About Our Farm
Quality Beef. Sustainable Practices.
At 804 Cattle Company, our animals are our first priority.
Our cattle are finished naturally through a grain-on-pasture system, meaning that they spend every day of their life on pasture at our family farm in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. Because we know that happy, healthy cattle make the best beef, we have an extensive preventive care program, raise our cattle in accordance with Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) Standards and use gentle handling practices. We also work with the county and federal conservation services to make sure that our farming practices are sustainable and do not negatively impact the environment or the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.
Our herd is maintained daily by a licensed Veterinarian, our very own Roxann Motroni, who lives on the land. In fact, we have three generations of our family living on the land and maintaining our herd daily to ensure we deliver everything you expect.
Here is what you can expect from the 804 brand:
Local, Pasture-raised beef
No added growth hormones
No unnecessary antibiotics
Gentle handling practices
Sustainable, environmentally friendly management of the land
Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) Certified
Veterinarian managed herd
Lowlines and Bonanza 804U
The predominant breed that we have at 804 Cattle Company are Lowline (American Aberdeen) Angus cattle. American Aberdeen cattle were developed at the Trangie Research Centre in New South Wales, Australia. Animal Scientists began with a herd of registered Champion Angus cattle, purchased in 1929, that were carefully selected for high quality and small size. The end result was a breed of small, black, polled cattle with pure Angus genetics. (https://americanaberdeen.com/)
At 804, we picked this breed for many reasons:
Lowline cattle are very easy going and make excellent mothers
Very feed efficient and finish well on grass pasture-- this means that they work well with our sustainability goals and pasture rotational grazing
The meat has excellent taste and tenderness characteristics
They finish at a size that is perfect for families to purchase in quarters and halves
Our current herd sire is Bonanza Red 804U. He was one of the first Vitulus Ausline Red embryos imported to the USA from Australia close to 12 years ago. He was born in the U.S. and now we are lucky enough to have him to improve our herd genetics.
Keeping Our Land Healthy
At 804 we are passionate both about the health of our animals and the health of our land. We work with federal and state entities to develop grazing, fertilization, and pasture management plans to ensure that we are following scientifically based best-practices.
Fencing with measured stand-offs so that animal waste run-off is minimized to the Chesapeake Bay Watershed
Soil testing- we test each pasture to analyze the nutrients requirements and apply lime and fertilizer only at the approved rates. We also apply these in accordance with a nutrient management plan that we received from Maryland Department of Agriculture, Nutrient Management Program
Rotational Grazing has many health benefits for the health of the animals and for the health of the land. We maintain multiple pastures with a central waterer so that our pastures have adequate time to grow and rest.
At 804 Cattle Company, we do everything possible so that our animals won’t need antibiotics. We make sure that they receive the appropriate vaccinations, have access to minerals and vitamins, nutritious hay and clean water. We also do everything to try to minimize their stress at weaning by doing a staged weaning process. But things happen and sometimes our animals get sick and need antibiotics. Given our backgrounds in human and animal health, we believe that it would be unethical not to treat an animal if a treatment is available, so, if needed, we will give antibiotics under the care of a licensed veterinarian. We maintain health records on all of our animals so that we know which animal received an antibiotic, on what day and at what dose. This allows us to be good stewards of antibiotics and protect the welfare of our animals.
Keeping Health in Mind
One of the most stressful times in a cow’s life is at weaning or once the animal is separated from its mother. We stay abreast of current research and follow the best practice of a staged weaning process. This has been shown to minimize the animal’s stress and thereby keep the animals healthy throughout the process. Two weeks or so prior to weaning we bring all the calves in and start their vaccinations as the scientific literature shows they have a better response to vaccination if they are still with their mothers. We then bring them in two weeks later and give their booster vaccines and place nose rings. This allows them to physically still be with their mothers but not nurse. Three days later, we remove the nose rings and place them in a corral across the fence from their mothers, which is called fence-line weaning. This allows them to see their mothers but no longer touch. During this time we watch all the calves and mothers closely and provide them lots of extra attention and food. The calves and mothers stay separated for about 8 weeks to allow the mothers milk to dry up so they can maintain body condition for their next calf and then they are reintroduced to each other.