Raising Grass Fed Beef Cattle – 5 Important Facts You Should Know
Raising grass fed beef cattle can be a handful but often produces the best results in the end. If you have tried comparing the taste of the meat of a grass fed elderly range cow from that of a grass-fed one, then you should know exactly how rewarding it is to raise the latter.
If you live in a place where hay is abundant and that the climate is good for keeping cattle on pasture, you might want to try your hand at raising your own grass fed cattle or even producing your own cattle feed. You will even find hay to be a much less expensive feed for cattle than the commercial grains. Plus, grains were discovered to be only 80% digestible while hay contains more nutritional benefits and is more digestible.
The following are five important facts to consider in the art of raising grass fed beef.
1.The Production of Cattle
You should understand that just because you know the advantages of raising grass fed beef cattle, doesn’t mean there should a large number of livestock for it. Producing beef is one of the biggest businesses in the food industry. The so-called “cow factories” contain more than 10,000 of these animals yet don’t need to have a large area for them unlike those who resorted to grazing their cattle in which they need a larger amount of land. This is why feedlots produce lower taxes and investment compared to the farmer who pastures his cattle.
Though industrially-produced meat are more abundant in the market because of their large supplies, grass-produced meat are equally as popular because of the “real beef flavor” most consumers find in it. It takes longer to raise that kind of meat since the cattle are given feeds with better quality, thus allowing them to grow slower while allowing the essential nutrients to settle.
If you are one of those who plan on raising grass-fed beef cattle, you should first be able to know what distinguishes grass-fed cattle meat from meat that came from feedlot cattle.
2.Distinguishing the Differences
There are three factors to consider when distinguishing grass-fed beef from grain-fed beef.
First, the fat on the grain-fed beef appears to be light and tawny in color. Take note, though, that this distinction would disappear once the meat is cooked.
Second, take note of the amount of fat in the meat. Most grass-fed meat are not enveloped in tallow. On the other hand, you should know that grass-fed meat that have little to no fat at all means that the animals were poorly managed.
Lastly, top-grade grass-fed cattle should have been raised longer than the feedlot ones.
3.Your Pasture: The Best Place to Start
If you would seek advice from old-time cattle ranchers, they would advice you to pay attention to one important rule in raising grass-fed beef cattle: know your pasture.
They hay you will be providing your cows depend on what local forage is favored by most. There are certain general rules when it comes to hay-growing.
First, a single-crop field proves to be insufficient compared to a pasture housing a combination of legumes and grass. Most legumes supply higher levels of calcium, protein, and magnesium than grasses do.
Second, grass is useful in reducing the risk of bloat due to legumes. Grass also helps in speeding up your hay’s drying process and is also useful in keeping the legumes upright which makes cutting them easier.
Finally, most cows are more inclined to eat mixed feeds than single-crop feed variants. Make sure to remember that both the land and cattle can benefit if they undergo rotation grazing.
Buying winter fodder should be done with utmost care. Check to make sure that its color is good and that it doesn’t sport any dampness, molds, or bad odors. More importantly, make sure to check the core of the bale. There should be crispy, pale green hay that should not snap when bent.
4. Feeding and Management During the Winter Season
When raising grass-fed beef cattle, it is best to let weaned calves start eating grass at least a month before winter comes. Until then, make sure that you supply your cattle with hay when the cold comes, and follow it with a summer of grass feed. The second winter should again be on hay, and then, you should get them back to the pastures on the final summer to fatten them out.
During the winter, cattle tend to grow more slowly so give them rations which would help them build on their pounds. Also, make sure they have access to a good supply of Vitamin A. Be consistent with this routine and you will be able to gain the right amount of pounds for quality beef by two and a half years.
5. The Traditional Hanging
The best way to let the flavor grow on the meat is to hang it for days until it gets tender. Most people would hang it for 10 to 14 days until the tallow part starts to get a little soft and warmed up. Most beef restaurants would wait longer for up to 21 days wherein the surface, although still taut and solid, will feel like a football filled with oil. This is the best time to start cutting and wrapping the meat.
Make sure to remember the important points above when raising grass fed beef cattle. As long as you prioritize good winter feed that includes vitamin A supplements, nutritious pasture during the summer, consistent weight gains, and traditional hanging, you will find that grass-fed beef is the better type of beef. The results will be rewarding and are definitely worth the wait.