Understanding Grain-Fed and Grass-Fed Beef
There are many conversations surrounding grass-fed and grain-fed beef. Grass-fed beef comes from cattle that spend their entire lives consuming grass in pastures. Florida Cattle Ranchers Beef is grain-fed beef, which means our cattle, like grass-fed cattle, spend the majority of their lives consuming grass but are free to consume a balanced diet of grains as well. While both are ideal options for raising quality cattle, our combination diet of grass and grains ensures satisfaction among cattle and increased marbling and flavor across products.
Comes from cattle that consume grass for most of their lives.
Provides for a complex flavor profile that results in a gamier taste and leaner beef.
Comes from cattle that consume grass for most of their lives and are also fed a balanced grain diet for a short period of their lives.
Provides for increased marbling and juiciness in beef that results in a buttery, rich flavor.
What We Feed Our Cattle
Our cattle are all fed locally within Florida.
Cattle feed is a lot like baking a cake– there is a particular recipe and combination of ingredients to achieve a finished product that is palatable and meets the cattle’s nutritional needs. Most of our feed ingredients are grown right here in Florida.
Our earlage, haylage, high moisture corn, oatlage, hay and corn silage are grown locally (within 100 miles, majority right here in Chiefland) with local farmers. These farmers primarily are watermelon and peanut growers, but FCR’s need for local products offers the farmers the opportunity to rotate their crops (which is good for the soil) to provide us with corn, oats and sorghum. We put up much of our own hay during the summer months and buy from other local producers to fill any holes in usage.
Most of our bakery by-product comes from Bartow, FL, where what would be food waste from local bakeries is recycled. These are baked goods that are under or over-baked and unsuitable for retail sales. The baked goods are placed in a dehydrator under high temperatures producing a sterile powder-like feed product. The cattle love it, and it has carbohydrates and proteins that help meet their nutritional requirements.
Our wet distillers grains primarily come from Camilla, GA, and are currently purchased from Flint Hills. This is an ethanol plant that concentrates on producing biofuels. In the production of ethanol, the starch portion of the corn kernel is converted to ethanol, leaving the fiber and oil to be condensed into cattle feed. This is a highly nutritional product for our cattle and provides much of the protein and energy to meet their needs. Not to mention, using this healthy byproduct helps FCR play a part in preventing waste in other industries which is good for all of us.
We also use a concentrated feed pellet made by Purina, usually this product comes from their Mulberry, FL, production facilities, but it could also come from their Lake City, FL, facility.
As ruminants*, cattle have the unique ability to digest and absorb nutrients from many by-products of mainstream industries. Waste from baked goods and distillers grains from alcohol production are just two examples of this. Florida Cattle Ranchers utilize the recycling capabilities of cattle by taking products others would consider waste, such as overcooked baked goods, and turning it into highly nutritious beef products.
Feeding our cattle locally reduces the carbon footprint of our operations and supports our state’s local economies. We feed our cattle with the intention of meeting their nutritional requirements to ensure healthy cattle and quality, nutritious beef.