Just got a newsletter from ATTRA which stated that 100,000 steers are grass finished each year. Thirty million are grain finished.
You are so right. Five or six varieties of apples, four of onions, two of brocolli and one of green pepper in the grocery store. I raise ten times that number of varieties on a p**s A** little crappy soil farm in NC. The pigs and chickens are contributing to the soil on a daily basis however.
Do wish the purple and fingerling potatoes had done better this year. Limas are doing ok. Disappointing thing is the sunflowers we cut for the birds in the winter are our best crop. I love the birds but would really have loved a great corn crop…miserable failure.
Back to th subject. Grass finished beef is much better for the human body. Just as eggs from truely free ranged hens are actually good for you grass finished more resembles wild game than regular beef in its content. Omega 3 fatty acids are actually present.
I will now step down from my soap box. Natural foods are good for you. Farms like Peaceful Pastures in Hickman, Tennessee are worth finding. No implants, no antibiotics and grass finished meat. Lamb, pork and chicken. Disclaimer…no relationship, I just think the world of Jenny and Darrin for the battles they have fought w/ narrow minded civil servants. "I’m sorry this isn’t unpasturized milk it’s pet food"
Interesting posts all. Personally I prefer grass fed and grass finished beef. I do not have it all the time because it is rather expensive…for me it is an occasional treat. I really do wish I could get natural beef in the supermarket at a reasonable price.
I do remember the days when the beef industry first touted "corn fed beef" It was so corn fed that the primary taste in the beef was corn; it blotted out all the beef flavor. Either my taste buds have retreated a bit or the beef producers got wise and decided corn was not the taste of beef after all and reduced the corn content a bit.
I think the actual issue here has very little to do with beef production. The larger issue is that we are becoming a one crop nation. Almost all of the corn in the US is now GMO corn and the US food industries depend on it. Could Coke or Pepsi exist without corn syrup? Could most processed food industries exist without it? I doubt it.
We are rapidly becoming a one crop nation. Sooner or later mother nature will find a way to destroy these feeble crops created by a food industry overly concerned with propriety rights.
Sounds like another Irish potato famine in the making to me.
BUM: I agree with you that slow cooked with low temp is the best way. Very tender, tasty and moist.
I do that with beef, pork and chicken.
Paul E. Smith
Big Ugly Mich
What I keep hearing is that corn fed means why-bother-with-a-knife tender. I can get that with the cheapest (which also imples lowest fat) cut of beef or pork in the store now. I just dump it in my slow cooker and turn that puppy on low for 8 to 10 hours.
My favorite recipe is: a three pound boneless beef roast, an 18 oz bottle of barbecue sauce. Slow cook for 8 hours WITHOUT ADDING ANY WATER (which is the usual modus operandi for slow cooking). After the 8 hours, take 2 forks and pull the beef apart. It’s a labor intensive, but simple way to make a barbecue sandwich filling. One day I’ll try it with pork or chicken breasts, but it’s killer with beef.
This mix may change. Ethanol from the corn and beef from the grass???
As I understand it, Argentine beef is grass fed off of the ubiquitous blue stem grass that is prevalent in that area. I have spent quite a bit of time in Buenos Aires, Argentina and I have experienced the tasty beef in that area.
I have also noted that in Germany, many of the restaurants advertise that the beef they serve is Argentine beef.
I am not sure that there will ever be enough grasslands available in the USA to supply the needs of the population in the USA. My guess is the majority of the corn grown in the Midwest is targeted to animal feed. I have observed what I guess is millions of acres devoted for animal feed. I use to believe that the corn grown in the midwest was for human use. I was advised that in a way it was but not in the way I thought. It was for animal consumption which was used for human consumption. My guess is that 95% of the beef consumed is in someway, cornfed.
I am sure that grass fed is better but the practicality of that methodology may not be able to supply the demand?
Paul E. Smith
recently was pointed out to me that it has been proven that grass fed beef really is healthier—cant remember all the details of what i heard–(on NPR–Diane Reem Show)–but it was pointed out that beef cattle do NOT eat grains naturally-but-like our last post says- are strictly ruminents that eat grass exclusively. I have no problem believing that adding anything other then that to thier diet will affect the meat—so–i will stick to grass fed when i can get it–which is fairly easy to do here in Oklahoma.
I will put on my green hat. Cattle are ruminants, grain is basically high powered poison to them. That is why they are also fed antibiotics at the same time. It marbles the meat, makes it more tender and is MUCH easier to feed to them in a confined feedlot.
One item that should be known is that all beef is started on grass and then either finished on grain or beer or grass. Finished is the key. Best beef I have ever had was a steer that was finished on beer and sweet feed for ninety plus days. Wasn’t done on purpose, we were in the reserves and had a call up we had to answer.
Many of my neighbors raise gurnsey and jersey steers. There is a local market for the lean beef they produce.
It used to be cheap to buy them, but these days, they’re right up there with generic beef cattle. . . latest market prices around here are about 80-90 cents per vs. $1.30 for angus black beefs.
I may get a couple in the fall, but dang them things look skinny in the field.
It’s not just about "grass fed vs. corn fed." It’s much more complex.
When huge amounts of cattle are kept in huge feed lots huge problems exist. These feed lots are barren mud or dust filled enclosures with little room for the cattle to move around. The one’s I’ve seen in OK, TX, MO contain hundreds, maybe thousands of cattle. If you packed them all in at one end, they would still fill up a third or so of the space. The biggest problem this presents is disease. To combat that, they barrage these cows with antibiotics. Do you want large doses of antibiotics in your meat?
These cattle producers work on slim margins. They use every trick in the book to produce big fat ladened cattle. That includes the use of growth enhancing drugs including hormones. Do you want growth hormones in your meat?
The corn that these cattle are fed is another story. Corn producers basically run corn factories. You can buy 50# of corn at the feed store for $6-7. The feed lots pay a lot less. Do you know how much it would cost to produce 50# of dried corn in your backyard? Imagine the regiment of fertilization, weed control, pesticides, fungicides,etc. these corn factories employ. Do you want this chemical cocktail finding it’s way into your meat via the food the cattle are fed?
Managed pasture fed beef has none of the nasty stuff that goes into your supermarket beef, including the after processing additives that some use to increase shelf life.
Managed pasture beef is pure unaltered meat.
It’s not as fat and marbled as feed lot beef. It also doesn’t have the corn fed taste that Americans are used to and consider a positive thing.
It just tastes better and is sooooo much better for you.
There is lots of info on the internet. Do a search if you’re interested.
Oh, and those "happy cows" from California. BS. Most dairy operations in the central valley of CA are feed lot operations where conditions exactly as described above exist.
I’ve had the same experience. The beef in the Chicago area was much tastier. Than we have here on Hilton Head, SC. We don’t order steak very often any more, we do prepare it at home, usually a tenderloin filet. Even these don’t have the same taste. The prime rib seems less rich and grainier. When ever we go back to the Chicago area, we always eat at Al’s Steak house in Joliet. Char broiled yum!!
You’re right and I was wrong. Charolais threw small claves and
Angus threw the large ones. We now keep only Polled Shorthorns (college roomie has about 400 so this works out well) or dairly cast offs.
But you were correct.
Once upon a time, Charolais were known for large calves and Angus for small. That goes to show what selective breeding can do. In the 60s we sold some Angus bulls to daiymen to use on heifers so that the first calf would be small. In those days an Angus calf was not much bigger than a cat. When I came out of the service, the "new" fast gaining, tall, long legged Angus were all the rage, and via A. I. we bred my old fashon cows to some of the very top bulls in the country. Within just a single generation, my cows were dropping 100 lb calves.
To get back on topic, I think that the "new" Angus (and Angus x) may not perform the same on grass as did the older style. American farmers are very good at seeing what way the market is going. They will always produce whatever the public is willing to pay for.
A Charolais will run to make trouble…kinda makes sense when you consider it is a French breed. They throw a small calf as opposed to the huge thing an Angus throws. We have had very good results buying Gurnseys and fixing them. The milk guys almost give them away and our pastures are very rich. The last month of beer doesn’t hurt either. But to me the Shorthorn has the best taste.
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