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We market beef direct to the American consumer. To find out more about our grass-fed meat business visit our sister Web site at:
Making it on Grass!
The "Right" Type
100% Forage-Raised Cattle
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Myths and Madness, and Too Much Fat
Raising beef for the American consumer is the fundamental basis for the cattle business. All of the cattle born (except for those that die prematurely) end up as food. Therefore, as producers we must keep the consumer in mind in our management practices.
But it is a well-documented fact that of the genetic traits we can measure, the most important in terms of economics for the cattleman are, in order of importance, fertility, a live calf, mothering ability, growth, and carcass characteristics. (Carcass characteristics are the least important!)
Most of the beef raised in America can be a good eating experience. But there are pitfalls along the way. Some problems stem from genetics. Some problems are due to improper aging. Most of the problems are due to poor cattle handling practices leading up to the moment of slaughter. Intramuscular fat, a current fad that's real hot now, has very little to do with a successful eating experience.
Yes, we know that intramuscular fat is all the rage. It's believed to be the latest sure fire way for success. The other is black hair. The importance of these highly sought after features is supported by myths. And the myths are being taught as gospel by the Great Cattlemen of our era, university educators (Extension), and cattle buyers at the sale barns. Yet hair color and intramuscular fat have little if anything to do with eating experience and virtually nothing to do with economics, unless we are basing our marketing practices on "the greater fool theory."
I can hear it now. Many folks who've read to this point will be saying, "These guys are nuts! They don't know nuttin." Of course, you're not like them. But if you're wondering if there is any scientific backup to this "observation," how about taking a gander at The Meat Tenderness Debate? Yeah, click on that link and see what you think. Then come back and let's check out this next page titled:
This report on The Eating Quality of Herefords is not a scientific study. It just reports what some folks experienced when they were eating beef products in a taste comparison competition. But it illustrates that instead of being afraid of our product, we can be proud of our product. And, if we use good management practices, our product, far more often than not, will be a great eating experience. Sure, it won't always be tender, flavorful, and/or juicy, even when it's loaded with gobs of intramuscular fat. That's just the way beef is. But it can usually be a good, if not a great, eating experience
So, when you look for genetic inputs for your cattle operation. Seek out the type (not particularly the breed) of cattle that will work in your environment and under your management practices. And focus on the genetic traits that you can measure in terms of their economic importance to your bottom line.
It can also be said that maybe you should buy bulls from folks who raise them under the same kind of management and environmental practices you are utilizing.
That's right, if you want to get away from unnecessary subsidies, how can you do that if the bulls you use came from highly subsidized environments?