Pasture-raised

From WikiMD

Pasture raised cattle
Pasture raised cattle

Pasture raised meat is a type of growing the animals used in the production of meats where the animals are fed grass, and other types of forage as opposed to grain-fed.

Benefits

It is considered to be a healthier way to raise the animals as the meat from these animals is leaner, and healthier. The term can apply for cattle and other larger animals raised for meat or for poultry. Other names used include free range, cage free, grass fed etc. that mean somewhat similarly.

Livestock grazing
Livestock grazing

Grass based production of livestock

Grass-based production relies on animals depending on pasture or rangeland to supply the nutritional needs such as protein and energy requirements of livestock. As opposed to the close confinement and feedlot-finishing during most or all of an animal’s lifetime seen in grain-fed livestock, the pasture-raised livestock have their grazing and forage feeding replace high grain diets.

Rotational grazing

The producer focuses on pasture plant and soil management, and proper stocking density and rotational grazing. "An acceptable level of production can be attained as the ecological connections between ruminants, the soil, and the pasture plants is naturally maintained. Pasture-based animal agriculture promotes environmental stewardship and community development owing to the following management practices:

  • Use of off-farm inputs, such as diesel, fertilizer, and purchased feed, are minimized.
  • Use of toxic substances, such as herbicides and soluble fertilizers, is minimized or sometimes eliminated.
  • Limited tillage and use of perennial pastures, which store carbon in the soil while building soil organic matter, conserves soil.
  • Water and energy resources are conserved through monitoring and appropriate technologies, such as irrigation monitoring, solar and wind technologies, and biofuel development and use, where applicable.
  • Proper plant and animal genetics, such as locally-adapted pasture grasses and low-maintenance animals, are selected.
  • Planned grazing systems that favor grass growth contribute to biological diversity.
  • Marketing food to local communities, reducing the distance food travels from farm to plate, provisions the community with better, fresher food.
  • The development of local processing plants is fostered, which adds value to local animal products while providing employment and economic development.
  • A management philosophy is developed that values health in people, animals, plants, and soil.
Grass fed beef
Grass fed beef

What is the difference between grass fed and grass finished?

Grass fed means the animal was fed solely on grass and hay. Grass finished is a term used to indicate that a beef animal has grown fast enough on the pasture to create inter-muscular marbling. This marbling makes the meat more juicy and flavorful but not more tender. Grass finished animals will typically grade High Select or Low Choice under the USDA Grading System

Also see grain-fed


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