“Beef and milk production on Hawaii has several advantages over its counterpart on the mainland. We can keep our cattle out on pasture eating fresh forages year around.”
These are the words of Erik Cleveland who is a professor and researcher at the University of Hawaii in Hilo, the county seat of the island of Hawaii.
Cleveland tells us that there are quite a number of farms and ranches on the island. “Vegetables, fruit, and flowers are grown all over the island. Most of the land is devoted to cattle ranching—mostly to raising beef cattle. Many of the ranchers get a good price when they sell their calves to the mainland and Canada as soon as they are weaned. However, it seems very wasteful to ship our calves to feedlots on the mainland when they could be grown out here in Hawaii on grass. Grass fed beef has some health benefit over grain fed beef.”
Outside all year
Because of Hawaii’s mild climate, the cattle can graze outside all year. The average cattle farm has 20 to 100 animals, but some ranches have many more. The largest is Parker Ranch, founded by one of the first immigrants in 1809, with its 17,000 cows.
What about goats and sheep on the island?
“On many of the ranches and small farms, they also have sheep and goats for meat production. Goat meat is popular among the Filipino population on the island,” Cleveland says. “Only a few of these farms produce goat milk, and there are two farms that produce a light colored goat cheese.”
There are only a few hog farms on the island, and there are even two farms with North American bison!
Among other things, Erik Cleveland has also researched methods of alleviating and preventing the deadly fly strike in sheep and also hoof rot in both goats and sheep.
“Aloha from Forgotten Norwegians in Hawaii”