Field versus Feedlot - We'll take the Field every time!
At M4-D Ranch, it is our heartfelt belief that cattle should eat grass their entire lifecycle. Cattle are herd animals and have personalities - ours certainly do! We believe cattle should be treated humanely, should have sun and shelter, clean water and plenty of room to roam and graze. Dave always says that happy cows are healthy cows!
Cattle were not meant to eat or digest corn (or any of the many other things they receive in feedlots) just so they can gain weight quicker and be sent to market earlier at a heavier weight with more fat. Depending on genetics and other factors, the cattle breeds we raise reach processing weight between the ages of 20-26 months on average. Cattle fed out in feedlots are usually processed at 14 months of age due to the rapid weight gain put on during the feedlot process.
If you have been browsing this website, you probably already know that grass-fed beef is lower in saturated fat and contains more of the proper ratio of essential fatty acids (Omega 3 and Omega 6). Not only is the beef from grass-fed cattle healthier for us to eat, cattle raised only on pasture are easier on the environment than cattle raised in feedlots. The run-off alone from feedlots, laden with hormones and antibiotics, is often classified as a hazardous waste and collected in catch basins. It is the cattle in feedlots that are producing the excess methane that we hear so often about being associated with the greenhouse effect.
Our intent here is to provide you with additional information that you can review to become better educated about the impact caused by the mass-produced beef available throughout grocery stores in America. We hear almost weekly in the news about another recall of a food product because of some bacteria or other contamination.
It is imperative that we educate ourselves - if we want to truly provide our bodies with nourishment, then we must pay attention to the entire process undertaken to get our food to the table. Dave and I are always trying to remind the girls that sunshine foods are the best foods you can get and we believe this is true - the closer the food product is to its most natural state, the healthier for us it will be.
What is a Feedlot or CAFO?- Wikipedia
Cactus Feeders- Be sure to take the virtual tour - one of the largest feedlots around - with a capacity of 520,000 head across 9 feedyards in Texas and Kansas
Beef Feedlot Systems Manual- Iowa State University Extension
Establishing the Feedlot- New South Wales Department of Primary Industries - this info illustrates that the pollution aspect of feedlots should be a world-wide concern
USDA - APHIS- Animal Health Monitoring and Surveillance
Natural Resources Defense Council- information on how states fail to prevent pollution from livestock waste
Going Grass-fed- Sierra Club website
Grass-fed Beef - Solution or Diverson?- Sierra Club website