Feast and famine - 18 months in the life of Gundooee Organic Wagyu
First, the famine.
A couple of weeks ago we received an email telling us that, for only the second time in the ten years that we've been receiving Rob Lennon's excellent Gundooee Organic Wagyu, Rob had cancelled the April kill because the cattle were not quite heavy or fat enough. The reason for the lower-than-expected growth rates was twofold.
First, the farm is still recovering from the savage St Ivans fire that ripped through the Dunedoo, NSW district and the farm in February last year. Second, since the fire, as Rob explained, the rainfall 'has been about half the district ‘average’, so despite having lower cattle numbers in an attempt to accelerate the recovery from the fire, the pasture availability for the cattle has been quite low.'
Even a highly-experienced, regenerative cattle farmer like Rob, who is committed to raising his ruminants exclusively on pasture with a view to the long term improvement and sustainability of his soil, struggles under these conditions.
'The main difficulty in growing cattle on our native pastures, is that the feed can be generally not very high in energy. In stark contrast, however, the pastures are very high in nutrients and minerals generally, as a result of the 'living soil' we work so hard to encourage. When more reliable rains return to the area (and indeed most of the state), growth rates will return to normal, as will the Gundooee beef deliveries.
So the good news is that the soils are in fantastic condition - resilient as a result of 15 years of resting paddocks and sequestering large amounts of carbon. These massively improved carbon levels remain my most significant farming achievement and I look forward to seeing tall pastures once again, swaying in the breeze in the Gundooee paddocks.'
In March 2017, we worked with Rob to maintain beef supply despite the fire. You can read about that project here, 'We're proud to be slow'. This time, unfortunately, there isn't anything we can do except pray for rain. As Rob says, his work over the last 15 years means that, with some consistent rain, the farm is guaranteed to burst into life again.
Now the feast.
Well, in addition to praying for rain, we can do enjoy our good fortune to still have some of the last delivery of Gundooee Organic Wagyu at the butchery. We've been holding onto most of it for six weeks now as it's been dry-ageing gracefully in our cool room, but it's time to bring it out and enjoy it. Order it here, come into the butchery or email or call us if you've got a special request.
Warning, we have limited stock of the prime cuts so don't dally.