Grazing is the centerpiece of our soil building program! Ruminants, with their traditional diet of GRASS, are responsible for building the deep, rich topsoil that once dominated the great plains of our country. As we model this natural cycle, the work of our regenerative plan for soil building at Chapel Hill Creamery rests largely on the shoulders of our Jersey cows. How does this happen?
First, the cows eat the upper, most nutritious leafy grass growth – the tastiest as well as the most nutritious! With intensively managed grazing, we leave enough grass residue after grazing so that each remaining blade of grass serves as a solar panel to capture the sun’s energy and produce new leafiness. Leaving this residue also allows the root mass to recover vigorously, increasing biomass in the soil. Since the cows are constantly migrating to a new paddock, they are transporting their fertilizer throughout the pasture rather than in one or two favorite spots. This method of grazing gives the cows the best nutrition, keeps the plants and their root mass strong and healthy, and provides evenly distributed nutrients throughout the entire pasture. Organic matter increases. Life in the soil is enhanced.
Right now our cows are enjoying a smorgasbord of ryegrass, crimson clover, oats, triticale, vetch, white clover, and a few other tasty tidbits that have made their way into the pasture. It’s the time of year when the best, most nutritious, and most bountiful grazing happens. The nutrients in these grasses enhance the milk, and are then concentrated in the cheese. You’ll begin to see the increased grass component of their diet in the color of the spring-made cheeses – and know that the milk came from happy grazing cows!