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


In earlier episodes, I’ve talked concerning the dietary variations (resembling they’re) between grass- and grain-fed beef. However in the present day, I need to share some up to date data concerning the impression of varied feeding packages 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 possibility to go to some locations the place beef cattle are raised. Alongside the best way, I realized just a few issues that shocked me. Simply in case you have got a number of the identical misunderstandings that I had, let me share what I’ve realized. Even when you do not eat meat your self, you would possibly discover this fairly attention-grabbing. 

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

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

Whether or not a cow is destined for grass- or grain-finishing, the primary 12 months seems to be 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 rising ration of corn or different grains, which impacts the speed at which they acquire weight, the diploma of marbling within the meat, and the flavour of the meet.

The vast majority 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 just a few dozen to a few 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.

For those who stay within the U.S., your state beef council could possibly join you with a rancher who’s ending his personal cattle on grain.  

Delusion #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 crammed with corn kernels.  I’m undecided the place all of us acquired 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 food regimen. As well as, their feed incorporates 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 complete consumption. The remainder 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 eat can’t 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 increased share of their food regimen is made-up of meals which are additionally edible to people.


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