You may think that all cattle are fed on grass. If they are outside, they will certainly have a diet of grass but the common method of fattening a beast for slaughter is to feed it latterly on a corn based diet so that it puts on weight quickly and can be slaughtered at a younger age. Feeding with corn can be costly, but it also effects the quality of the meat. Research has been done at Bristol University School of Veterinary Science to find out whether grass-fed beef and lamb are superior in quality and taste to those fed intensively on grain.
"A striking finding is that grass-fed beef retains its fresh red colour for longer during retail display than grain-fed beef. The colour difference is linked to higher levels of the antioxidant vitamin E in the muscle of grazed animals. Another clear result was that grazed cattle had higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids than those cattle fed on grains. These include alpha-linolenic acid, which is present in grass and becomes converted to the longer-chain omega-3 fatty acids once inside the animal. Among these fatty acids were the types found in oily fish."
This is Quentin in Jukes Field when the grass was being cut for haymaking. The hay or haylage from the farm is stored for feeding the cattle in winter. No fertlliser is used on the grass, only dung from the sheds on our farm. The pastures are full of red and white clover, so there is no need for nitrogen fertiliser.
This is Oberon, our Red Poll pedigree bull. He arrived here from Simon Prescott's Woldsman Herd in June 2009 when he was 20 months old. He is an excellent example of a beef breeding bull, with a robust bottom. That is where the steaks come from!
Quentin and Maggie EDWARDS, Grass Fed Beef, Cools Farm, East Knoyle, SALISBURY, Wiltshire, SP3 6DB