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Thread: Grass fed- grain finished page

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    runnergal's Avatar
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    Grass fed- grain finished

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    I have a friend who raises her own cows for beef. I could conceivably buy beef from her and she is one of the few sources of non CAFO beef around here, and all the others I have found are grain supplemented.

    They are 100% grass roaming cows until a few weeks before slaughter but then she supplements with grain the last 2-3 weeks because she likes what it does with the marbling.

    How much is this ruining the beef? Is it still worth it?
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    Soil To Sustenance's Avatar
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    Don Matesz at Primal Wisdom has a GREAT series of articles about grass-fed vs. grain-finished. Here is a link to the lastest one: http://donmatesz.blogspot.com/2011/0...ide-to_21.html

    To net it out, grain finished isn't very bad, especially in your case where the cows will only be grain supplemented for a couple of weeks. What typically happens during that time is that the Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio increases as the cow stops making Omega 3s (or at least in quanity). You can "help" this issue by supplementing your diet with a bit of fish oil and/or purchase leaner cuts of meat.

    ...Tim

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    I'd rather support a small farmer than a Big Agri CAFO any day. JMO.

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    iniQuity's Avatar
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    I forgot where I read this, but apparently it’s almost necessary to give cows grain at some point, even in grass fed operations? Obviously wild cows (if any remain) eat only grass and do just fine, but I seem to recall an article (a paleo one) about how expecting fully grass fed/finished beef is rather unrealistic due to the cows and farmers needs… I’m sorry I can’t provide a link.

    I would absolutely buy from your friend, though.

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    Suzan's Avatar
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    It is not necessary to give grain to cows. Ever. Honest grass-finished beef producers do not feed grains to their cows.

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    I'd happily eat it.
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    iniQuity's Avatar
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    This is the link, make of it what you will (that blog is pretty good, this is actually a guest post, but bookmark the blog or add it to your RSS feeds) http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.c...-grain-debate/

    it says that grain is SOMETIMES needed because cows can't freely travel and graze, and apparently not all grass is created equal, especially given the poor conditions of the soil.

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    AndreaReina's Avatar
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    I imagine grass-fed farmers probably supplement with hay if they need to.

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    They do feed dried grass hay, but a farmer who sells grass-finished beef does not feed grains. They move the cows around the pastures to the grass. When the grass is in short supply, they feed hay.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by iniQuity View Post
    I forgot where I read this, but apparently it’s almost necessary to give cows grain at some point, even in grass fed operations? Obviously wild cows (if any remain) eat only grass and do just fine, but I seem to recall an article (a paleo one) about how expecting fully grass fed/finished beef is rather unrealistic due to the cows and farmers needs… I’m sorry I can’t provide a link.

    I would absolutely buy from your friend, though.
    I'd buy from the friend over buying from the store but I'd consider it grain-fed not grassfed. "What it does to the marbling" = increases overall fat content because the cows are eating biologically inappropriate food.

    If you can get other grassfed that isn't supplemented ever, it's much much better.

    And no, it's not necessary to feed grain. Many pasture operations *do not ever* feed grain. Some do either because they don't have enough pasture, or b/c of seasonal availability in pasture, or because, like your friend, they want a(n) (inappropriately) higher fat content animal.



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