Grass-fed cattle yield more meat that tastes and contains less fat. Raising cattle on grass is also more cost-productive than feeding them with livestock grains that are full of growth hormones. Beef from grass-fed cattle are more tender, too. Below are some of the ways on how to raise grass-fed cattle.
- Compared to cattle that are fed grains, grass-fed cattle must be raised on a large pasture. There is also more work involved when raising cattle on grass so you should be prepared to work harder when you want to raise grass-fed cattle.
- Your pasture should be planted with legumes and grass. Legumes fix the nitrogen levels in the soil and will provide more calcium, magnesium and protein that the cattle will need while the grass will prevent the cattle from getting bloated from eating the legumes. Most pastures in southern United States are planted with landino clover and orchard grass. Cows should be allowed to graze in different sections of the pasture at different times to encourage new growth after the grass and the legumes have been consumed in one section.
- In the winter, the cattle should be fed hay. If you do not have your own hay and have to buy make sure that you check the bales for dryness. Damp hay will encourage mold growth which will be bad for the cattle. Smell the hay to find out whether it smells fresh and dry. You will be able to tell the difference between freshly dried hay and one that is damp, moldy and old. Make sure that you check from deep within the bale as some sellers mix the hay for profit. For most cattle farmers, they prefer to grow their own hay to ensure the quality of the grass that their cattle will feed on during the winter months.
- Follow the pattern for raising grass-fed cattle. The calves should be weaned when they are five to seven months old and start them on grass one month before the cold season starts. In the winter, the cattle should be fed hay and Vitamin A supplement and then grass when the summer season starts. The following winter, the cattle should be put on hay once again before allowing them to graze in the pasture to fatten them. Be sure that the cattle have access to clean water and they are given mineral and salt blocks. Ensure that your cattle is given the right amount of vitamins and minerals, especially magnesium to prevent them from suffering grass tetany.
- Choose the right breed of cattle that you will raise on grass. Some of the breeds that are good are the Red and Black Angus, Wagyu, Short Horn, Hereford, Charolais, Simmenthal and Saler. Those who love to eat steaks will know the difference right away when they have to choose between beef from grain-fed and grass-fed cattle.
Choose the right type of grass and legumes that will give your cattle the right balance of nutrients and minerals to make them healthy and produce beef that is lean, tender and tasty. The pasture land should have crop rotation to condition the soil. And finally, choose the right breed of cattle that grow best on grass to yield more pounds of top-quality beef.