When biodynamic guru Monty Waldin came to Elgin Ridge in April this year, he suggested that we look into adding a new element to our biodynamic practices…in the form of a cow. Little did we realise some five months later that Elgin Ridge would become home to a small, yet very precious herd of Dexter cattle.
The end goal of Monty’s suggestion to get a cow, was the creation of a cow pat pit. In the pit the cow manure is mixed with biodynamic preparations and allowed to ferment. After some time this mixture, now abounding with natural enzymes and bacteria, is applied to the soil. This process greatly complements our existing organic practices by increasing microbial activity and the overall health of the soil.
After Monty’s visit and an extensive amount of research, I decided that Dexter was the breed for Elgin Ridge. Dexter are a naturally small breed of cows that are known for their docile nature and calm temperament. What was even more charming about these cows, and which appealed to me sentimentally – I’m Irish and my grandfather had a cattle farm in Ireland – is that they are an old Irish breed. The choice could not have been more fitting!
First to join the Elgin Ridge family Queen and Alice. Soon after was Ruby – a rare, red polled (hornless) dexter, who much to our delight gave birth to her calf, Amber, in early September. Last week we purchased Molly, a black Dexter, who is also nursing a calf and a bull names Monty
So, not only is our little herd thriving but also thanks to Ruby and Molly, who are providing our pat pit with the best possible manure considering they are nursing, so is our pat pit and soil and ultimately our preparations for our 2013 vintage.