The red clover in our pastures has been exploding the past couple of weeks. And that is a good thing for so many reasons.
Of course, there's the bees.
And red clover is sweet and tasty and the cows love it.
But there's another reason that we love our red clover: it's a great (proven) alternative to giving cattle antibiotics! The beef we market never gets antibiotics - but they do get red clover, which performs many of the same functions as antibiotics.
At the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Forage-Animal Production Research Unit (FAPRU) in Lexington, Kentucky, scientists discovered a natural antimicrobial compound, biochanin A, in red clover. They found that biochanin A can inhibit and kill a group of “protein-wasting” bacteria typically treated with antibiotics. The benefit to consumers is that they are not exposed to antibiotic residue typically found in supermarket beef. (There's more in this article at On Pasture.)
Our mission at Heartstone Farm is to deliver all natural, 100% grass fed beef that tastes amazing to our customers. And we firmly believe that using fewer chemicals is the best way to accomplish this - and do the bees a favor at the same time!