Poore, Grass-fed beef conference Powerpoint

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Making Sense of Grass-fed Beef
Matthew H. Poore, PhD
Extension Ruminant Nutritionist
Department of Animal Science
North Carolina State University
Beef Cattle Production Cycle
Cow-Calf Production
Calf Weaning
(on farm)
Replacement Heifer Development
Stocker cattle production (500 to 800 lbs)
Feedlot phase (up to 1200 to 1400 lbs)
800
700
600
500
Indices of Prices Paid for Farm Inputs,
1/2005 - 6/2009. 1990-92 = 100
Feed Grains (Change + 94%)
Hay & Forages (Change + 38%)
Nitrogen (Change + 66%)
Potash & Phosphate (Change + 140%)
Diesel (Change 0%)
400
300
200
100
0
Jan-05
Jul-05
Jan-06
Jul-06
Jan-07
Jul-07
Jan-08
Jul-08
Jan-09
Lasting changes in RELATIVE prices drive
changes in production systems
GEOFF BENSON, ARE, NCSU
3
Target Market
What do consumers want?

“Conventional freezer beef”
 “Natural”
 “Produced
Without Hormones or Antibiotics
 “Lean”
 “Local”
 “Pasture-fed”
only – ”Grass (Forage) Fed”
 Limited grain
 Organic
 Forage
Don’t slam your neighbor to try to
develop your market!
 Beef
in general is a very safe food
 Consumer preferences will allow you
to develop your market
 Promote the positive aspects of your
product
 Don’t resort to misinforming the
consumer about the safety of
conventional products
 Some
producers of grass-fed beef have told
customers that conventional beef is from
animals fed:
 Chicken
feathers
 Chewing gum/candy
 Cement
 Meal Made from Dead Animals
 Byproducts
are used, but usually in growing
programs
 Unusual byproducts are used at low levels
supported by research and regulatory
oversite
Conventional Beef
Finishing
phase
Confinement
feedlots
High grain levels/minimal roughage
Steroid hormone implants
Feed additives. Ionophores, antibiotics
Currently most diets are comprised of
corn, distiller's grains, and alfalfa or
corn silage as roughage
Sometimes other byproducts are fed
Work Closely With Your Processor
 Understand
expected yield and track your
own yield:
 Live
weight - 1100 lb ($1.25/lb)
 Carcass weight - 660 lb ($2.08/lb or $2.81/lb with
processing cost)
 Marketable product - 330 lb ($4.16/lb or $5.62/lb
with processing cost)
 Yours
may differ from this and only by
careful record keeping can you improve your
retail meat yield.
Grain-fed
or
Grass-fed
or
Something in between?
Characteristics of GrassFinished Beef
 Generally
leaner
 No animal byproducts
 No GMOs are used
 CLA is higher
 Omega-3 fatty acids are higher
 Generally not as tender
 Different flavor (“off-flavor”)
Nutrient Profile of Grass-Fed and
Conventional Ground Beef
Item
Conventional
Grass-fed
14.7
12.8
CLA
0.60
1.03
Omega-6
2.20
1.85
Omega-3
0.24
0.88
9.60
2.45
Total fat
Fatty Acids (% of Fat)
O-6:O-3
Leheska, et al., 2009
Journal of Anim Sci 86:3575
Influence of Supplementing Grass-fed Cattle
With 1% of Body Weight as Soyhulls
Item
Grass only
Grass + SH
398
614
Standard
Low Choice
2.6
4.9
CLA
0.69
0.67
Omega-6
9.36
8.23
Omega-3
4.87
2.53
1.93
3.28
Carcass wt, lb
Grade
Total Fat, %
Fatty Acids (% of Fat)
O-6:O-3
Baublits et al, 2004 Meat Sci. 68:297 & 72:100
What Influences Flavor of Grassfed and Locally Finished Beef?
Performance of steers finished in NC on
grass only, with grain on grass or with 60
days in the feedlot following grass
Item
Millet only
Grain on Millet
Grain after Millet
ADG, lb/d
1.89
2.67
2.31
Final wt, lb
950
1020
1126
Carcass wt, lb
549
611
671
6
65
54
0.20
0.40
0.46
Roasted Beef
2.55
3.36
3.80
Gamey off-flavor
4.38
2.20
2.49
Bloodlike
2.60
3.26
4.00
% choice
Backfat, in
Flavor
Harvey, Mueller and Larick, 1990
Influence of forage on growth, carcass
characteristics and beef flavor
Item
ADG, lb/d
Final wt, lb
Carcass wt, lb
% choice
Backfat, in
Millet
1.67
879
460
100
0.34
Sudex
1.53
857
443
33
0.25
Fescue +
Clover
1.43
882
458
67
0.25
Flavor
Cooked beef fat
Gamey off-flavor
Bloodlike
4.54
3.28
4.27
4.04
3.26
4.24
4.55
2.46
4.53
Harvey, Mueller and Larick, 1990
Consumer acceptability of beef from cattle
finished on grain or various types of pasture
(Auburn)
Feedlot
Ryegrass
E- Fescue
E+ Fescue
Overall
Flavor
Tenderness
Juiciness
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
0
Recent NCSU Research
(Washburn, Poore, and Hansen)
Grain-finished steers
Gain in last
84 days ~ 3.3 lbs/d
Grass-finished ~1.25 lb/d
Grass
Grain
Hot carcass weight by feeding regimen
600
500
400
JX Pasture
JX Grain
300
200
100
0
2006
2007
Both Yrs
Consumer Sensory Scores for Three Types
of Beef (1 to 9 hedonic scale)
7
6
5
Grass-finished
Grain-finished
Commercial CH
4
3
2
1
0
Flavor
Juicy
Tender
Overall
Forced preference choice by taste panel
45
40
35
30
25
JX Pasture
JX Grain
DI- Choice
20
15
10
5
0
2006
2007
Both Yrs
How Important is Breed of Cattle?
 There
is variation in carcass traits within
all breeds
 Breeds do vary in their ability to marble
 Charolais
 Fleshing
vs Angus
ability on forage is a key trait for
forage finishing systems
 Cow size relative to marketable yield is an
important consideration
What are the Econimics of a Local
Finishing System?
Consider “Model” Systems
Producers Might Use





Cow-calf with calf sold at weaning
Cow-calf with calves weaned and sold after a 45 to 120
day preconditioning period
Finishing system 1. Cow-calf with calves weaned and
then grown on forages up to 22 months of age.
Finishing system 2. Cow-calf with calves weaned and
then grown on forages up to 19 months old and then
finished on concentrate (2% bwt) for 60 days
Finishing system 3. Cow-calf with calves weaned and
preconditioned to 11 months and then finished on
concentrate (2% bwt) for 120 days
Lbs of Forage TDN (per Cow Unit) Needed in
Various Beef Production Systems
Production system
Lb TDN
(forage)
Cow and calf to wean
5850
Cow and calf to 10 months (precon)
6477
Cow and calf to grain finish
7038
Cow and calf on grass, grain 60 d
9585
Cow and calf finish on grass only
11880
Enterprise Net Returns compared
to Cows only, Oct. Calf Sold Live
Item
Enterprise
Per
Head
Sold
Per lb
live
Sold
Beef cows
Base
Base
Base
Forage finishing
+$2,815
+$64
+5¢
60-day conc. feed
+$2,866
+$65
+5¢
High concentrate
feeding
-$4,246
-$97
-8¢
GEOFF BENSON, ARE, NCSU 28
Enterprise Net Returns compared to
Cows only, March Calf Sold Live
Item
Enterprise
Per
Head
Sold
Per lb
live
Sold
Beef cows
Base
Base
Base
Forage finishing
-$17
$0
0¢
60-day conc. feed
+$5,907 +$134
+11¢
High concentrate
feeding
+$1,432
+3¢
+$33
GEOFF BENSON, ARE, NCSU 29
Return From a Grass-Finishing System
Depends on How You Price the Cattle
 Returns
calculated from Dr. Benson's
Budgets
 Commodity
-
beef price ($85/cwt)
$290 per head
 Common
price point for Local Beef
($125/cwt)
+
$133 per head
Carefully Track Your Costs and
Revenue if You are Economically
Motivated
Getting Started From the Beef
Perspective
 What
is your current management level?
 Do
you have a controlled breeding season
 Do you have a good health program
 Do you have a good forage program
 Do you wean and precondition your calves
 Are genetics uniform and in tune with the desired
market
 Do
you consume your own beef?
 Do you have the management ability and
desire to take on several new activities?
Questions We Need to Consider






Is there a better breed or genetic type for grass-based
systems?
What conditions lead to off-flavors beyond what
anyone desires?
Do differences in nutrient content of grass-fed beef
make a significant difference in the context of a
balanced diet?
How does your forage management need to change to
support acceptable animal growth rates for finishing?
How can you effectively work with your processor?
How can you develop a marketing system that will
allow you to make it work?
What is Grass-Fed Beef??
100% Grass/Forage
or
Pasture-Finished/Natural with
Strategic Concentrate Feeding
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