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grass fed beef (heifers)

kenny thomas

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I know there are several people who grass feed beef for the freezer. My question is how do heifers do compared to steers. Gain, grade, and is the taste the same? Any ideas will be appreciated.
 

mnmtranching

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Heifers and steers will feed the same. Heifers may fatten a bit earlier. Heifers will cycle so you won't want a bull across the fence.
 

brandonm_13

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If I were doing this for myself, I would probably favor heifers since they finish sooner and at a smaller size (smaller size is better for my freezer space).

Heifers may not be as tender as steers(although I wonder how it would turn out if they were "spade" or whatever you call it in female cows), but I think the big problem is how it's cooked. Too many people pay for premium steaks, but ruin it in the cooking process.
 

dun

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brandonm_13":mbcpp7i9 said:
If I were doing this for myself, I would probably favor heifers since they finish sooner and at a smaller size (smaller size is better for my freezer space).

Heifers may not be as tender as steers(although I wonder how it would turn out if they were "spade" or whatever you call it in female cows), but I think the big problem is how it's cooked. Too many people pay for premium steaks, but ruin it in the cooking process.

On estudy claims spaying doesn;t have any affect on tenderness.
 

Stocker Steve

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We have butchered several steers and a number of 16 month old short English heifers off grass. The heifers had more marbling.
We butchered one 27 month old non breeder heifer off grass last year. She was great! We got several positive comments on great flavor this summer (compared to previous 16 month old heifers) ... :D

Based on this - - I am tempted to butcher fall calving heiferettes:
-Calve them in August/September.
-Early wean any that don't make the cut before the weather gets really nasty and they start to lose condition.
-Butcher them off pasture the following summer...

What do you think?
 

brandonm_13

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You would probably get more money from culling by butchering than buy culling and selling to the local salebarns.

Dun- What is the reasoning behind spading, unless it is so you can run them with a bull without accidental breedings?
 

mnmtranching

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I had a non breeder Char heifer a few years back. She was about 2 years old off good grass. MAN! was that good beef. BIG, fat and tender. Butcher didn't believe she never had grain. I think grass fed is fine as long as the critter isn't slaughtered to early.
 

dun

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brandonm_13":2imi5blx said:
Dun- What is the reasoning behind spading, unless it is so you can run them with a bull without accidental breedings?

It keeps them from cycling while in the feedlot. They gain better because they aren;t riding/being ridden and they can be fed out with steers so the steers gain better because of the prevention of riding.
 

Stocker Steve

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mnmtranching":b4migb4i said:
I had a non breeder Char heifer a few years back. She was about 2 years old off good grass. MAN! was that good beef. BIG, fat and tender. Butcher didn't believe she never had grain. I think grass fed is fine as long as the critter isn't slaughtered to early.

Seems to be some flavor gained with a 2 to 2.5 year old butcher animal.
Also seems that when you buy in heifers there are half of them below average as momma cows... So getting revenge at the locker plant may be a good approach. :cowboy:
 

brandonm_13

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Well, you know young wildlife, deer, suirrels, etc. has less gamey taste when it's young, so I would suspect you cows have less "beefy" taste to them. I know in other countries, they want older beef for the flavor. I think they prefer and pay a premium for 3 year-old beef.
 

cowman30

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Took four culls to the slaughter house back in december (all heifers) they averaged about 900 pounds. People who purchased the meat say it is the best they have ever eaten.
 

cfpinz

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Stocker Steve":a00kv5pp said:
... So getting revenge at the locker plant may be a good approach. :cowboy:

I've got one heifer in the whack pen now. She's off of our best cow but the little huzzie picked up an attitude problem. All of her sisters have great temperment but I bred her dam to a son of Yield Grade one year and this happened. He turned out to be a sob, too.
 

Stocker Steve

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I ran some numbers last night that looked too good so I am having a buddy run them through his spreadsheet:

buy bred August/Sept calving heifers now
run on grass 1st summer
sell calf early before heifer gets pulled down, sort and re sort
winter once of hay
butcher culls for freezer beef off grass the second summer
 

mnmtranching

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At Wed sale. Seven black bred cows sold. Middle age preged to calve in June. Thin but still 1200 pounds plus. Sold at .42 per pound. Wish I had room, somebody will make a $.
 

Susie David

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The demand by our customer base caused us to go to a totally grass fed operation a few yerars ago and the requests for grass finished beef are growing every year.
I haven't noticed any difference between heifers and sters other than the heifers tend to be a bit smaller...go figure. We needed market beef last summer and slaughtered a three year old lim that didn't breed back, cut tenderloin, rib steak, new york and grounf the rest. Sold all of her in two weeks at the farmer's markets, great tasting and the ground beef came out better than 93% lean. Folks that bought at one market were waiting in line at the next market. Don't often process a open cow but this gal was out of one of our real good producing cows...hate to say it but we have a big heifer out of her that could go either way this summer. Depends on how the bull likes her.
Just my two bits worth...asked for or not...Dave Mc
 

Loch Valley Fold

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We'll do heifers around 2yrs old they have a chance to go to the bull if they don't go in calf they go in the freezer if we don't have a steer ready. All we've ever done is grass finished have never tried one that has been finished on grain, though that may change this year. The only female that we had that was tough (& I do mean tough) was a 4yr old dairy cow that we had been milking we had a real lot of stews & slow cooked meat.
This is some Scotch Fillets from the last heifer we had
 

brandonm_13

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If you're producing grassfed steaks that look like that, I don't know why you'd want to go to grain-feeding. You'd lose some nutritional quality, and probably increase your costs. Besides, I don't think you could produce a better looking steak.
 

dburkhart

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We feed natural beef and heifers tend to marble better, which is where the flavor is. Steers are leaner, which is what many of our customers prefer.

We prefer to eat heifers because of the flavor. However,the problem with heifers is that when they cycle, everyone around them seems to go off of feed thus slowing the gain down.
 

SRBeef

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I have one coming yearling baldy heifer with a bad attitude who will be joining a couple of the steers wintered on grazing standing corn in a ride in the trailer in about 2 weeks so we will see.

This one heifer is maybe 750-800 lb (I'll weigh her before she gets on the trailer) and 11 months old. I should probably feed her a bit more but I just want to cull her now and would not get enough at a salebarn to warrant the trip. Beside I've fed her and know exactly her history so I thought I'd just try it for our own family and see what we get.

It will be interesting in several ways: comparing a heifer to a similar aged steer and 2 months grazed on corn (steer) vs good hay only (heifer)

Jim
 

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