Our land is divided in two big areas, depending on their purpose. We have 120 hectares (0,46 square miles) devoted to grow pastures for our animals and 130 hectares (0,5 square miles) to annual crops.
Clovers and grass grow in our rain-fed meadows. Their seeds are planted in a balanced way to secure our pastures sustainability increasing at the same time the soil productivity. This helps to raise land fertility and life in the fields.
Livestock grazing is key in the whole process. We follow a holistic approach as we understand our farm as a whole. This philosophy implies that every decision has effects in the totality of the process. So, we control how many animals are shepherded to a certain pasture, how long they are allowed to graze, the conditions of the meadows, land recovery cycles, etc.
All these aspects are crucial to keep the presence of plants. This is critical to ensure the soil quality and its protection. To keep that quality level, we avoid overgrazing that has a severe impact on the plant reserves and that diminishes their chances of regrowth.
Animals dung the meadows and regrowths facilitate nutrients fixation in a controlled manner, increasing the nurturing levels of the soil. Organic matter works as compost and as a source of life and fertility to our lands. Combined with time and the right cycles, it allows us to meet the highest organic agricultural standards, keeping and protecting our soil fertility.
Our cows, as ruminants, use this pastures to cover their feeding necessities and help to balance the pH levels that creates the conditions for the incorporation of fatty acids that will benefit us, at the end of the food chain.
Meat from animals naturally fed with grass and fodder has better organoleptic and nutritional properties than meat from animals whose diet is based on feedstock and straw.
We meet the guideline of ecological standards that requires a diet of at least a 60% of grass and fodder.
Crops are fundamental for our way of meat production. We use high quality fodder to feed our calves and cows when the fields are not apt to nourish our animals. In summer, when pastures are dry, we need to supplement animal feed with fodder to avoid rumen maladjustments.
We also grow our own food for our animals, cultivating cereals to complete their diet.
In order to cover these needs we manage a rotation cycle to guarantee the soil fertility. We have designed a system of use alternation: cereals, leguminous and fallow periods to rest the land. The usage of leguminous plants (peas, lentils, chickpeas) is very important as they help to fix the atmospheric nitrogen and to produce seeds of a higher protein value to feed our livestock.
Barley, wheat and oats are the basic ingredients for our feed, that are complemented with vetch and peas.
We also use grass and legume forage as their mixture contributes to balance soil quality as well as to add a whole range of basic nutrients to the land. Thus, we have less weeds and so we minimize its effect on our crops, avoiding the need to use herbicides.
Ray grass, vetch, fodder oats and clovers are the base of our high quality fodder.
We also try to keep the maximum amount of straw when cropping cereals, so the animals graze and produce more manure improving the levels of organic matter.
Besides, we also use organic fertilizers in which the organic matter has been properly composted. This system is a forward-looking decision to support sustainability and soil fertility.
Our goal is to leave a better place than we found, so future generations have a better farm and better resources.
We also grow bread cereals, including spelt, to make our own flour to cook organic bread.
In the heart of the state, we have 15 hectares (180.000 sq yds) with different species of trees that form a consolidated biodiversity area which we are expanding by adding new trees. We have a regeneration plan and this area is perfectly integrated with the production areas.
Our idea is to increase productivity in the best way possible, simultaneously creating new areas in which native vegetation and animals can find a place to grow and develop. This planning expresses our engagement with traditional values that have hold country life for centuries.
We want to involve the villages of Alcañizo and Oropesa in our project with different guidelines, starting from our farm and with the final purpose of improving the whole region’s environment.
One of the objectives of our mission was to plant an olive grove. Unfortunately, neither the soil nor the weather had the best conditions to do so. But we have found in Jarandilla de la Vera, a close village to Alcañizo, a manzanilla cacereña olive grove. We are working with their owners to adapt their production to organic agriculture, changing their conventional methods to meet new standards that will improve this variety of olives in order to get a premium olive oil.
We have made some changes like using plant roofing in the grove lanes to avoid evapotranspiration, using legume plants to fix nitrogen so trees have a better nutrition, early trimming to add more organic matter to the soil, as well as shepherding sheep to manure and raise the soil quality.
These new principles are improving the quality and the taste of the fruit while they help to shorten cropping times and raise efficiency. These improvements combined with the know-how of the olive-oil mill, make us very confident on the excellence of the product we will be offering to our customers when this transition to organic farming is completed.