For good animal husbandry practices, the land surrounding the stables is used for pastures, to which the animals have direct access.
Our pastures cover an area of about 30 hectares, which are divided into 5 sections of about 6 hectares each.
Each section is used for 4 years solely as pasture land. In the fifth year the section is also used to grow crops – silage maize in summer/autumn, and grains in winter/spring together with barley, pea, millet or chickling.
In springtime, when fresh grass grows plentifully, the 5 sections are used as follows:
- 4 sections are generally used for the production of silo grass (grass cut and stored in a silo), and hay
- the remaining section is used for springtime pasture, which is amply sufficient as grass grows in abundance that time of the year. In June, the land is tilled and prepared for sowing with the help of a subsoiler that loosens the soil below the surface without turning it over.
Corn is the first to be harvested by means of a machine that shreds the whole plant first, and then grinds the grains. Between crops, if the soil is dry, the cows will graze the paddock completely, and eat the corn or grains left behind together with the new grass.
The combination grains-legumes is beneficial to the cattle because of the high and well balanced nutritional values of the fodder it generates (protein in legumes and carbohydrates in grain), and is of great benefit to farming practices. For instance, by using barley plants as props peas will not grow along the ground and won’t be damp at harvest time, which makes threshing easier, whilst barley thrives thanks to the nitrogen the peas will fix in the soil.
This method enables the farm to achieve superior harvest yields both of silage maize and grains without the use of fertilisers. In fact during the four years of pasture the cattle supply the soil with an abundance of organic matter, which over the months turns into essential nutritional elements penetrating the soil, enriching it and restoring its creative ‘force’.
Letting the animals graze is a vital practice for the balance of our land as it allows us to use all the manure produced in the stable to nourish our orchards (olive-grove, hazelnut-grove and vineyard) and fertilise the land which isn’t directly grazed by our cows.
All these elements together contribute to the high nutritional, organoleptic and environmental quality of Fattoria Lucciano products.