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Title: GRASS FED BEEF

Author
item Neel, James - Jim
item Fedders, James

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/15/2005
Publication Date: 3/22/2005
Citation: Neel, J.P., Fedders, J.M. 2005. Grass fed beef. Appalachian Grazing Conference "Foraging for Profits", Lakeview Resort, Morgantown, WV, March 22-24, 2005, CD-ROM.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The rumen is an integral part of the digestive tract that enables utilization of high-fiber feedstuffs such as grass and other forages. High quality forages can provide adequate energy and protein for growing and finishing beef. However, grain-feeding has become the standard method of finishing cattle in the United States. Grain-based finishing systems allow much greater management control over diet quality and quantity than pasture-based beef finishing systems. Pasture-based systems have the advantage of lower input costs and the potential for higher net producer profit. In addition, health conscious consumers increasingly are interested in lean, beef products of the type that can be produced from a forage-based diet. The growing demand for grass-fed lean beef is currently being met, in part, through imported products. Past research has shown high quality, consumer-acceptable, pasture-finished beef can be produced in the U.S., but actual production systems that deliver a consistent product are limited. Ongoing research into the development of pasture-based beef production systems is being conducted as a cooperative project among USDA-ARS, West Virginia University, Virginia Tech, and the University of Georgia. This multi-year, multi-location effort determined the influence of winterfeeding practices on subsequent pasture performance, carcass characteristics and consumer acceptance. We present knowledge from completed and ongoing research efforts concerning forage and animal management impacts on resultant pasture-fed beef production and composition.