Do you know…
the difference between grain-finished and grass-finished beef
? Typically most cows have eaten grass for the majority of their lives, however the last 90-160 days of the animals’ diet may have a greater impact than you may think…
- Grain-finished beef -
Typically the cattle will start their first 7-9 months on a diet of forage (grass, legumes and other forage) however, in the last 90- 160 days the cattle will be transferred onto a high energy ration so they gain weight in preparation of going to market. During this time several of the important nutrients in beef decline heavily due to the grain diet, such as omega-3 and CLA (conjugated linoleic acid).
Consumers are generally more accustomed to purchasing grain-finished beef products available in most supermarkets. It can be distinguished by the bright red meat with white marbling.
- Grass-finished beef -
Cattle is fed nothing outside of their natural diet of grass and other forage items that their digestive system is used to. However, as the grass-finished cattle does not grow as large as the grain-finished, the price tends to be higher due to less yield per animal, as well as the additional time out at pasture for the animals to grow to a marketable size. The meat is less marbled and often described as tasting ‘grassy’ and typically has a chewier texture. The nutritional value is much higher, however due to its texture, people often reject the meat as poor quality compared to the industry standard.
- Certified Organic Beef from Hills Food -
Grazing on grass for the majority of its life, the beef we carry from Hills Foods cattle are switched to a certified organic grain diet for only the last 60 days. This short time is not long enough to cause the same health problems found in conventional grain-finished beef so this beef retains some of the good omega 3 and CLA nutrients. As well, this diet allows the beef to contain excellent marbling of fat which gives consumers the juicy flavourful meat they desire!
Thanks to Hills Foods for this article