Grass Finished Beef Guidelines
I. Red Poll Grass Finished Beef is defined as:
– Grass finished products from cattle that have eaten nothing but their mother’s milk, fresh grass or grass-type hay (forage), and vitamin-mineral supplements from birth to harvest.
II. The three “why’s” in Grass Finished Red Poll Beef
A. Why consider Red Poll Cattle?
– Red Polls have been waiting to move to the forefront of the cattle industry, and now is the time. These cattle were developed in England and recognized as a breed in 1846. They are designed to be dual purpose milk and meat producers. The Red Poll breed offers remarkable genetic consistency, resulting from centuries of pure breeding and selection. Red Polls are efficient and useful cattle.
Uniformly red in color and polled (no horns), they are known for the following:
– calving ease
– mothering ability
– rapid calf weight gain
– grass/forage efficiency
– gentle disposition
– well-muscled carcass with little fat cover
– genetic consistency
B. Why do I want to produce Grass Finished Red Poll Beef?
– Because of their genetic consistency in the breed, the Red Poll is the perfect ruminant (four stomachs) to produce grass finished beef for today’s wellness consumer. A farmer/rancher has the potential to make more profit and reduce overhead cost per head by finishing cattle on grass (forage) than on high energy corn or cereal grains. Furthermore, grazing cattle allows for an even distribution of animal waste across the land in the form of minerals, organic fertilizers, and
C. Why do I want to purchase Grass Finished Beef?
– Today’s beef consumers are more knowledgeable than ever about health issues regarding beef and demands the very best product for their families to enjoy. Grass finished beef has many benefits.
Cattle are grown in their natural surroundings consisting of a slow-paced and low stress environment. With such a high quality of health, treatment with antibiotics and other drugs is less likely.
Additionally, beef from grass finished cattle is as much as 42% leaner.
There are certain cuts of beef that are as lean as poultry and can be as tender as grain finished cattle. Finally, grass finished beef is lower in total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and calories than feed lot grain fed beef. There is more vitamin E, beta-carotene, vitamin C, and a number of health-promoting fats, including omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linolenic acid (CLA) than traditional grain finished beef.
III. What the Grass Finished Red Poll Producers know that you need to know.
– New market trends for the wellness consumers have returned to what Red Poll breeders have consistently strived to produce since before feed lots became the norm in the cattle industry. The beef animal is designed to eat grass (forage), and a moderate frame grass finished Red Poll steer eating high quality forages can be
harvested in approximately two years. This can be done anytime of the year by developing a program on the producer’s farm or ranch to fit their conditions. Raising cattle on pasture requires extensive knowledge and much skill from the producer to grow succulent and tender cuts of beef. For example, steers must gain at least 1.7 pounds of body weight daily throughout their life to achieve the
desired beef quality. Since cattle are fed high quality grasses and legumes up to harvest, it is all the more important that healthy soil and careful pasture management be maintained to maximize plant growth. Furthermore, scientific advances in DNA testing for gene markers will allow Red Poll breeders to develop more consistency in their herds for tenderness, marbling, and feed efficiency. Striving towards these goals and using new and emerging technologies will enable producers to successfully develop herds that meet the demands of high quality beef for wellness consumers. Successful grass finished beef producers will be those that can produce high quality forage for year round feeding.
IV. Grass Finished Beef Directory
Check our directory for a Grass Finished Red Poll producer near you. Give them a call and become a partner in either purchasing breeding stock or harvested quality Red Poll Grass Finished beef. This is a win-win situation for everyone: the consumer, local communities, breeders, and the environment.