Grass-fed beef is arguably healthier for the consumer, the producer, the environment, and the animal. We use the term "100% grassfed" and "grassfed" interchangeably. However, in the grocery store only meat labeled "100% grass-fed" or "grass finished" has never been fed grain in their diet.
Many cows are pastured and fed grass throughout their life, however the majority (more than 95%) are fed a mixture of grass and grain and then "finished" on corn.
What is Grass-fed Beef?
100% Grass-fed: animals that consume only grass and forage after weaning. The diet may include forage consisting of grass, forbs (legumes, brassica), cereal grain crops in the vegetative (pre-grain) state. Mineral licks and vitamin supplementation is allowed. Animals are not fed grain or grain byproducts and do have continuous access to pasture during the growing season.
When compared to feedlot meat, grass-fed beef contains more of what health conscious consumers want and less of what they don’t want. Check out the research.
- less total fat
- less saturated fat
- less cholesterol
- fewer calories
- more vitamin E
- more beta carotene
- more vitamin C
- more omega-3 fatty acids
- moreconjugated linoleic acid CLA (healthy fat)
Producers articulate the benefits when they say “I want to be in the field with my cows all day;” they appreciate a lower in-put system in which they must actively manage their soils and their grasses. In fact, many grazers consider themselves “grass farmers” instead of cattle farmers.
Grazing systems have been shown to reduce erosion, increase soil organic matter, and increase biodiversity. Check out the research.
Cows are ruminant animals whose digestive systems are designed to graze and eat grass. A grass fed animal is doing what the animal does naturally – eating grass.