Livestock producers have been keeping track of consumer trends and many of them have become vocal advocates about raising grass fed beef cattle. Letting these docile animals graze in fresh, green pasturelands is a healthy and productive method of working in harmony with nature. Fresh forage and sweet, green grasses are the ideal food sources for beef cattle.
Cattle that have been fed in this manner are less likely to become ill or contract a disease and their weight gain is compatible with those that are fed grains and other supplements. Letting a herd of cattle graze and forage for tasty greens in the open pastures is a sure way to produce healthy and heavily muscled animals.
With more and more of the health conscious public veering away from artificial additives and chemicals, the market has become a hot spot for ranchers and owners who have been raising grass fed beef cattle to sell. Many of the top livestock producers are eager to show that they have been listening to the concerns of the public. They can document that their animals have been given only natural grasses to eat and no grains or other supplements.
Due to the careful maintenance and management of these herds, the cows and steers have matured into healthy, prime livestock that will fetch top dollar at market. Buyers can purchase these naturally fed animals and they will be able to let the consumers know that this quality meat is far superior in taste and texture.
In order to be sold with a description like “grass fed cattle”, any livestock must have an owner or agent present who will be willing to sign an affidavit attesting to this fact. This is to document with a sworn statement that the “grass fed cattle” have not been given any enhancers, steroids, grains or other unallowable products.
If a rancher has been raising grass fed beef cattle and gives the animals an antibiotic or food supplement at any time then they have forfeited the right to include the words “grass fed” in the livestock description. There are some substantial penalties that can be meted out if anyone attempts to fraudulently sell grain fed beef for the higher paying “grass fed” prices.
These well cared for, properly nourished cattle can command some top dollars on the open market. Grain fed livestock saves a good deal of money in food costs during the 1-2 years it takes for them to reach maturity. There are a few owners who try to demand even higher prices than the set rate but the beef market is stable and current prices have little variation on the day. These cows and steers will have mature weights of 800-1300 pounds. Although they eat only forage material, a 1200-pound cow will graze through about 5 tons of greens in just one year. Considering the amount of grass eaten, an 800-pound cow could be considered very weight conscious.
When consumers buy grass fed beef, they expect a lean and healthy protein source. Most of the meat is very lean with rich flavor and good taste. There are a few cattle breeds that can still put some fat on their frames even on this restricted diet. The fat that occurs on cows raised on grasses is healthier than the fat marbling that is usually present in grain fed cattle.