From beginning to end our cattle dine exclusively on grasses and hay, which is dried and baled grass. They never eat grain. We feed mineral and salt supplements that are essential to the animals’ welfare. That’s all.
Since 2016 we have grazed cattle for Ozark Pasture Beef on our pastures. Grazing cattle strengthens our pastures. As the cattle eat down the grasses it allows sunlight to reach the soils and permits the dormant seedbed to germinate. As a result we are experiencing greater plant diversity in our pastures, which, in turn, enhances their nutritional quality when the cattle return to graze again weeks later.
Feeding cattle grain is a very recent practice, having originated in the US in the 1940s as a way to utilize excess corn. Like a candy bar diet would us, grain fed cattle fatten quickly. But cattle don’t naturally eat grains. As ruminants they have developed a unique three-stomach digestive system designed to break down fiberous grasses into their nutritional components. Eating grains throws off the ph levels of their stomachs, potentially making them ill. At grain feedlots antibiotics are routinely fed the cattle to combat this.
It takes fewer than 90 days of grain feeding for the effects to show up in cattle. Studies show that 100% grass fed beef is healthier than grain fed beef. It is leaner. It has higher levels of good-for-us Omega 3 fatty acids and CLA. It is also richer in vitamins and minerals.
So we raise our cattle exclusively on grass because it results in healthier humans and healthier cattle. One other benefit, the beef has a fuller, richer flavor that is missing from conventionally raised grain fed beef. It’s what “farming in good taste” is all about.