three Myths (and 1 Fact) About Grain-Fed Beef

In earlier episodes, I’ve talked concerning the dietary variations (resembling they’re) between grass- and grain-fed beef. However at present, I wish to share some up to date data concerning the affect of varied feeding applications on the well being of the cow and on the environment–an space the place there are plenty of misconceptions.

I’ve simply returned from the attractive state of Colorado, the place I had a chance to go to some locations the place beef cattle are raised. Alongside the way in which, I discovered a couple of issues that shocked me. Simply in case you’ve gotten among the similar misunderstandings that I had, let me share what I’ve discovered. Even for those who do not eat meat your self, you would possibly discover this fairly fascinating. 

You keep in mind the film Three Weddings and Funeral? Properly, listed below are Three Myths and a Shocking Fact about grain-finished beef.

Fable #1: All grain-fed beef are raised on feedlots.

Whether or not a cow is destined for grass- or grain-finishing, the primary yr appears to be like just about the identical for each. After the calves are weaned, they spend one other 6-12 months grazing on grass pasture. Tor the final 6 months of their lives, grain-finished cattle are fed an growing ration of corn or different grains, which impacts the speed at which they achieve weight, the diploma of marbling within the meat, and the flavour of the meet.

Nearly all of grain-finished cows are moved to a concentrated animal feeding operation (or CAFO) for this a part of the method. However not all of them. There are additionally ranchers elevating small herds, anyplace from a couple of dozen to some hundred, who end their cattle on grain proper there on the ranch.  In case your solely objection to grain-fed beef is the thought of a feedlot, you do produce other choices.

Should you dwell within the U.S., your state beef council might be able to join you with a rancher who’s ending his personal cattle on grain.  

Fable #2: Grain-fed beef eat solely grain.

I feel plenty of us have the identical image of grain-fed beef operations: a bunch cows bellying as much as an enormous trough stuffed with corn kernels.  I’m unsure the place all of us obtained this psychological image as a result of (as I now know), it has little or no to do with actuality.

In actuality, corn or different cereal grains make up solely a fraction of a grain-finished cow’s weight-reduction plan. As well as, their feed comprises a mixture of dried hay, alfalfa, in addition to plenty of different components of the corn plant, together with leaves, husks, and stalks. In actual fact, grain accounts for under about 10% of a grain-finished cow’s whole consumption. The remaining is plant materials that’s inedible to people.

This is likely one of the issues that make ruminant livestock like cows and sheep distinctive. The overwhelming majority of the meals they devour cannot be consumed by humans–and a lot of that grows on land that’s ill-suited to the cultivation of human meals. For different species of livestock, resembling pigs and poultry, a a lot larger share of their weight-reduction plan is made-up of meals which can be additionally edible to people.


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