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Old 01/17/08, 02:55 PM
amplify love
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: new brunswick, canada
Posts: 193
ok, a few of you say you prefer the jersey , jersey cross meat, ........ why,

this is the first time i have reared jersey bulls, so far so good, they are a little behind what the holstien would be at this age, in weight, about 15 lbs, but they on average were 11 lbs lighter at buying (about a week old), the feed is a little less, but not really worth mentioning as of yet, its going to be intresting to see, days to slaughter ( i like to slaugher between 5 and 600 lbs ( corn fed, red veal ), and conversion rate, and ofcourse $ per lb carcass wieght,, so far i don't see a lot of differance, i do know the jerseys are much more lively and REALLY like their food, lol, they have been real good drinkers and eaters from day one, ( and gone through some bitter cold weather)
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Old 01/17/08, 06:51 PM
genebo's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: VA
Posts: 1,599
I have grass fed Angus and Dexter beef in the freezer. The Dexter is far superior. Tenderer and tastes better. We save that for special occasions. We can get all the Angus beef we want.

Paradise Farm
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Old 01/18/08, 12:15 AM
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Central Oregon
Posts: 423
We have been buying only grass fed beef from a friend but have found some of the cuts (like the steaks) taste really yucky. Very gamey and strong tasting. Some pieces you will only get a bite or two like this, others it is the whole piece of meat. These cows are Angus. I think they are only aged two weeks or so. What could cause this? We have been scared to buy grass fed beef again because some of it was just gross. Also, some of the meat that are usually quite tender were tough. Is there an optimal age to slaughter steers because I think there's are older?
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Old 01/18/08, 01:12 AM
sammyd's Avatar  
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Central WI
Posts: 5,760
Other than what I may have bought in a store I have eaten holstein my whole life, many an older cull cow has been put in the freezer on the folks place. Mostly good for hamburger and roasts.
Since the wife and I moved out to our place we have only raised holsteins. Our first was a steer and the second was a heifer. We just did another steer but sold it.
The taste is excellent whether finished on a high corn diet or regular grass/grain.
The high corn ration really softened up the meat. Even an old toothless guy could've eaten it with no problem.
We have never had a problem with gamey taste, fat going bad, or tough stringy meat.

Holstein bull calves are usually cheap around here so we buy them as bottle calves. Steer them up as soon as I can and dehorn them for safety. We tether them out and let them run in a small pasture when the grass is on. During their last winter I keep them outside in a smaller lot with windbreaks and they do just fine. I feed 18% starter switch to 16% around 6 months and at 8 or so I switch to a 14% dairy mix. 4-6 pounds a day. In the winter they get the best hay I can find.
At 18 months we butcher them. I can get them up to 1200 pounds or so without a problem and 600 pounds of meat is plenty for us and we sell some to my folks.
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Old 01/18/08, 11:57 AM
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Join Date: May 2003
Location: Southern Illinois
Posts: 421
Always been a Hereford guy myself, but we have raised Holsteins, (bottle calves, like everyone else!) and those are just as good. They don't dress out as well and do take longer to finish out.
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Old 01/20/08, 11:00 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 36
I've been wanting to raise my own beef forever and finally got around to putting in fences, water, run in shed, etc.. I now have a small fold of Highland cows and will butcher each year for the family and what's left for direct sale. My primary reason for going with Highlands was that they're very hardy and they look cooler than heck, but I wouldn't do it until I had tasted grass fed Highland beef. We tried some ribeyes, some sirloins and a sirloin tip roast and it was all excellent. I'll admit that it was a stronger flavor than what I'm used to getting at the grocery store but it was tender and not at all objectionable. I intend to put some grain to my animals but I suspect that stronger beef flavor will grow on us as we get used to it.
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Old 01/22/08, 04:49 PM
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Cookiecow's Husband
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Hardscratch, Kentucky, USA
Posts: 77
We raise our own beef, and have for the last several years. We raise registered Belted Galloway cattle in a forage based operation. We are as natural as we can get, no hormones, implents, etc. We sell the best calves for breeding stock, and we eat the rest. We have three housholds, with three generations living on our little farm, so we go through a lot of beef. We also love to watch our belties in the fields.
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Last edited by BeltieBandit; 01/22/08 at 11:00 PM.
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Old 01/22/08, 10:51 PM
BeltieBandit's Avatar
Cookiecow's Husband
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Hardscratch, Kentucky, USA
Posts: 77
Originally Posted by farm mom
We have been buying only grass fed beef from a friend but have found some of the cuts (like the steaks) taste really yucky. Very gamey and strong tasting. Some pieces you will only get a bite or two like this, others it is the whole piece of meat. These cows are Angus. I think they are only aged two weeks or so. What could cause this? We have been scared to buy grass fed beef again because some of it was just gross. Also, some of the meat that are usually quite tender were tough. Is there an optimal age to slaughter steers because I think there's are older?
Farm Mom,

The wife (Cookiecows) and I are both from southern Oregon (Grants Pass) although we live in Kentucky now. I replied to the thread in general, but then realized that I hadn't answered your question. We raise Belted Galloways, which have the metabolism more like a buffalo than most cattle. They are forage-based, which is a little different than raising other beef breeds on grass alone. With ours, you have to finish them on clean grass or hay, for at lease 2-8 weeks. Many of the other beltie producers have special finishing pastures just for this purpose. When animals are grass/forage based, the meat can get odd/bad flavors from the plants that the animal eats. We had one cow that we culled (not a beltie) and the meat was terrible. We found that it must have gotten into some noxious weed, such as wild onions. This can happen very easily in drought years when the grass is less full, so the animals are eating in patches they would otherwise ignore.

We now put up our animals for at least two weeks, and we try to keep our pastures as weed-free as possible (a never-ending task). We also had this happen with our milk cow from time to time. The milk would have a bad flavor that would go away after a few days. Forage based animals have very little fat in the meat, which is good, because the bad flavor isn't stored there. So as long as you isolate them for a time, the risk is less. This has been our experience over the last four years. Don't give up on grass-fed, or at least on "Naturally" raised beef. It's better for you....Ric
No matter where you go, there you are...
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Old 01/22/08, 11:01 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: East-Central Ontario
Posts: 4,076

We eat our freemartins and the odd heifer that doesn't get bred. Usually slaughter them at 20-22 months. They're raised with the others on mostly 1st cut alfalfa baleage.

Wife's best friend was raised on a Black Angus ranch in Alberta, she's been getting beef from us for a while now. Says we've spoiled her on eating Angus beef anymore.
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Old 07/01/09, 06:50 PM
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mostly LaManchas
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Oregon
Posts: 1,004

I am wondering what people are seeing for current prices for buying calves, and selling / buying ready to butcher animals. Looking at the prices from a few years ago is interesting. I am wondering about current trends.

We are still trying to figure out what the heck we are doing!

We have done bottle calves. We are mostly done with the holstien steer in our freezer, he is edible but I would like to do better.

We have an Angus steer that is about a year, so I need to figure out what to do with him! What to feed, when to butcher?

And then we got a couple holstein calves almost a month old now. I intend to read up and improve them from the last one!
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Old 07/02/09, 11:23 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: New York
Posts: 1,552
As I have posted several times we get a Jersey calf from a neighbor. Three weeks old, sends home with 2-3 gallons of milk to mix with our goats milk. He calls me when they are "over the hump" and asks if I want this one........$25.
THEN he visits when the animal need to be banded and dehorned...NO charge!. He does go home with eggs, homemade bread.......and I groom his dog for him. GREAT neighbor!
We butcher at 18 months. Little pasture, long stem hay and two 5 gallon pails of cob corn a day, cut into 1" pieces, for the last 6 weeks... BEST beef you will ever eat. Just enough marbling but not fatty. Yummmy!!!!!
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Old 07/02/09, 09:13 PM
Bovine and Range Nerd
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Alberta, Canada
Posts: 911
Originally Posted by Ken Scharabok View Post
If you raise your own freezer beef, or purchase it in quantity, such as a side,

1. what breed(s) do you prefer

If I were to raise my own, I'd go with Hereford, Red Angus, and/or Shorthorn. I might experiment with some Murray Grey genetics/cattle and even Simmental to see how the calves turn out in this type of country on grass-only.

2. why do you prefer it/them

These are the top most common breeds found around here. Minus Murray Grey, which are non existent up here, but not when you go south of Edmonton. A lot of the steer calves that are used for beef are crossbred, with majority Hereford, Angus, Red Angus, Shorthorn, Simmental, Limousin and Charolais. Depending on where the calves come from, of course.

3. and how do you raise it (finishing diet and desired slaughtering weight)?

Grass only, with maybe alfalfa cubes and a few pounds of grain on the side every couple days. I think I'd leave the desired slaughter weight up to my clients; some may want a lot of meat, some not so much. I think my average might be around 1100 lbs, plus or minus.

4. If you purchase a side or so, what is your selection criteria?
I'd have to think on that one. I know I'd like sausage and hamburger with it, along with inside round roasts, sirloin and T-bone steaks, something like that.
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Old 07/06/09, 10:04 AM
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Location: Near Traverse City Michigan
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Dad has been keeping a dozen angus brood cows. THey get no graiin. They only get pasture from may till october, and baled hay the rest of the time. We butchered a heifer a year ago who had never had a kernal of corn, and she was as fat as a pig.

We have been doing all of our own slaughtering, and butchering for 30 years, and I have never seen anything like that in an animal that wasnt grain fed. I am a big believer in angus. They can grow easily on mediocre feed.

WHen I have to buy beef, I buy whatever old cow I can get cheap, as long as they are healthy. Tough old milk cows, old brood cows, whatever. I just grind them up for burger anyway. I might take some of the tenderloin, and cube it, but mostly I just grind everything. We use almost 400 lb of beef per year, and most of it is burger.
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Last edited by michiganfarmer; 07/06/09 at 10:08 AM.
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Old 07/08/09, 09:05 PM
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: East Texas
Posts: 1,125
We are quickly coming to our first slaughter. We bought two heifer calves(brangus and an angus) in april of 08 and have been raising them on pasture. Most of our pasture is bahia. They also get about two pounds of sweet feed a day to keep them semi-sociable. We have planned the whole time to butcher the angus for ourselves, but havent decided if we will keep a side or the whole thing. I have someone else who is interested in a side if we have one for sell. If we do only end up wanting only a side, and we sell the other side, not sure if we will sell the second calf or breed her. They are approx. 18-19 months old right now. Guessing they are both around 800 lbs but we havent taped them. I have no clue what we are SUPPOSED to do, but what we are planning to do is slaughter in november, and double their sweet feed starting in september, double again in september, and double again in november with the last two weeks being fed more. This is just our plan, not sure if its right or not.

These are our first cows so a lot of it is just guesswork. We really need to decide on the second calf as far as breeding, selling, or having slaughtered and sold.

Our cows are hormone free, and not medicated other than the shots they got when we bought them. We have never had grass fed beef, which is why we are planning on the grain. I would hate to let them finish out on pasture and end up not liking the taste of the meat. Thats a lot of beef to not like. And, a lot of money.

We would love to have a home kill guy come out but I have not found anyone around here who does it. All the slaughter houses around here want you to make an appt, and trailer your cow to them the morning of. Lots of decisions to make.
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Old 07/08/09, 09:34 PM
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 51
If you find a home-kill person, please let me know. We've also been searching for one, and haven't found anyone. We won't need one this year, but it's looking like we'll have a lot more searching to do, anyhow....
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Old 07/09/09, 12:42 PM
Tad Tad is offline
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Western New York
Posts: 543

Thats funny! Here in NY we had a Jersey cross bull, the trucker said to shoot it yourself because if you send it to market they will shoot it and bill for the trucking. We started him for beef.
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Old 07/09/09, 03:06 PM
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Join Date: May 2002
Location: Ohio
Posts: 2,642
We have been raising our own beef for about 10 years. We also sell a few each year as well. All of our cows are grass/hay fed. We buy day old jersey steers whenever our cow calves. This helps with the extra milk. We have several customers who insist on a jersey. We love the meat and so do they. The best meat we have raised though is when we breed one of our jerseys to an angus and then leave the calf on the mom until slaughter. They nurse off and on up until butcher time. It is so tender and tasty.

We butcher our jersey or cross steers at 18 months. We usually have them butchered in late October, so they have just come through the summer on good pasture. At 18 months, a full blood jersey steer has a hanging weight of about 300 pounds. If you leave it intact, it comes up to around 400 pounds. The angus/jersey crosses run from 500 up to 700 pounds.
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Old 07/09/09, 06:10 PM
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Idaho
Posts: 3,021
Grass fed... no grain is what we like and have in our freezer.

Our landlord right now has us raising a bummer calf ( we have a milk cow )of which we will get half of. The calf is Angus and Charlet (sp??)

I am afraid he likes to feed them grain
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Old 07/10/09, 03:06 PM
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Plymouth, WI
Posts: 415
Interesting thread and it inspired me to get out the bill for the last beef we bought. Grass fed not certified organic. I opted for 1/2 steer to get some of all cuts. Billed:
190# beef @ $2.75# = $522.50
$98.15 butchers fees (mentions 190# cut,wrap and freeze)
$620.65 total 3 boxes of freezer wrapped meat and soup bones. I weighed all the packages and it was under 125# with the wrapping.
LAdy we bought it from called to ask how we liked it. Flavor is great but how could we get only 120#s of meat and bones from 1/2 a steer and pay over $600? "You lose a lot in processing!" That was before I found out how fat the ground beef is.

Did she keep almost 1/3 of the meat we bought?
With a steer what are the percentages of weight ie. live vs hanging vs processed?
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Old 07/10/09, 04:22 PM
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Location: north-central Kansas
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Depends on the breed and condition and age of the critter. Beef breeds will dress at about 60%+- for hanging wt.
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Last edited by Ken Scharabok; 07/14/09 at 05:30 AM.
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