Raising the right size for better efficiency and profit for small farms
Raised on Pasture
All of our herd is raised only on grazing our pastures and winter hay we produce ourself. We want our cattle to have the genetics to be able to produce quality beef and good weight just from pasture grazing and winter hay. That is an economic requirement for us, however we believe that cattle being slaughtered for beef need to have additional feed later in life to help produce the marbling needed for better taste. We do not raise any of our herd for us to process.
Originally, we had an article on this website related to focusing on raising pasture-fed beef and the healthy benefit of that objective. However, when we processed one of our steers that had been raised as pasture-fed, we were not happy with the taste of the beef. It tasted bland and little flavor. We did some searches on the Internet of “bland ground beef”. We found several articles that indicated that is common with pasture-fed beef. The reason was, there is less fat when a steer is only pasture-fed. We also found several books saying pasture-fed beef needs to be cooked differently and discussed how to cook pasture-fed beef.
The problem seems to be that fat is what gives beef much flavor that people like and when the amount of fat, or marbling, the flavor is lost. The US government spent 60 years telling people that saturated fat was bad for your health and we should have a low-fat diet. So people started looking for lean beef and beef that came from cattle that had not been fed grain to help produce marbling.
However, look at the way the government graded beef. It is by the amount of marbling in the beef. Below are the grading criteria the USDA uses.
Prime grade Image of Prime Label is produced from young, well-fed beef cattle. It has abundant marbling and is generally sold in restaurants and hotels. Prime roasts and steaks are excellent for dry-heat cooking (broiling, roasting, or grilling).
Choice grade Image of Choice Label is high quality, but has less marbling than Prime. Choice roasts and steaks from the loin and rib will be very tender, juicy, and flavorful and are, like Prime, suited to dry-heat cooking. Many of the less tender cuts, such as those from the rump, round, and blade chuck, can also be cooked with dry heat if not overcooked. Such cuts will be most tender if "braised" — roasted, or simmered with a small amount of liquid in a tightly covered pan.
Select grade Image of Select Label is very uniform in quality and normally leaner than the higher grades. It is fairly tender, but, because it has less marbling, it may lack some of the juiciness and flavor of the higher grades. Only the tender cuts (loin, rib, sirloin) should be cooked with dry heat. Other cuts should be marinated before cooking or braised to obtain maximum tenderness and flavor.
Here is a summary of a great book that describes what the US government did to mislead the people about saturated fat. Below are the first two paragraphs of the article. The full article can be seen at“The Big Fat Surprise”.
New York Times bestseller book
The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet
by Nina Teicholz (Author)
In The Big Fat Surprise, investigative journalist Nina Teicholz reveals the unthinkable: that everything we thought we knew about dietary fat is wrong. She documents how the low-fat nutrition advice of the past sixty years has amounted to a vast uncontrolled experiment on the entire population, with disastrous consequences for our health.
For decades, we have been told that the best possible diet involves cutting back on fat, especially saturated fat, and that if we are not getting healthier or thinner it must be because we are not trying hard enough. But what if the low-fat diet is itself the problem? What if the very foods we’ve been denying ourselves—the creamy cheeses, the sizzling steaks—are themselves the key to reversing the epidemics of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease?