At Acabonac Farms, we hold a deep-rooted belief: the best livestock is raised on the healthiest pastures. But cultivating a perfect pasture isn’t a one-off task; it's an ongoing commitment to rigorous testing and land management. This ethos drives us to continually evaluate our land, ensuring our livestock have the best, while also regenerating the earth beneath their hooves. So, how do we chart our progress and make course corrections? It all starts with testing.
Soil is not just dirt. It's a living, breathing ecosystem that dictates the health of the forage growing from it. At Acabonac Farms, we test our soil twice a year, looking at two vital parameters:
Organic Matter Percentage:
Organic matter in soil isn't just decomposed plants or animals; it's the very lifeblood of fertile ground. It retains moisture, binds soil particles together (reducing erosion), and acts as a reservoir of nutrients for plants. The higher the percentage, the more capable the soil is of supporting vigorous plant growth.
Over the years, we’ve seen consistent improvements in this number. Although the journey to achieve significant gains is long, even small year-over-year improvements are a testament to our sustained efforts and regenerative practices.
Soil is an intricate tapestry of life. Bacteria, fungi, earthworms, and myriad microorganisms form an underground metropolis. This bustling biological activity is crucial for various reasons: these micro-organisms break down organic matter into plant-usable forms, enhance soil structure, combat plant diseases, and even improve soil aeration. Simply put, lively biological activity is synonymous with a thriving pasture.
Every soil test at Acabonac Farms also includes a peek into this microscopic world. By gauging the vibrancy of our soil's ecosystem, we can ensure that the life beneath our feet is as thriving and varied as the one above, creating an ideal environment for pasture growth.
Forage Testing: Nutrition and Supplementation
Beyond soil health, the actual nutritive value of our forage is crucial. We test our pasture's forage three times a year, assessing its gradual enrichment.
Protein and Sugar Content:
As our soil and grass health improve, so does the nutritional value of our forage. We've witnessed slow yet steady increments in both protein and sugar content, reflective of the enhancing quality of our land. This means our cattle are better fed, able to put on weight faster, have better marbling and ultimately produce tastier meat.
Macro and Micronutrient Analysis:
Beyond the basics, our forage tests also dive deep into macro and micronutrient levels. This detailed insight is invaluable. If we spot deficiencies, they are directly addressed by tweaking the vitamins and minerals in the cattle's salt supplements, ensuring our livestock always receive a balanced diet.
Patience, Persistence, and Progress
Regenerative farming at Acabonac Farms, is not a sprint but a marathon. While we celebrate the incremental successes in soil health and forage quality, we remain cognizant of the bigger picture. Each test, every analysis, and all the resulting interventions are steps towards a grand vision: A flourishing farm ecosystem that produces superior meat and contributes positively to the environment.
In embracing this journey, we're not just nurturing the present but also sowing seeds for a richer, more fertile future, both for Acabonac