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The Cost of Corn-Fed Cattle

   This video has been shared on a number of other farm blogs in the last few days but for those of you that don’t frequent these other blogs I wanted to make sure you saw it. The video was done by the Wall Street Journal. (They’ve done a few nice ones lately) It’s a quick look at corn-fed and grass-fed beef. 

  I think it’s got some valuable information but wonder about some things that are stated. For example, both the grass farmer and the feed lot owner mention how little profit they are getting per animal. There are so many variables to profit margin that I still believe we can try and keep our overhead low and make a profit with grass fed beef but I can understand that with 7 or 8 dollar corn it’s pretty hard to make a profit on commodity beef. 

   Any thoughts? Do you care what you eat, eats? Does any of this surprise you?

1 comment to The Cost of Corn-Fed Cattle

  • farm mama

    I grew up on a small farm, and we raised pretty much all of our own food, including beef. The steer(s) we butchered were born on the farm and were grass-fed only up until the last several months before they were butchered, when their diets were supplemented with grain, usually rolled oats. They were typically butchered at about a year old. I know this doesn’t give the maximum yield per animal, but the beef was tender and delicious, and this meant that the harvest was yearly, not in 18 months or two years. That was more than 50 years ago, and I haven’t lived on a farm for many years. However, my son and I just bought half a beef from a local farmer, and the age and finishing of the animal was about the same. I know that this is not practical for a commercial operation, and there will always be a market for commercial beef, but as an individual, I choose to buy (and support) a local family. I got great meat at a great price, and the farmer made more profit. It is a true win/win deal. I am also delighted that the animal lived as nature intended, and was not subjected to added hormones, antibiotics, and trauma (of living in a feedlot). It takes more effort to find a local source of food than to stop by the grocery store, but it is so worth it, especially when you look at the long-term consequences for both your family’s health and the health of the planet.