Grass-fed focus in Green Bay

Planting work on the Lacey farm in southeastern South Dakota was about two and half weeks ahead of last year’s delayed schedule.

Corn was custom planted, finishing up May 16. Crop watcher Andy Lacey was waiting for the weather to warm enough to spray his burndown herbicides before starting in on soybeans.

An inch of rain fell the week of May 10, but the ground was able to soak up most of the moisture, Lacey said. He doesn’t expect to have prevent plant acres this year, but one wet field will be planted to grass and turned into pasture.

“It makes no sense to try to keep it as a grain field,” Lacey said.

His barley was up about 3 inches, and he interseeded it with red clover. Once the barley turns brown in June or July, the clover should spread and keep the ground covered. Lacey will harvest his barley for grain or malting, and the clover can be grazed.

Calving started at the Lacey place, and about half were on the ground by May 18. This is the first year the Laceys are calving in May – about a month earlier than usual. They pushed the date back so they didn’t have to fight with cold and snow.

Lacey has been selling more grassfed beef direct to customers, spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic and the disruptions it’s caused to the packing industry.

“It’s a growing market,” Lacey said, adding that he aims to keep his prices low as he learns about grass-fed beef, hoping to keep repeat customers as the quality increases.

Andy Lacey farms in Moody County, S.D. He submitted his report May 18.