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How do you raise grass fed beef?

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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
Sammyd. I know what you mean, a few pumpkins amongst all the pounds of grass and hay they eat in their lifetime,... minuscule! However, we aren’t trying to break any rules or laws whatsoever, just trying to learn how best to raise them and get them to market! Deciding to apply for organic status, as most of the land they are on is now certifiable,...is it worth the paperwork? /will we continue to keep it this way?,...?
We bought most of the cattle, so any claims on them if we sell them, would really be just a guess?

Our goal currently is to understand how to raise them best, meet their needs, and come out on top! Growing the herd is the plan. Selling, well, we don’t have anything to sell in the beef department yet! Misleading any future buyers would not be in our best interest, that much we understand.

Other than some of that, my personal goal and role is to keep their health records, DOB, if they were banded or castrated, who was bred to who, and so on,... I confess to enjoying watching them and treating them at times, to a pumpkin, as they obviously enjoy them immensely! Their lives are short, why can’t they enjoy a little treat after all? The side bonus has been that they identify with me and follow me because of it! Face it, we need to move them at times, to new pastures, new fenced areas, to a trailer to go to another farm or the processer is needed at times, so this has made those things possible! We purchased all of our original stock, so they need to get to know us and us them.

I will have to locate a little video of some of them chowing on a pumpkin!
 

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So is Sudex a Sorghum-Sundangrass hybrid? A cover crop?

Nutrition needs in the winter are likely part of the challenge. It’s always more challenging maintaining growth when the body is working to keep warm.

Grass fed beef is trendy, but isn’t straight forward or simple as it sounds!
Yes sudex is a common name here for a sorghum=suden hybrid. It's often planted here for grazing and hay.
 

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I believe the govt had guidelines for grassfed but pretty much gave them up because of questions like hayponts...I believe only a few places were able to folllow the guidelines fully. So now any regs are from private entities.

I am pretty liberal in the application of " grassfed" as long as the plant still has some green or the seeds would not be able to be used as grain I would call it forage. Anything not normally used as grain like pumpkins would be fine by me as well.
I understand that there are no public regulations or definitions for grass fed or grass finished. But, if you are cool with feeding anything/everything that does not have viable grain, your definition is more anti-grain than pro-grass.

I think we have a bit of a movement that avoids grain. I see costly pet foods advertise "Grain Free". Like somehow grain has become bad.

Hard for me to believe when the most common product in the human diet for thousands of years is wheat, suddenly 30% of the population has a self-diagnosed gluten allergy. How can that not be a fad?

I'm enjoying this thread. Too often people jump into the complex world of grass fed beef with little understanding of the nutritional challenges.
 

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I find it interesting that your neighbor takes 3 years! That seems long, but maybe that’s how long it takes!? But, if it takes 2-3 years, that makes an expensive animal to raise!

Lots to think about
Most of my grass beeves are butchered somewhere around 30 months. However, I never send an animal to the butcher before it is ready, so it's always a matter of evaluating the beef while it is on the hoof, and NOT relying on a calendar to tell me when an animal should head down the road. If you send an animal too soon before it is properly marbled, you risk losing a $2000/year customer. It takes a bit of practice and experience, but you can learn what a side of beef and individual cuts will look like while the animal is still walking on pasture. I try to always evaluate the hanging carcass in the butcher's meat locker and compare it to my predictions on the hoof. I just spent a week at Penn State's meat science lab honing these skills.

I'm at an advantage over my neighbor, because all of my animals are grain-free to an age of ~13-17 months (depending on when they were born the previous year...I start grain finishing late June for a late October processing). Yearlings that aren't roly poly and well developed on pasture alone will either be put into the queue for grain finishing or will be rejected altogether and sent to the sale barn. Grain free animals can always be grain finished, but never the other way around.

Most of the time I know when a calf is born which direction it will be heading the next year based on the history of that calf's lineage.
 
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I believe the govt had guidelines for grassfed but pretty much gave them up because of questions like hayponts...I believe only a few places were able to folllow the guidelines fully. So now any regs are from private entities.
Yes, they (the USDA) revoked the grassfed standard shortly after instituting it about two years ago.

I am pretty liberal in the application of " grassfed" as long as the plant still has some green or the seeds would not be able to be used as grain I would call it forage. Anything not normally used as grain like pumpkins would be fine by me as well.
I often plant rye in late fall for an early grazing opportunity for the early spring. I'll also no-till non-grain annuals into existing pastures to help in the summer slump.
 
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...I think we have a bit of a movement that avoids grain. I see costly pet foods advertise "Grain Free". Like somehow grain has become bad.

Hard for me to believe when the most common product in the human diet for thousands of years is wheat, suddenly 30% of the population has a self-diagnosed gluten allergy. How can that not be a fad?...
Same time period the majority of wheat is has become GMO and Roundup ready. I think it may be more of a glyphosate problem than a gluten allergy.

WWW
 
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Same time period the majority of wheat is has become GMO and Roundup ready. I think it may be more of a glyphosate problem than a gluten allergy.

WWW
There may be some experimental GMO wheat but there is none that is available for farmers to plant.
There is no Roundup Ready wheat to be had either.
I suggest you find some other myths to worry about.
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
Oh boy, I guess this topic could get testy! So, even in our family, two sons having college and tech college training, along with hands on in working in farming/other farms, organic, conventional, somewhere in between, ...well, long story short they have been taught differently and have different views on all of this.

I try to listen, learn, read, ask questions, and watch and see! Try to keep peace!?

Can we feed the world organically? That I don’t think that can work. Also, what works for one farm, may not work for another -obviously weather, soil, animals, amount of land available-what was done on the land previously,...so many factors!

We are trying to learn to raise animals in a healthy way and to get them to reproduce and grow to healthy weights. We need to learn a great deal, and hopefully never stop learning!
 

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Discussion Starter · #31 ·
Maybe, before the family gets together again, you can digest this and be better prepared to discuss this topic:
https://gmoanswers.com/

Good luck!
Haypoint and Allen,

Exactly my point!

Thanks 4 saying what I was trying to say!

And, Haypoint-I will accept. “Luck!”

My dad always says, you can have skill and you can also have luck, ...but he was referring more to when he was teaching me as a kid to play cards, not in how to raise a good crop!

I will check that link out. I need to understand GMOs better!

Thanks!
 

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I have to show people that ask why we don't grass finish anymore how little that means. I show them soy hull pellets that you can feed to your heart's content and still legally label it grass fed/finished, then cattle feed that you can't feed and label grass finished(well unless it endangers the health of the animal by the current guidelines not to supplement with grain, then you can feed it). There is a huge profit margin increase in labeling. And the label often doesn't mean what the consumer thinks it does. I am too cantankerous to play those games. I really don't do retail sales, anymore. If you want to buy lamb or beef, you can buy it on the hoof and come pick it up. Otherwise, I'll just carry it to a graded auction and wait for the check to come in the mail.
 
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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
Agreed though we aren’t that far yet! Growing the herd and trying to learn!

But, with that said know as Haypoint Hiro and others point out about labeling and market preferences or rather brainwashing . Well, ?

You can’t please everyone-that’s a no brainer

So ours have eaten pumpkins, and some bakery buns, so I guess if we ever label or advertise or sell some of thes, we will have to say,...may have consumed one pumpkin or so every fall that was grown on our land,...& several bakery bins that we over bought and some grandma gave for the cows,... as a treat 4 times a year,..!
 

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I see someone in the goat section that had some third cutting alfalfa that tested at 20% protein. If you could maintain lush pastures and then feed 20% protein hay, I think you could produce some eatable grass fed beef. Here in Michigan, this summer was either too dry or too wet to make much quality hay. The price for quality alfalfa is steep.
 

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Grain is about energy. Grain free is the journey to find things to replace that energy.
You don't need the super hot dairy hay. Well made and stored first crop alfalfa or clover will more than likely cover the protein requirements.
 

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Discussion Starter · #40 ·
Hay has been a challenge, both in growing and purchasing. Two different pieces of land -one, was just wild pasture that horses ran/grazed/walked on, so basically junk soil. Two-had corn on a few years ago and then idle.

We started a small alfalfa field with moderate results.
What percent of protein is a goal for beef cattle? Seems what we have tested/grown/found able to purchase was mid teens for protein15-16 %, any with around 20% was very overpriced.
 
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