Rain. YES YES YES. WE GOT RAIN!!! A long lingering steady slow all night long kind of rain is what we got and are still getting as i write this at 9AM. We went 100 days with just over an inch of rain and it was CLOSE. By close i mean we are almost out of grass. And Hay. The dairy cows got zero hay for the last 3 weeks, they have been eating green. But the beef cows have been eating 2 year old hay and were not happy about it at all.
And I do not blame them either. But i am lucky to have it as there was no hay for sale in ten counties. The baby beefers as we call them were getting green but not as much as they would have liked. So now we are back on track.
I want to tell you how tempting it is to feed grain at a time like this and why we do not do it. AND why others do. You will understand why others do when i explain. Grain is ssooooo cheap it is amazing. Per lb price is around 12 cents now and rising. Many farmers are complaining about this price because yes it is double what it was just a few months ago. But say for example a farmer is feeding 5 lbs of grain and relying on pasture for the rest of the cows food intake. The Wehners in GA do exactely this. They are great grass farmers and my heros in many many ways. They would love to sell raw milk if regs would let them but they make 1/2 million a year profit so they do not want to jeapordize that income by selling raw. In other words the state may try to shut them down in some way IF they sold raw milk. This is what they did in some other states around the country to several farmers. As soon as they started selling raw they stopped their right to sell to the processing plant which was where most of their milk went and there primary living.
This is why we keep some farmers names secret. Anyway back to grain feeding. When a farmer feeds just 5 lbs of grain he get 4.5 gallons per day per cow compared to 1.5 like what we get. Right now we milk 17 cows and get 21 gallons per day but when the grass grows a little we will get 1.5 gallons per cow again. 5 lbs of grain gets him 3 more gallons per day per cow. If he sells that for 5 a gallon it is a 15 dollar increase for 60 cents. This is the primary reason your 100% grass fed milk will cost much more. Now to the reasons we do it. You can go to www.eatwild.com
and see for yourself but there are many health benefits lost when grain is fed. Many are scientifically proven and i beleive MANY remain unproven as yet. CLA is in 100% grass fed and VERY LOW in grain fed. See below a list of things different in grass fed beef vs grain fed. Most of this applies to milk as well.
Grassfed is best! Why Grass-Fed?
From Slankers Grassfed Beef
Grass-Fed Beef In A Nutshell
For generations we've been told that grain-fed beef is better beef.
It's a great, natural, healthy food. But that rosy picture is losing its luster as new scientific discoveries in the fields of human health and nutrition keep advancing.
The August 1998 issue of the Angus Journal included a supplement titled Feeding Options. In the supplement's first article, written by Troy Smith, there's an interesting line. "For the ruminant animal, there's nothing more natural than range." (or pasture) Just think about this for a moment. Notice the words "natural" and "range." Also, "there's nothing more natural" means that every other situation is less natural. Probably the least natural cattle feeds are chicken manure; dead animal parts; waste products from food, beverage, and candy factories; silage; and GRAIN.
Cattle, like all other ruminants, developed on this Earth eating green leafy plants, mostly grass. They ate virtually no grain. In fact, there isn't a livestock species on this planet that developed eating grain! This is important since scientists are reporting that many of America's leading health problems are due to diets top heavy in Omega-6 fatty acids versus Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-6 fatty acids come mainly from grains. Omega-3 fatty acids come mainly from green leafy plants and some nuts.
The story on the fatty acids is very important. It started unfolding back in 1985 when nutritionists and scientists started making new discoveries about fat and fatty acids. They discovered that there are many kinds of fats, and some are crucial for human health. Some of the most crucial fats are in the list of compounds that make up the membranes for every cell in a human body. That means some fats are not what we usually associate with the fat we can see on a body. With more study the dietitians and scientists figured out that the human body needs a very particular balance of certain fats in its diet because the body's only source for those fats is food (that’s why they are called “essential”). Two of the more important are the essential Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids. After isolating these fatty acids scientific experiments determined that if the ratio of Omega-6 fatty acids to Omega-3 fatty acids exceeds 4:1, people develop more health problems. This is especially meaningful since grain-fed beef can have ratios that exceed 20:1 whereby grass-fed beef is down around 1:1. (See the accompanying chart that was copied from Jo Robinson's book: Why Grassfed Is Best!) Similar ratios are also found in all grain-fed versus grass-fed livestock products! Those products include all meats, poultry, dairy, and fish.
The health problems associated with diets high in Omega-6 and low in Omega-3 are cancer, heart disease, arthritis, depression, obesity, insulin resistance, allergies, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, attention deficit syndrome, and the list goes on. These diseases are not associated with bacterial infections. They are from bodies failing, not from aging, but from improper diets.
We think this makes the positive health story for natural grass-fed beef rather ironclad.
What About the Eating Experience?
Beef "quality" grades (prime, choice, select, and standard) are supposed to compare the "eating experience." The grade is based on fat content. The greater the quantity of intramuscular fat in the meat, the higher the grade. But everyone knows that sometimes standard grades of beef provide better eating experiences than some prime grades of beef.
So the current grading system is highly flawed. Yet it's the measure the beef industry uses to sell beef to the consumer. Since this system is based on saturated fat, it promotes the wrong kind of fat, not the meat or proper balance of nutrients, nor the eating experience.
Unfortunately, what the "industry sells" is not what the consumer actually wants. The industry wants the fattest grain-fed beef possible because it has been selling Americans on the concept that the fattest beef is the best beef. Most consumers want healthy, satisfying food. Of course, some don't really care.
The beef industry's fascination with white saturated fat (which developes when cattle are fed grain) started about a century ago. The feedlot industry then evolved on the back of the grain feeding concept.
And for the past 50 years the modern grain-fed beef industry has been promoting fat as the reason why beef has good flavor, why it is juicy, and why it is tender. All the while it has been promoting fat the beef industry has had to fight a rearguard action because many "modern" health problems have been linked to eating beef. But it wasn't until just recently that scientists determined that it wasn't just beef that caused the dramatic increase in health problems in the United States, but the feeding of grain in the production of all meat, poultry, dairy, and fish/shrimp products and the dramatic reduction of Omega-3 fatty acids in the American diet that was the culprit. To this day the beef industry is still writing off the health problem association as hokum and myth.
But the facts are overwhelming and in time the consumer will learn the truth.
Despite the scientific research and the conclusions being drawn, the beef industry is promoting fat more today than ever before. The drumbeat is loud and long. "More fat means higher quality." "Higher quality receives higher price." "More fat means higher quality."
"Higher quality receives higher price." The beat goes on – even while they cut off the visible fat and talk "lean meats."
What is really amazing about this whole fat/quality thing is that the beef industry's position on this is pure B.S. from beginning to end.