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Old 11-04-2010, 04:59 PM   #1
John Densmore
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Finished on Grain?

Hi All,
I've looked into going with grass fed beef for my choice of meats. But, I've noticed that the local farms in the area all state that the cows are finished on grains. Is this normal in the grass fed beef industry? If not, should I keep looking for a place that only does grass feeding?

Thanks
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Old 11-04-2010, 05:05 PM   #2
Brian O'Laughlin
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Re: Finished on Grain?

I don't think it's normal.

Here's where I get some of mine: http://www.marinsunfarms.com/index.html

No grains at all.
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Old 11-04-2010, 05:07 PM   #3
Travis Rask
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Re: Finished on Grain?

Some places will let you request a strict GF diet from beginning to end.
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Old 11-04-2010, 05:10 PM   #4
Katherine Derbyshire
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Re: Finished on Grain?

Keep looking. Even the least natural feed lot cows can usually say they're "grass fed" for some part of the animal's life. Grain finishing is what changes the fatty acid profile.

What you want (ideally) is something like this:
http://www.crown-s-ranch.com/cattle/cattle.html (WFS)
(My affiliate has a relationship with Crown S Ranch. I personally do not.)

Katherine
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Old 11-04-2010, 05:11 PM   #5
John Densmore
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Re: Finished on Grain?

Is there any benefit of "grass fed but finished on grains" versus the plain stuff I would get I the supermarket?
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Old 11-04-2010, 05:12 PM   #6
John Densmore
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Re: Finished on Grain?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Katherine Derbyshire View Post
Keep looking. Even the least natural feed lot cows can usually say they're "grass fed" for some part of the animal's life. Grain finishing is what changes the fatty acid profile.

What you want (ideally) is something like this:
http://www.crown-s-ranch.com/cattle/cattle.html (WFS)
(My affiliate has a relationship with Crown S Ranch. I personally do not.)

Katherine
Thanks, you answered my question before I could finish typing.
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Old 11-04-2010, 05:36 PM   #7
Eric Montgomery
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Re: Finished on Grain?

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Originally Posted by John Densmore View Post
Is there any benefit of "grass fed but finished on grains" versus the plain stuff I would get I the supermarket?
I guess partially grass fed is better than 100% grain fed, but according to several studies I've seen it's more important to finish them on grass. Doing so helps with the fatty acid profile and reduces the prevalence of E.coli bacteria in the cow's digestive tract.

I think Pollan talked about that in one of his scenes in Food Inc...apparently it only take a few days of grass finishing to greatly reduce E.coli concentration, which just makes it maddening that that's not the norm.

So I guess:

100% grass fed > grain fed and grass finished > grass fed and grain finished > 100% grain fed.
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Old 11-04-2010, 05:50 PM   #8
Katherine Derbyshire
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Re: Finished on Grain?

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Originally Posted by Eric Montgomery View Post
100% grass fed > grain fed and grass finished > grass fed and grain finished > 100% grain fed.
No cow is likely to be 100% grain fed. Even those destined for feed lots are generally kept with their mothers until they are weaned. Their mothers are typically pastured -- the long-term health of breeding stock matters a lot more than the long-term health of stock destined for slaughter -- and so the calves eat some combination of grass and milk until they're shipped off to the feed lot.

And for this reason, almost all cows are grass fed at some point in their lives, and "grass fed, grain finished" is a nutritionally meaningless description.

Katherine
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Old 11-04-2010, 06:29 PM   #9
Jason Wallis
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Re: Finished on Grain?

Ours are finished on grain, but still kept in a grass pasture. i.e... They eat the grain that is offered, then graze on grass for the rest of the day. I don't know how this affects the fat profile, but it tastes good.
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Old 11-04-2010, 06:51 PM   #10
Craig Rogers
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Re: Finished on Grain?

grain finished is pretty common. Not the best for you, but pretty common here, even at the farmers market.
I know a farm here will do an all grass fed cow for you if you request, but you have to buy the whole cow. They will butcher it for you (even let you come and pick which one you want it to be) but you have to buy it all.
It is not a bad deal if you have storage, or enough people to go in.
Anyone in Nashville TN area up for it?
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