The focus of this issue is forage-fed beef production. Consumer demand for forage-finished beef as opposed to corn-fed beef, which are raised in feedlots, has been growing nationwide. Because of the year-round warm climate, Louisiana is uniquely positioned to grow cattle on pastures until ready for market. Scientists conducted studies to assess the feasibility of this economic development opportunity. Read the results. 28 pages
In a forage-fed beef operation, cattle are fed grass and forage for their lifetime, with the exception of milk consumed prior to weaning. Animals are not fed grain or grain by products and have continuous access to pasture during the growing season.
Forage-fed and grain-fed beef differ in a number of qualities, including their fat content. Meat from forage-fed cattle is lower in total fat, and if the meat is very lean, it can have one third the fat as beef from grain-fed animals.
Much of the beef produced and sold in the U.S. before World War II was from grass- or limited-grain-fed cattle. Development of the modern large-scale cattle feeding industry in the 1950s and 1960s increased supplies of grain-fed beef.
News from the Office of International Programs
A “market maker” is usually an individual or a firm ready to buy and sell stock on a regular basis at a publicly quoted price. This person helps buyers and sellers connect so as to “make” the market.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention, Escherichia coli (E. coli) are a large and diverse group of bacteria. Most of them are harmless and naturally found in the human intestinal tract, but others can be deadly.
The study of meat allows for the identification of animals, production systems or processing techniques that result in desired properties. Among the desired attributes of meat, tenderness is the most important palatability trait to consumers.
This special issue of Louisiana Agriculture focuses on forage-fed beef management and production. AgCenter scientists, extension specialists and professors work on many aspects of the cattle industry to bring our clientele the most up-to-date knowledge and operating procedures to support their needs.
Prior to what has become standard practice of feeding grain to beef cattle for finishing, grass finishing was the conventional method for producing cattle for beef.
Consumer interest in the benefits of forage-finished beef has led to an increased demand for this product.
A market for forage-fed beef exists in the United States. Research has shown that one-third to one half of consumers prefer the taste of forage-fed beef to grain-fed beef.
News from the LSU AgCenter
Grass-fed beef production has recently emerged in the United States as an alternative to conventional feedlot beef, although it still represents a very small percentage of U.S. beef produced.
News from the LSU College of Agriculture
A wide range of pasture systems can be used to produce forage-fed beef. Each system results in different levels of productivity, profitability and sustainability out comes.
Demand for forage-finished over grain-finished beef is rapidly growing because of its benefits for human health and the environment.