MIYAZAKI, May. 10 – In Iwaigawa Nakao Village in Hinokage Town, Miyazaki Prefecture, you can see a rare sight of cows marching along the village road every morning.
A 72-year-old breeding cow grower, Atsunori Iwata, opens his barn door at 9 a.m. every morning, and 20 breeding cows start walking to a pasture about 100 meters away from the barn. The cows arrive at the range in about 15 minutes, spend the day on the 10-hectare grassland, and return to the barn by themselves in the evening.
Iwata took over the family business of livestock farming after being involved in the livestock farming management guidance at a local agricultural cooperative in Takachiho, Miyazaki Prefecture (JA Takachiho Area). It took 15 years to turn mountains and abandoned farmland into grazing land. As his cattle eat grass at the grazing field from April to December, the feed cost per breeding cow is only around 10,000 yen annually. “The local community likes this idea because it also helps preserve the village’s landscape. The calves grow big, and I can sell them at prices higher than the average,” Iwata said.