Herbivore breeding is intimately linked to its territory. It is indeed the soil that produces a large part of the animals’ food, and in return, the animals help maintain and enhance the soil. It is therefore necessary to cultivate this essential interdependence for the farmer and the environment, which varies from one region to another.

The advantages of a feed produced at 90% on the farm

In the United States, ruminants are mostly raised in either mixed (crop and grassland) or grassland (grassland) systems. These systems allow the animals to be fed almost entirely with the farm’s own fodder and cereals. On average, it is considered that for each cow, there is one hectare of land nearby that provides the animal’s feed while recycling its manure. The spreading of animal manure on the farm’s surfaces offers a double advantage: it enriches the soil with organic matter and replaces chemical fertilizers. In addition, these quasi-autonomous systems avoid importing or transporting fodder or cereals and allow for local maintenance of agricultural biodiversity and a varied crop rotation.

The place of the grass

The breeding of herbivores (cattle, sheep, goats, horses) is practiced throughout the United States. It is mainly located in the “disadvantaged areas” where grazing remains the dominant mode of valorization. Indeed, herbivores, and in particular ruminants with four stomachs, are by nature capable of digesting grass that grows on non-cultivable land, which they transform into milk and meat.
In the USA, grass makes up an average of 60% of the cattle’s ration (see: cattle feeding), this proportion varying according to the seasons and regions, depending on soil and climate conditions. In grassland regions where grass grows well all year round, this proportion rises to 80 – 90%.

In other regions with drier summers or small farm areas, grass can be supplemented or even partially replaced by other more suitable forages such as whole plant corn.

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