Sep 17, 2014
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100% Grass-Fed

RSS By: Randy Kuhn, Beef Today

Our family farming history began with my great-great-... (nine generations ago) grandfather Johannes. He, his wife and three children left Saxony, Germany, on April 20, 1734, aboard the ship St. Andrew, mastered by Capt. John Stedman. They landed at Philadelphia on Sept. 22 and eventually settled our family’s first "New World" farm near Society Run in Frederick Township, Montgomery County, Pa., in 1743. Pig farming was our family’s specialty until the mid 1950s. A lot has changed since then. Our BQA cow–calf operation includes 100% grass-fed registered Red Angus, Hereford and purebred Beefalo; 30 to 35 pastured Duroc and Spot pigs; 100 Freedom Ranger broilers; and 90 Golden Comet and Buff Orpington layers. We organically maintain 80 acres, comprising 15 acres in rotational pastures, 15 acres in tillable cropland, and alfalfa/mixed grass hay on the balance. We have never used chemical pesticides or herbicides on our pastures or hay fields. We are not a "certified" organic farming operation, but we prefer the natural/organic approach to help promote sustainability.

Solar v.s. Diesel Powered Cattle?

Jun 09, 2014

What are "solar powered cattle"?  Solar Powered Cattle are Beefers that are raised on a non-grain diet and raised completely outdoors from birth to butchering on nothing but a 100% Grass/forage based diet.  They are low input and high output cattle that will far out live & out produce their grain fed & confinement produced distant relative cattle.


The opposite of Solar Powered Cattle would be Fossil Fueled or Diesel Powered Cattle.  Why because it costs a lot more to raise cattle on grain that utilizes a lot of fossil fueled equipment & an obscene amount of chemicals than on grass which uses you to move them from one pasture to another.

Do you think it is natural for cattle to eat grains such as corn & soy?  I’ll make it easy for you, No it is not!  Cattle were not designed to eat corn because their systems can not digest corn in grain form or in a silage form.  Research is proving that the health concerns long associated with eating beef result not from eating beef, but rather from eating corn-fed beef. 

During World War II farmers were producing more corn than the American population was consuming and so, started feeding the surplus corn to cattle. They soon found that cows eating corn fattened up much quicker than cows eating grass.  Seventy-five years ago it took a cow four to five years to reach a slaughter weight of 1,200 pounds.  Today it takes 13-15 months, thanks to corn, antibiotics, growth hormones and protein supplements

But corn consumption in cattle causes many problems, because quite simply, cattle were never meant to consume corn.  Cattle on pasture have Ph neutral (Ph of 7) stomachs.  A corn diet dangerously raises the acid level in the cow’s stomach creating health conditions such as acidosis, necessitating medications and antibiotics which create prime conditions for the existence of E. Coli

The very dangerous strain of E. Coli 0157:H7 was isolated in the 1980’s and arose because cattle were being fed grain and not their natural diet of grass. When we hear of the all-too-common re-calls of beef because of E. Coli contamination it is because of the animal’s grain-fed diet

Feeding cattle on corn fundamentally changes the meat they produce, greatly increasing levels of unhealthy Omega-6 fatty acids and decreasing levels of healthy Omega-3 fatty acids.  This change greatly impacts the healthiness of meat for human consumption.

When cattle are 100% Grass-fed or raised on pasture, the ratio of Omega-3 to Omega-6 is exactly where it should be for a healthy animal and therefore a healthy human eating that animal.  Since cattle cannot properly process grains, when they are corn fed, the ratio of Omega-3 and Omega-6 is completely opposite of what is natural.  Corn-fed cattle have 15%-50% less Omega-3 fatty acids in their meat than grass fed cattle creating meat that is much less healthy of us to consume.

Corn provides a cheap means of feeding a large number of cattle in a feedlot situation.  Although this feedlot diet is economically beneficial, it causes severe health problems in the cattle. The prior mentioned digestive problems and their dangerous outcomes beg the question: is it ethical to raise cattle on a corn-based diet? Although we will never be able to conclude whether animals feel emotions, such as happiness, we do know they experience pain and science has shown that a corn based feedlot diet causes pain in cattle.

If scientific research shows that a corn-based diet is inhumane, why does this practice continue? The answer lies in the government policies that surround the production of corn in the United States. These policies require that farmers continuously increase production in order to make even the slightest profit. Thus these government regulations encourage the overproduction of corn. This corn must go somewhere and industry has found a way to incorporate it into traditionally corn free products, including corn-fed beef. Since the over production of corn originated from government regulations, it may appear that fixing this problem may also have to originate from government policy.

However, this is not necessarily the case.  As consumers, Americans can vote with their wallet by refusing to buy corn fed beef and supporting 100% Grass-fed cattle farms, we can point out that we do not support the inhumane production of meats.  If we regain contact with the way our food is produced, we can help improve the health of the animals we eat, our health, and the health of the environment.

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COMMENTS (2 Comments)

owlhoot - Catawissa, MO
I use limited grain in my cattle. I agree that grass fed is a good idea, but with fescue endophyte I know the cattle a having problems. Loosing the tail swish, keeping winter coats year round, standing in water to cool down and poor wt gain. Wish I could get rid of the stuff. All I can do is mitigate the problem. Regrettably there is no panacea.
1:26 PM Jun 10th
kokomo joe
While your ideas for producing beef for consumption in this country and for export are thought provoking, unfortunately they aren't applicable to this century. Beef consumption will likely decline due to the cost of the end product, based mainly on the cost of land to produce the beef and the high prices for corn and soybeans that compete for available acreages. Beef can be produced on family farms without the negatives you present. Confinement operations are another matter.
8:33 PM Jun 9th
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