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Grass fed beef - healthier?
Old 03-24-2012, 01:49 PM   #1
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Grass fed beef - healthier?

I have read a lot of claims that grass fed beef is healthier than corn fed beef. Most of the time the article is by a rancher who raises grass fed beef. Are there any other sources of information, preferably done by people not involved in the beef industry, that can add light to these claims?
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Old 03-24-2012, 01:54 PM   #2
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I'm sure that some folks will bring links. It's super easy to research on the internet.

One of the many benefits of grass-fed beef is that feeding cows corn increases the Omega 6s in the meat which many folks consider unhealthy. My main problem with corn-fed cows (besides the crowded dirty feedlots) is that their digestive systems are NOT designed for a high-corn diet, and so they get ill. And the farmers feed them a bunch of antibiotics to counter the digestive problems. Just a nasty idea all around. Poor cows!

I prefer grass-fed beef because I don't have to worry about what kind of feed was given to the cow (like the kind that spreads mad-cow disease!) And I try to buy beef that has not been injected with hormones or antibiotics.

Audrey
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Old 03-24-2012, 02:30 PM   #3
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Like Audrey said, this is going to have to be decided by theoretical considerations and speculations, as no one is ever going to do a randomized controlled trial to compare the two types of feeding.
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Old 03-24-2012, 02:45 PM   #4
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When I lived in South America for a few years, all the beef was grass-fed. IMHO, the flavor was incomparably better than the beef in the US.
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Old 03-24-2012, 02:52 PM   #5
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Pigs and chickens tend to take whatever fats they are fed, and incorporate them into their flesh. OTOH cattle and other ruminants transform fats in the rumen, often PUFA to saturated fats. And so I would expect more health relevance in pork and poultry. But try to find wild raised pig- maybe jamon iberico, which you might expect to pay very well for. If you are someplace where you can shoot a wild hog and cure it yourself, you might be in for a real treat.
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Old 03-24-2012, 04:01 PM   #6
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If you are someplace where you can shoot a wild hog and cure it yourself, you might be in for a real treat.
I might at some point go to the trouble of driving south to a wetter climate and try just that. Although I am lead to understand that if you don't make your shot you had better have a handy tree to scurry up real fast...
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Old 03-24-2012, 04:27 PM   #7
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If you are someplace where you can shoot a wild hog and cure it yourself, you might be in for a real treat.
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Old 03-24-2012, 04:43 PM   #8
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Seems like our Mr Wahoo has a finger in every pie.
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Old 03-24-2012, 05:36 PM   #9
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Note, from what I understand, all beef is grass-fed for a portion it's life. Corn- fed cattle are fed corn for just a period before slaughter (weeks to months).
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Old 03-24-2012, 05:51 PM   #10
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Here is a pretty good Wiki on commercial feeding systems in the US. Mostly, feeder cattle go from cow/calf pasture or range onto the feedlot where the majority of their diet is grain, soybeans, etc, at the end of their first fall- so well short of one year old, and usually 1/2 to a bit more of of their final market weight.

Cattle feeding - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Old 03-24-2012, 08:47 PM   #11
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Here are a couple:

The Differences Between Grass-Fed Beef and Grain-Fed Beef | Mark's Daily Apple

Grass-fed vs. conventional meat: it’s not black or white
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Old 03-24-2012, 09:23 PM   #12
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I'm not sure that there is a clear answer but it can sure be cheaper if you have some land. We have a tradition of buying of young steer every year for a cost of approximately $30 per head. We feed him grass and hay for around 18 months, and then take him to the local butcher shop. Our family always comes up with creative names for the steers like....

Philly Cheese Steak
Beef Patty
Chucky
SirLoin
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Old 03-24-2012, 10:12 PM   #13
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I'm not sure that there is a clear answer but it can sure be cheaper if you have some land. We have a tradition of buying of young steer every year for a cost of approximately $30 per head. We feed him grass and hay for around 18 months, and then take him to the local butcher shop. Our family always comes up with creative names for the steers like....

Philly Cheese Steak
Beef Patty
Chucky
SirLoin
What is the hanging weight of a beef finished like this?

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Old 03-25-2012, 07:03 AM   #14
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What is the hanging weight of a beef finished like this?

Ha
The hanging weight of the last one was 713 pounds. My wife ends up selling some of the meat to cover the 0.55$ per pound butcher cost.
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Old 03-25-2012, 08:17 AM   #15
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That's fascinating KMyer, thanks for the details. And congrats for raising your own. I would never be worried about eating internal organs, bone-in cuts, etc. of beef raised your way.

We have a couple of local growers we can buy from directly. Their meat is fabulous, but in no way is it cheap. I don't mind because to me quality meat and healthy animals is really important and I would rather support the farmers doing things "the right way" from my point of view.

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Old 03-27-2012, 12:53 PM   #16
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I have a two acre field and always thought of getting a steer but was unsure how much work was required or how much vet support is needed.

My buddy bought some grass fed beef and said he didnt like the taste, said it was too gamey.
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Old 03-27-2012, 02:39 PM   #17
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My buddy bought some grass fed beef and said he didnt like the taste, said it was too gamey.
I heard gamey-ness depends on the breed. Grass fed beef definitely tastes beefy, compared to feedlot beef you get at a supermarket for sure, but some tastes gamey than others. I was told Shorthorn beef is not gamey, and it wasn't. Angus, a bit gamey.
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