can upcycle the cellulosic material that is grass , and they can convert it into that nutrient-dense beef .
And so , cattle and ruminant animals really play a critical role in utilizing these lands that would otherwise go wasted . And so , it is truly a beautiful thing to see , and I wish every consumer had the opportunity to visit a cattle ranch and see cattle in action on the ranch amidst the wildlife and the rolling hills and see what they can do to really , really make the most out of the landscape .
That ’ s what the animals can do . In what ways have cattle ranchers excelled in conserving resources ?
There are so many principles of soil health that we follow that aren ’ t celebrated or aren ’ t greatly understood or even acknowledged as being not just sustainable but truly improving the landscape , year after year .
And so , some of these principles of soil health that we follow is , you know , trying to mimic nature and keeping a cover on the soil as much as we can . And so , not only by maintaining grasslands do we do that , but on our crop fields , where we might plant corn , in between the corn rows , we ’ re planting what ’ s called cover crops , which includes a variety of plants , like radishes , turnips , alfalfa , etc . And then , after the fall harvest , when we ’ ve harvested that corn , our cattle can go in and graze the cover crops , as well as the corn stalks , and it becomes a really great cycle where we ’ re adding nitrogen back to the soil and we ’ re creating feed for our cattle , and then , our cattle are then fertilizing our cornfields as well .
We plant — we not only do those kinds of things , but we practice things like rotational grazing , where we create smaller paddocks in our pastures , and we ’ ll move the cows from paddock to paddock in order to avoid overgrazing and to stimulate new growth and allow for some of that , ( for ) those plants to recover after the cattle have come through and grazed .
Farther out West , where pastures are large and it ’ s a little bit tougher to practice rotational grazing , producers will