In this episode of The Grazing Grass Podcast, Cal talks with Daniel Rose of Grassroots Ranch about his journey from the city to his farm. He didn’t grow up on a farm, but he found his passion on a farm. Daniel, with his wife runs the Grassroot Ranch Farm in Tulsa since 2014, where he does an operation of grass-finished Beef, pasture-raised Chicken, and forest-raised Pork.
Listen to this episode to learn more!
- [00:57] – About Daniel and his operation
- [02:34] – His background
- [03:36] – How did he get his first livestock and farm
- [04:53] – Why is he not keeping sheep anymore
- [06:52] – About his grazing practices
- [08:52] – What he does when he moves north of the town
- [11:07] – With what cows he started with
- [13:57] – Breeding the cows
- [15:07] – The breed of cattle he has at present
- [17:27] – The kind of fencing he has
- [18:58] – Interior fencing and poly wiring
- [20:37] – The kind of forage he has on the land
- [25:00] – How does he manage the fescue
- [27:20] – Grazing the chickens
- [28:21] – How many chickens is he raising
- [28:43] – How big are his hoop houses
- [28:29] – About the chicken trailer
- [31:15] – Letting the chickens free during the daytime
- [32:20] – About the electric netting he uses
- [33:36] – Managing the hogs
- [37:08] – About his watering system
- [40:06] – His future goals
- [42:52] – His favorite grazing grass related book/resource
- [46:39] – Advice to new farmers
video coming soon
Cal: [00:00:02] Welcome to the grazing grass podcast episode 21 with Daniel Rose of Grassroots Ranch.
Daniel: [00:00:10] Seeing it at the scale or where you'd like it to be at, and being able to work backward from there to know where to start and exactly how to start, I think was probably the most significant thing.
Voiceover: [00:00:23] You're listening to the grazing grass podcast, helping grass farmers learn from grass farmers.
Cal: [00:00:29] On today's episode, we're talking with Daniel Rose of Grassroots Ranch. He didn't grow up on a farm. But he found his passion on a farm. He read Joel Salatin's book You Can Farm. And that's just what he did. Daniel, we want to welcome you to the grazing grass podcast. We're excited you're here.
Daniel: [00:00:50] Well, thank you for having me.
Cal: [00:00:53] Daniel, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your operation?
Daniel: [00:00:57] Yeah. So my wife and I started Grassroots Ranch back in 2014. And we started just north of downtown Tulsa; we're actually only 15 minutes from downtown. And so we kind of got to enjoy starting out, but still being close to town. And from the start made our goal to try to provide kind of the full spectrum of meats for customers, and sell it all retail. And so we do grass-fed beef, fostered pork, pastured chicken, and pastured free-range eggs as well and we sell that online. We've also done the farmer's market, although we didn't do that this past year. But yeah, we now sell pretty well exclusively online, and we do home delivery. And so we've grown quite a bit, we started with just a few cows, few chickens. And we were on about I guess there's maybe only 20 or 30 acres of pasture at our original place. And we've now moved on to a larger property a second lease. That's about 15 times the size of our first. So we're definitely growing into it.
Cal: [00:02:27] Very nice. Now, when you started in 2014, did you have a farm background at that point?
Daniel: [00:02:34] No, not at all. I have no farming background; nobody in my family had any sort of agricultural background. This was all completely new. The closest thing that I had was, I did a lot of camping, and outdoor stuff in high school at the Boy Scouts. And one of them I guess more fascinating parts of it was survival camping and stuff like that. So living off the land, and that's kind of what led me into looking into agriculture and just kind of you know, producing your own food and anything else.
Cal: [00:03:14] Oh, yes. When you decided to produce your own food, have a farm. What process did you go through? And what I'm thinking is, how do you educate yourself, and then how did you get your first livestock and farm?
Daniel: [00:03:34] Yeah. So what I guess first made me kind of take that leap from looking at just living off the land to agriculture was my friend lent me a book from Joel Salatin, You Can Farm. And so I quickly read through that and definitely was, you know, inspired to kind of start things up from nothing. And so from there. I interned on a sheep farm, just north about 45 minutes north of Tulsa, and got a little bit of experience and kind of my feet wet there. And then I was able to find 10 acres that somebody was generous enough to let me put some sheep on and I bought 10 sheep and raised them on there for a bit and then from there happened upon the lease where we started the ranch at which was north of Tulsa with a bit more land and that's where we're able to get a few cows and some chickens and pigs and kind of serve to grow it there.
Cal: [00:04:53] Now you're not doing sheep currently?
Daniel: [00:04:57] No. So we started with sheep, about 10, wool sheep, and then quickly got tired of having to shear them. Bought some more Katahdin sheep, some hair sheep. And then when we moved on to our new property, I think by that time was I guess we did, we did buy a few more sheep there, but we had grown at about 100 sheep there. And we were trying to do the direct market, you know, sell whole lambs but we just kind of struggled with finding enough interest there because of the word of mouth and email at that point. But we got plenty of people asking about, you know eggs and chicken and you know that stuff is much more common in the States. And so we decided at that point, it was maybe best to shift and did away with the sheep at that point, which we still, you know, would love to get back into sheep again, and hope to, you know, maybe as early as next year, because it was definitely a lot of fun in the lambing season, just seeing all lambs running around and everything. But, yeah, from there, we kind of shifted and went towards more of I guess, conventional products.
Cal: [00:06:24] Right. Marketing in Oklahoma beef and pork is a little bit more culturally aware.
Daniel: [00:06:33] Yeah. Since then, I've come across a few people who, you know, have had really great success with sheep or goats. But, you know, they have to kind of have that end with a really niche market.
Cal: [00:06:50] Yeah, I find especially with my goats people are like, why do you raise them? Okay, so you're not my market. So when you first got those sheep on the 10 acres, were you using regenerative practices? Were you using planned grazing?
Daniel: [00:07:17] We quickly started to work towards setting that up, you know, we tried to set up some electric fences with kind of mixed success. You know, we didn't really have a way to train the sheep to an electric fence. And so, you know it didn't work out too well. But I think we ended up subdividing that with more permanent fences and using some field fences and trying to do some bit of rotational grazing. Because as soon as we get on there well, I guess for one horse had been on there for a long time just kind of continuous grazing that and so there was a lot of weeds. This all had really popped up and was encroaching in pretty rapidly. And so we were trying to look at ways we could do that. But also do it naturally. And so we got to get some experience or got some start in time trying to do rotational grazing there.
Cal: [00:08:18] I think sheep’s a great starter animal in that with the big caveat, there are electric fences which sheep sometimes like to mark.
Daniel: [00:08:29] Yeah, that was something we figured out later. Eventually, we got pretty successful at it. I think the key there's definitely having a pen or something set up to train them to it. And having that we had no luck with the wool sheep. They always were able to figure out how to get through there and they're pretty well insulated.
Cal: [00:08:52] Yes, they are. So then when you move north to town and a little bit bigger acreage were you still sheep at that point, or do you start introducing cattle and poultry at that point?
Daniel: [00:09:08] Yeah, we're still doing sheep. I think even at that we actually still had both the wool sheep and the hair sheep. And then I think the next thing we did was we bought just handful of chickens. Because again, my wife and I had no experience in that. And so we only started with about ten. And just figure out what we don't know. And then I believe our next purchase after that, were the cows which the person who owned the property helped us out on that purchase. We told me we want to help manage the property using the cattle and they were willing to kind of put the money up for that to get their own beef out of at the end of it. So that worked out well. And that's one of the reasons why it was cheap to begin with as well as just lowers capital and grows rapidly. But yeah, so we pretty quickly kind of piled everything on which I don't know if that was actually probably the best way to do things. It was a very big learning curve. And having to do that with every aspect of livestock was a lot. And I feel like probably only within the last couple of years, we've kind of caught back up where I would like to be as far as being pretty well educated and having a good understanding of how to effectively raise all those classes of livestock.
Cal: [00:10:52] I understand you there Daniel. My wife gets on me for jumping into the deep end all the time.
Daniel: [00:10:58] Yeah. I tend to go out and try to do it before actually reading anything about it.
Cal: [00:11:07] You learn quickly though.
Daniel: [00:11:09] Yeah. Definitely.
Cal: [00:11:12] So you got a few cows. What kind of cows did you get to start with?
Daniel: [00:11:19] I think that first year I think we went with some roping cattle.
Cal: [00:11:27] Oh, yes.
Daniel: [00:11:28] A little embarrassed to say. As I said, I tend to go into it before reading anything about it, and looking back and just kind of laugh at it. But yeah, we kind of, I guess starting out, we had the mentality of going the opposite direction of conventional. And so, you know, right. Well, we shouldn't do Angus, or beef type, we should do something that's very, you know, supposed to be very well adapted. Hardy and all that. So, yeah, we went with some roping cattle. So I go Longhorn Korea, they mix and they probably weighed Oh, I don't know, 400 pounds, and we probably paid too much for them. And I think they probably only weighed about 450 pounds the next year when we sold them. Not the best start there and kind of each year we've gradually moved, I guess closer and closer back to you know, the main mainstream there. But yeah, that was our first purchase of cattle and we you know, advertised as grass-fed. And because we did try to do rotational grazing there and raise them strictly on the grass. And the grass there was it was pretty marginal. The first year there we had a lot of ragweeds, Western ragweed. And it kind of shaded out most of everything. I think I remember that first year, it being about six feet tall, where the cattle would go into it, and you couldn't. And so we didn't put a whole lot of weight on those cows. But we did, you know, or we realized that year that we had customers that truly their main focus was natural grass-fed beef and beef that's extremely lean. That's exactly what we sold. It's maybe a little bit tough and kind of all had to be cooked in a crockpot. But we had a number of those customers come back the next year, wanting more grass-fed beef and so we have continued on from there.
Cal: [00:13:57] Very good jump on of roping cow correnti I'm not sure I'm saying that correct. Someone I was talking to was talking about breeding those with the South Pole. They make a nice grazing animal. In fact, they promoted it well enough that I've been looking at Craigslist.
Daniel: [00:14:19] Yeah. I'd imagine so and that's something that you know I think where I'm at now. Well, I'll say where I was at before was kind of starting with something like a Corriente herd and, you know, wanting to breed into beef genetics, but I think I might have kind of be on the opposite side of that now. Still would love to dabble and, you know, adding in genetics like Corriente, stuff like that for you know, heat tolerance and all of that. But I think for a little while, you know, kind of found the list of, you know all the certified Corriente producers in Oklahoma and want to go out and check out all their operations.
Cal: [00:15:08] So what kind of cattle are you running now?
Daniel: [00:15:11] Right now we have mostly South Pole steers actually.
Cal: [00:15:16] Oh, okay.
Daniel: [00:15:19] We've done a number of different breeds. Well, we don't breed any of our cattle.
Cal: [00:15:25] So you buy all feeders or stockers?
Daniel: [00:15:28] Yeah. Because we've been on leased property and kind of haven't always, I guess, knowing exactly what our pasture availability will be. We've put on hold buying any breeding stock. But yeah, we've done, you know, the Corriente, we've done Black Angus, and we've done the South Pole cattle. And, yeah, we've got South Pole right now. And let's see, I think last year, we did Black Angus heifers this year, we did South Pole steers. And seeing the difference it's been a lot of learning there. You know, there's definitely a difference in heat tolerance. As far as the South Pole being able to be out in the heat bit more than the Black Angus. And I guess I should also say we also have some heifers that are a British white [inaudible 00:16:37] cross. A neighbor of ours does grass-fed cow-calf operation. So we buy heifers off him each year. And then happy with those. I can definitely say that having to or I guess finishing out the heifers was quite a bit easier than in the steers. It's been a little bit more of a challenge. And also we had a bit more of a challenge and transitioning from one property to the next week, we just moved on to the current property that we're on about a year ago pretty well last February. And so it's been an adjustment kind of getting fences and things like that set up here and, also learning the different types of grass and even just kind of figuring out what's really available there
Cal: [00:17:27] Talking about your current place and getting it set up what kind of fencing was on the place and what do you have now?
Daniel: [00:17:36] When we got here, it was so divided into a number of kind of probably about four different pastures for the most part. Anywhere from maybe about 50 acres to 120 acres. And all of it was pretty well kind of dilapidated barbed wire fence. Some of it, you know, was able to hold cows, and some of it wasn't. And so pretty quickly, we have set off to replace as much of the interior fencing with just a single strand electric fence. And we just use a 12 gauge aluminum wire and have used the T-bows that we pull up from the old barbed wire fences and have run that in as many areas as we can. And gotten almost there, I think we'll be able to finish up kind of subdividing all the area that we currently use this winter, and I think set up to be a lot more successful this is coming year.
Cal: [00:18:58] Do you have a goal with your interior fencing? Are you trying to make pastures of a certain size or you try and make them so you can use polywire with them? What's your plan?
Daniel: [00:19:10] Yeah, so trying to get them set up to where we can subdivide them with polywire. So we also use that this past year because we didn't have any electric fence or even wires kind of going out into different areas. We kind of just did a little bit of rotational grazing but pretty well, it's just continuous grazing. And so now we're trying to get that down to as small areas as we can. I think recommended grazing is one of these 24,000 pounds per acre or something like that. So trying to get it down to where we can subdivide areas into that size. And so you know, like we've taken a number of say 40-acre areas and we'll divide that in halves to kind of rectangular 20-acre sections. So we can use those polywires to subdivide it down even smaller and really get intensive grazing pastures. So part of that is just from also trying to manage a lot of the weeds and stuff out here and wanting to get it. We spent all that time last year brush hogging. And I'd like to spend less time this year doing that, and hopefully get more of that accomplished their grazing.
Cal: [00:20:37] So what kind of forages do you have on your land? And I realize it's fairly early in your management there.
Daniel: [00:20:45] So we definitely have a pretty big variety. And a little bit of background from what I can gather on the property we're on now is that it's, I guess, years ago, a good part of it was cultivated, I think they grew wheat and alfalfa and things like that. And then since as far as I know, at least the last 10 years is pretty well all been paid, sort of applications or supplementation. And so pretty well pretty worn down the pasture. When we got here it was lacking any kind of any sort of cool-season grasses just because of it constantly being mowed down so short. And so one grass that definitely predominant here is broom sedge, which we didn't really have at our previous properties, I wasn't really aware of it. You know, during the growing season, it looks almost identical to bluestem. And so for a little bit there, I was kind of excited that we had nice thick bluestem. And then realize that for some reason the cattle wouldn't touch them and so that was a bit disappointing actually.
Cal: [00:22:00] That would be a letdown. Yes, it would.
Daniel: [00:22:10] It did really set us back over the winter last year and one of the errors that I made was not getting our hay tested. Because when we kind of moved on here they did. One of the neighbors had bailed the property. We did a share, and they led to some of the hay. And again, thinking it was bluestem mixed. Thought it would be pretty decent hay. But yeah, we only realize this year, it was pretty much all broom sedge. And so kind of shed light on why we did not have much success last year in keeping our cattle well fed. But yeah, so we got a lot of broom sedge, which were trying to kind of cut back through brush hogging, grazing. And then we've had a lot of cool-season grasses pop up just through this past year through allowing during notice, we didn't bail anything. And so just through kind of going one year without bailing, we saw a lot of cool-season grasses like fescue, and clovers pop up in the pasture. And yeah, pretty happy to see that pretty quickly that those seeds were there and just, you know, giving it the ability to pop up that they came in. We've also got Johnson grass, we do have some little bit of actual bluestem remember seeing some [inaudible 00:23:54] out in the pasture area.
Cal: [00:23:56] Oh yes.
Daniel: [00:23:56] Let's see another grass it's new to us as giant ragweed, we didn't have that where we were in northern Oklahoma. But so that's been interesting I guess, a challenge to say deal with it. It seemed like we were able to graze it pretty well. But it did get out of control and brush hog and that down with it being I mean, at least eight feet tall was quite a chore.
Cal: [00:24:28] Oh yeah.
Daniel: [00:24:28] And so it definitely got ahead of us but when we did graze the cattle through they seem to graze it pretty well. I tried to find out what the kind of feed value of others was but wasn't able to find much information online.
Cal: [00:24:43] The cow strips the leaves off the stem.
Daniel: [00:24:49] And then, let's see Bermuda grass, and anywhere that we had mowed down or had kind of the cattle had come through and grazed. We started to see quite a bit of Bermuda grass coming up as well.
Cal: [00:25:00] Have you tried to broadcast any seed or anything? Are you just seeing all those species through management?
Daniel: [00:25:00] We have not broadcast anything. So all that's been through management. And, you know, kind of unintentionally, but some pastures, we weren't able to graze until much later in the year. And, I guess we allowed that seed bank to expand a bit this year and letting a lot of things go to seed, especially in pastures where it was pretty bare. And so hopefully, that'll be beneficial. We did try one experiment this past year we tried with our chickens and pigs as well. It started from trying to find a cheaper feed source. And seeing if we could buy grains in bulk, but then we didn't want to have to purchase a grinder to be able to, you know, grind that up to where the pigs and chickens could actually digest it. And so one of the things we found was that I guess, with the modern varieties of millet and Milo, you can actually feed those whole grains to chickens and pigs without really any sort of negative effects. And so we would feed that to our broiler chickens. And with kind of the intent of seeing how much success we could have with planting it, basically, whatever falls on the ground, whatever they waste. Having that planted and fertilize behind the chickens. I actually did have decent success with that. We kind of stumbled upon it last year when we got some feed had some whole corn kernels in it and found that unintentionally planted corn in our pastures and the cattle grazed on it really well and so we tried to further that. So we did a little bit of planting and worked fairly well. It was kind of a fun experiment to do.
Cal: [00:27:10] Yes. Very nice. Now, when your chickens are they graze in the same pasture that you're running your cattle across?
Daniel: [00:27:17] Yeah. We've been trying to get them over as much ground as possible to try to get fertility back. And so we've got the meat chickens, which are doing like mobile range coops kind of like hoop houses, and then are laying hens, which they're also in a mobile coop, but it's more like a trailer on wheels. And so we have a much wider area where they can run or forage. I've tried to get them to cover as much ground as possible in order to get that fertility back. And ideally would like to run them in sync with the cattle grazing this year. We weren't really able to do that based on not being able to very strategically graze the cattle in certain areas. But hopefully this coming year, we'll be able to get to that a little bit more.
Cal: [00:28:21] How many chickens are you raising?
Daniel: [00:28:26] Our laying hens would do about 500 laying hens is what we keep throughout the year. And then our meat chickens we do batches of 1000 at the moment, and so it usually ends up being about seven or eight batches a year.
Cal: [00:28:43] Okay. How big are your hoop houses for your meat chickens?
Daniel: [00:28:48] Let's see. I think they're 20 feet wide and think 36 feet long, just under 40 feet.
Cal: [00:28:57] Okay. Did you build those off some plans online? Or did you come up with your plan for that?
Daniel: [00:29:04] No. So we ordered they came as a kit. We got those from Cobb Creek Farm and I think there's another company out there I think they're out of Missouri, that they also produce them as a kit essentially that you can ship them to you and essentially just put it all together.
Cal: [00:29:28] Oh, very nice, and your egg layers, they're in a trailer are a kind of the same thing.
Daniel: [00:29:37] So now that I did build myself, the trailer is an old cotton wagon frame. So instead of just having the axles in the middle, it's freestanding. Axles at either end of it and it's about 10 feet wide and 40 feet long.
Cal: [00:29:57] Was it that long, to begin with?
Daniel: [00:29:59] Yeah. They've been interesting trying to handle those. And also, it was getting that transported from our old farm to our new farm.
Cal: [00:30:11] Oh, I bet.
Daniel: [00:30:12] But yeah, they came with just like a sheet metal for. And so I took that off of that and we put some essentially expanded metal on there. So it was open so the manure would fall through and then built the structure on top of that. And so we've got rollway nest boxes, so we can click the eggs from the outside and they just go up a ramp at the end and put some roofs in there and everything. And it's worked really well. I've been really happy with it. I've seen other people use the schooners, the mobile range coops for laying hens as well. At our old place, it was not very open. There were a lot of low runoff areas and stuff like that. So that's kind of why we went with something on wheels there was so we could pretty much close up the chickens and move them anywhere on the property that we needed to kind of a roundup schools and stuff like that.
Cal: [00:31:15] So you let them free range during the day and close them up at night?
Daniel: [00:31:20] Yeah, we don't actually close them up anymore. We use some electric netting. And, then we also have a Great Pyrenees, and he's out there with them. And so between those two things, pretty well eliminated any sort of predator issues. And so we haven't had to kind of worry about making sure to open up the coop or close it up at night, which is pretty nice.
Cal: [00:31:49] Yeah, that's a lot of work. Even though it's opening and closing. It's not in the morning every day.
Daniel: [00:31:55] Yeah, it's the dependency that will wear on you for sure. We use to do that when we had our first chickens. We had a stationary cube by the house. But we also did that with the sheep too. We would pen them up at night. And so just having to know that every single day, you'd have to make sure you were up to open them and there at night to put them up.
Cal: [00:32:20] Right on your electric netting around how many pieces of electro netting are using
Daniel: [00:32:27] Four
Cal: [00:32:29] Four. Okay, so one a side basically.
Daniel: [00:32:32] Yeah. I think they come in typically two different lengths we use the shorter I think it's just 100 feet. And so it's a little bit easier to manage still kind of frustrating to mess with it. But yeah, we just have four sides. And we actually say I think in total, we have seven pieces so that we set up the next pen when we move them. So when we go out to move them, we take out the separating fence and just move more forward. So they're contained at all times so that we don't have to chase chickens around as much.
Cal: [00:33:10] Yeah, that's a good idea. I see Justin Rhodes videos on YouTube, and he'll be taking up the netting, and he is so much better than I am at taking up netting. No one needs to film me doing it.
Daniel: [00:33:26] Yes, I was hoping we'd figure out some way to do away with the netting, but we have yet to be able to do that without losing quite a few chickens.
Cal: [00:33:37] Yes. In addition to your beef cows in your poultry, you also have hogs. How are you managing them?
Daniel: [00:33:47] So we use the electric fence as well.
Cal: [00:33:51] Now use electrical netting with them or poly braid or aluminum wire?
Daniel: [00:33:56] Just aluminum wire. Well actually, we're going to start using polybraid. This while we actually just started using it last week with them. But up until that point, it was just two-strand aluminum wire. Now we did have to build a wooden pen and ran a wire around the base of it in order to train the pigs there before we get them out into any sort of area to graze them. But as long as they're trained, I mean we've never lost a pig. Even when they get out. They don't go anywhere they know where they get the food at and so they don't tend to venture off. And I think now that we're doing the polybraid, we've lowered that down to where we're just doing a single dividing wire between the pigs and have been able to do that successfully. So I'm not even sure that two wires are really fully necessary for them.
Cal: [00:35:01] Oh, yeah.
Daniel: [00:35:02] But yeah, we raised them in the forest. In our old place the ground was pretty rocky, most of half the property was a hillside that was just kind of shrub oak and hickory and things like that. And we raised those pigs in that area and tried to rotate them is at least once a month to a new area. I think we've probably had four or five paddocks set up. But the property we're leasing now, actually, part of it, but 100 acres of it is an established pecan orchard. It's been let go. It'll be something that we were hoping to, I guess, utilize, actually produce something from this coming year, but we've got quite a bit of cleanup we need to do with it. But we have fenced off part of it to run the pigs through. And I'm hoping to use that to manage the forage there. That was the primary area where we had giant ragweed and so we've got them on a one-week rotation. So every week, we move them to a new spot. And we're hoping with that we can manage the ragweed quite a bit better. And then as we move into, I guess, the pecan production season, we'll move them kind of out of there to allow for that and hoping that we can do both simultaneously, without any sort of negative effects. I was super happy when we found this lease, especially about the pecan orchard that says to me, that was kind of always the ideal scenario is to be able to finish hogs and pecan orchards and so you know, excited to continue working on that.
Cal: [00:37:08] Very nice Now, one thing we didn't talk about with any of the species was your watering situation. How are you watering your animals?
Daniel: [00:37:19] Currently, we are transporting the water. I hope to upgrade to having water lines in the future. Really looking forward to that.
Cal: [00:37:34] Yeah, sure you are.
Daniel: [00:37:36] At the moment, well, initially, we just did those IBC totes like 300 gallons. IBC totes we put those on the forks of the tractor and fill that up and drive it out to you know, whether it was the cows, the pigs, or chickens. But that got to be quite a bit of work because we weren't able to transport much water. So this year, we got like a hay wagon and put a 500-gallon tank on it and then put a pump-alike trash pump on that so that we could pump that water out pretty quickly. And so we've been using that to transport the water around and have been used in like a rain stream drinker for the pigs. The cows, it's a 400-gallon steel trough, the laying hens, we use those same IBC tanks and we just put the little red poultry drinkers just right into the side of that put some holes into that and so that's been incredibly helpful because you know we can keep 300 gallons of water out there. One tank seems to be enough to get enough water or have enough space for the entire flock. And then for meat chickens, we have one of those IBC tanks on another hay wagon that we drag behind the coops and then just run a hose into the coop into a PVC pipe where we put those red drinkers into the PVC pipe so they can access it there.
Cal: [00:39:21] All sounds like you have a plan and doing a good job with that. But I do see where you get some piping in there, you'll be pretty happy with that.
Daniel: [00:39:31] Yeah, I think it will save quite a bit of time there. And it has limited use on the cattle at the moment and trying to figure out how to because we have quite a bit of pasture that we can graze. The biggest challenge right now is going to be how to effectively graze it and get water to all those cattle.
Cal: [00:39:53] Oh yeah, time.
Daniel: [00:39:55] Right now we are working on a plan for that you know, if we're going to try to do alleyways, leading to different ponds or things like that. And yeah, try to figure out the best method there.
Cal: [00:40:01] Oh, yes. Where do you see your farm going in the future? What're your goals?
Daniel: [00:40:16] Our goals are at the moment to kind of just continue to refine our process. Very happy with where we're at with our meat chickens and our laying hens. And just the quality that we're able to continue to produce on a consistent basis. And also our pigs, I'd like to move our pigs more towards just forage and replacing as much supplemental feed as possible. That's kind of where I see improvement there. But as far as the quality of our pork, I'm extremely happy with it. It's a completely different product from what our customers are used to getting in the store and always get a really good response on our pork products. And beef is definitely the biggest area where I think we can continue to grow and expand both in quantity and in quality.
Cal: [00:41:20] Oh, yes.
Daniel: [00:41:21] I think grass-fed beef was probably the area that I underestimated the most in going into all of this. And that you really are working with a lot of moving parts when trying to get the proper nutrition for a cow to be able to get consistent, reliable gains and end up with a quality product that customers will really be happy with. And to do that throughout the year. There are a lot of challenges there that I can definitely see that we can continue to grow in. But yeah, for the most part, we'll just be refining our processes and expanding and kind of filling out this property we're on. You know, I personally also really enjoy just seeing the improvement of the land itself through the fertility of it, but also even just down to clearing out brush and trimming trees back and things like that. Just making the property a more enjoyable place overall. One thing we wanted to do this past year that we weren't able to do was have farm tours and have people out to see our place. And, you know, kind of share our vision and what we're doing. And so we're working to do that this year, really hoping that we can start doing that this spring and bring people out and see what we've been working on.
Cal: [00:42:56] That's very nice. Daniel, we're to the part of our show where we asked our famous four questions. It's the same four questions we ask all of our guests. We got the idea from the BiggerPockets Podcast. Your first question, what's your favorite grazing grass-related book or resource?
Daniel: [00:43:16] For me, I would have to say Stockman grass farmer magazine. It's been incredibly useful. Definitely, as far as just the networking side of it, you know, pretty much everybody who's involved and grass-fed production seems to go there too. Whether it's, you know, advertising a product that they've got or, you know, the genetics or cattle or seeds, whatever it may be. It seems to be a pretty good place where everybody seems to go. And so finding those connections has been really helpful. And then also the articles that they put in they do a great job of tailoring those articles to be relevant to, you know, the time of year that it is and they went through. Talk about winter grazing and so; it's been a really useful resource.
Cal: [00:44:20] Very good. It's always one of my favorite days of the month when that comes in the mailbox.
Daniel: [00:44:23] Same here.
Cal: [00:44:25] What tool could you not live without on your farm?
Daniel: [00:44:28] So I thought about this one for a little bit, because, you know, we pretty much operate with, we got our truck and tractor, you know, have been really significant tools. But I think actually, it would be, I use project management software, to schedule all of the work that needs to be done and to delegate that to other individuals. And it basically works as just simple. Well, it can be a simple checklist, so I'll put in the different tasks and schedule them out. And that will pop up for whoever it was assigned to on their phone. As you know, hey, you need to move the cows today. And you can put instructions in there and whatever needs to happen, and they'll go out and move the cows. And when they check that off, it'll notify me that the task has been completed. I think one of the things that really was a huge burden, starting out was just keeping track of everything in my head. And making sure I didn't forget anything that all the animals were taking care of, you know, the sheep were close up at night, all that stuff. And so utilizing the software to schedule that out, so that I no longer have to remember it and just kind of depend on that information popping up when I need to do it has been incredibly useful and it's free. I use Asana it is the software I use, and there's a free version that pretty much will give you everything you need to utilize it.
Cal: [00:46:14] Oh, that sounds good. I'm going to have to look into that. I don't think I'm going to tell my wife about it. Because I don't need a checklist of things to do around here. I am going to look into it on the farm.
Daniel: [00:46:27] Yeah, it's been definitely worth every bit of it. And every bit of the time that it took to learn how to use it and schedule things out. It saved me a lot as far as making sure I don't miss things.
Cal: [00:46:42] Oh, very good. Our third question, what do you know, now that you wish you knew then? Or what would you tell someone just starting out?
Daniel: [00:46:50] I think one thing I would definitely say would be to pursue as much as possible getting experience from other people's farms and operations. If you are really interested in doing grass-fed beef to find a farm you know, find the best producer of grass-fed beef out there and go spend time, and even if it costs you money, it would be worth the education worth the time to go see how that operation is run. You know, same thing if it's for chickens or if it's for everything, just to get that education and see it at the scale that is 15 years down the road as well, to give you a perspective. I know we struggled a lot with grasping the perspective of, you know, alright, well, sure we can do, you know, 10 chickens this way just fine. But that doesn't necessarily correlate when you need to do 500 chickens or wash all those eggs. And so seeing it at the scale or where you'd like it to be at and being able to work backward from there to know where to start and exactly how to start, I think was probably the most significant thing. And I think also along with that is recognizing that if you're really wanting to start a farm to be able to see that you're also going to be starting a business and to look at it from that perspective as well.
Cal: [00:48:36] Oh, yes. Great advice there. Daniel where can others find out more about you?
Daniel: [00:48:42] Yeah, we have a website. It's https://grassrootsranch.com/ and then also our Facebook page @grassrootstulsa and Instagram account. So we try to keep it pretty well updated. I think we're posting things multiple times a week just kind of updates about it what we're doing and how we're doing it. And then, of course, our website has got kind of information on the background on our farm and what we do and the product we sell.
Cal: [00:49:11] Very good. Daniel, we really appreciate you coming on the podcast and sharing about your journey.
Daniel: [00:49:18] Thank you for having me. I've really enjoyed it. And yeah really great to hear from you.
Cal: [00:49:25] We really appreciate Daniel coming on here and sharing about his journey. One aspect that I hope you got from it is that no matter your background, no matter if you have access to land or not, you can get started. He read a book and started learning, then located land to lease and started down this path. If this is something that appeals to you, today is a great day to start.
A quick reminder about ask your question. If there's a question you'd like to ask that one of our guests or just someone in general, go to our website at https://grazinggrass.com/ and click on Ask Your Question and fill out the form there. We have a few questions ready. We'd like to get a few more together for a full episode of questions.
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