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Finishing Beef Cattle

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ksmit454

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Wanted to share this in regards to finishing cattle. Super helpful especially if it’s your first time finishing!
 

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wbvs58

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Thanks. I should print it out and distribute it to people around here. I see the mobile butchers coldroom parked at a few places around here and I know they don't do anything to feed the animals. One neighbour in particular will get one killed even when we have been in drought. Prides himself on his grassfed organic beef when there has been no grass. He could do a lot better.

Ken
 

ClinchValley86

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Thanks. I should print it out and distribute it to people around here. I see the mobile butchers coldroom parked at a few places around here and I know they don't do anything to feed the animals. One neighbour in particular will get one killed even when we have been in drought. Prides himself on his grassfed organic beef when there has been no grass. He could do a lot better.

Ken
100 percent. Hip bones protruding and visible ribs. I'd be hiding them in the back if thats what our beef looked like at time of slaughter.
 

Little Joe

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I've got a neighbor that weans calves 30 days then butchers them on the quarters, no finish at all, he's turned some completely away from buying fresh beef because they think it will all be like his.
 

Hpacres440p

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I've got a neighbor that weans calves 30 days then butchers them on the quarters, no finish at all, he's turned some completely away from buying fresh beef because they think it will all be like his.
Does he think they will be more like veal since they are short-weaned?
 

Ky hills

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Does he think they will be more like veal since they are short-weaned?
If I were going to have them processed that young I’d just pull them straight off the cow instead of weaning.
I think improper finishing can turn a lot of folks off to home raised beef. When they pay a big amount upfront for the large quantity of meat and then it’s disappointing and hard for anyone to gain their business again. That has been a concern I have had the last several months with seeing some of the animals being marketed as ready to process.
 

Little Joe

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If I were going to have them processed that young I’d just pull them straight off the cow instead of weaning.
I think improper finishing can turn a lot of folks off to home raised beef. When they pay a big amount upfront for the large quantity of meat and then it’s disappointing and hard for anyone to gain their business again. That has been a concern I have had the last several months with seeing some of the animals being marketed as ready to process.

I have the same concern, I work at making my beef good quality, if someone gets ahold of some that isn't it will hurt everybody trying to sell farm fresh beef. That's what I hate about having to book so far out now, don't know for sure what kind of finish you'll have when your kill date comes around. Used to I could book 30 days out and get a spot, now it's a year or better. I have 3 spots for May 2021 but only 1 of my calves will be finished in that time frame so I'm going to buy a few that will finish by then to fill my orders. I'll have to get a fall kill date for the other calves.
 

Ky hills

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I have the same concern, I work at making my beef good quality, if someone gets ahold of some that isn't it will hurt everybody trying to sell farm fresh beef. That's what I hate about having to book so far out now, don't know for sure what kind of finish you'll have when your kill date comes around. Used to I could book 30 days out and get a spot, now it's a year or better. I have 3 spots for May 2021 but only 1 of my calves will be finished in that time frame so I'm going to buy a few that will finish by then to fill my orders. I'll have to get a fall kill date for the other calves.
That’s how it’s needs to be done, we all have to book so far out we have to figure on the timing as far as time on feed and guess at weight per day of age and select calves accordingly and hope it falls into place. My calves are going to be a little younger for next years timing so I’m going to start feeding them heavy a little earlier.
 

sstterry

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I'm not sure what his thinking is, alot of people just don't understand the importance of finish on an animal.
For the life of me, I cannot understand the rationale of the hysteria for "grass finished" beef. How do you get the desired marbling?
 

Little Joe

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For the life of me, I cannot understand the rationale of the hysteria for "grass finished" beef. How do you get the desired marbling?
Grass finished is higher in omega 3 and grain finished higher in omega 6, from my understanding it’s healthier to have a higher omega 3 to 6 ratio. I finish mine at about 1-1.5% bw in grain and rotational graze. I feel like that’s the best of both worlds. I’m not a fan of straight grass finished and it takes forever to put on finish straight grass. I guess it’s all in what you get used to, but even if it was grass finished I’d want a sure enough finish, I’d think an unfinished grass fed would be worst than unfinished grain fed.
 

Hpacres440p

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We kept part of each steer we sold, so that we could taste how different finishing and age turned out. By far the best tenderness and taste was an 18 month old mostly grass bull. Leaner, but super tender and great flavor
 

sstterry

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Grass finished is higher in omega 3 and grain finished higher in omega 6, from my understanding it’s healthier to have a higher omega 3 to 6 ratio. I finish mine at about 1-1.5% bw in grain and rotational graze. I feel like that’s the best of both worlds. I’m not a fan of straight grass finished and it takes forever to put on finish straight grass. I guess it’s all in what you get used to, but even if it was grass finished I’d want a sure enough finish, I’d think an unfinished grass fed would be worst than unfinished grain fed.
But how do you "finish" when there is not much excess energy?
 
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Stickney94

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My calves are going to be a little younger for next years timing so I’m going to start feeding them heavy a little earlier.
My local processor was more than a year out with bookings. I had to call and make an appointment for calves I hadn't weaned yet. They had to pause taking bookings until they got their 2022 calendar, haha.
That was 2 months ago.
I have the same issue though. Likely will need to adjust my ration to shorten by a couple months.
 

Little Joe

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Just in general.
The grain I feed mine is the excess energy the grass alone can make them gain 1-2 lbs a day. From my understanding the people who are putting a good finish on alot of the grass fed are grazing annuals which would be high in energy and protein. Another factor I believe for finishing grass fed is buying the right type, large frame cattle are never gonna get a good finish on grass alone where as a south poll, Hereford or dexter would. In fact I hear that dexter is a superior beef in general especially grass fed. You are correct though, most main stream cattle would never get enough excess energy from grass to put on a good finish. With my program I have no problem finishing even large frame cattle, takes a little longer than a small frame but can do it. My concern with straight grass fed is the age of the animal by the time it is finished. I hear anywhere from 24-36 months old, I like them to finish between 16-20 months old.
 

Little Joe

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With the program I run I can make the right cattle gain in excess of 3 lbs a day. Once they reach their mature size they’re gonna start putting on finish.
 
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ksmit454

ksmit454

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I've got a neighbor that weans calves 30 days then butchers them on the quarters, no finish at all, he's turned some completely away from buying fresh beef because they think it will all be like his.
Is really a shame that people are like that because from a customers stand point, it’s going to turn them away because they’ll think all beef is like that. And then there are people like me that spend many many hours perfecting their finishing program to get top quality beef to my customers. I think my customers appreciate the effort put into their beef.
 

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