Caring for Land

Profile of Hastings Stewardship Council Member: Dale Grant

Dale Grant is a beef farmer. He, with his wife Fay and now with their son Mark, rear beef cattle, as well as grow cash, fodder, and specialty crops like hemp and spelt, an ancient variety of wheat. Part of their operation is organic. Dale is someone who thinks a great deal about the future and who plans carefully. His approach to rearing prime beef illustrates this. He has found a balanced approach finishing his animals on hay with pellets made of soya beans, alfalfa and corn. They now breed Black Angus cows and rear the bull calves for high quality, Grade AAA and Grade AA beef. This beef has some marbling, small flecks of white fat through the lean meat, which give it flavour. Bull testing and evaluation has a long history in Ontario and these are the cornerstone of the genetic The Grants have always believed in having cows with good genetics, and have been part of the bull testing program. They keep were detailed records of their animals and have selected cows that are good mothers, ado well on forage and produce calm calves, which grow well.

There is a debate about the advantages of rearing cattle on grass versus feeding large amounts of grain. Dale Grant has a balanced approach. He rears his Black Angus bulls on grass and hay, until they are eight month old. He then gives them as much hay as they want and the pellets containing a mixture of alfalfa, soya beans and corn. Cattle are ruminants and do best when they have access to grass and hay. Dale Grant is experimenting with growing hemp as it is potentially important fibre and fuel crop. He was a member of the Biomass For Energy Initiatives Network organized by Hastings Stewardship Council.