Comparison of Feeding Systems Shows Hay-Finishing Could Be Sustainable Alternative to High-Concentrate Fattening

With this epic drought in the Southwest and feed prices jumping up every season, we thought this research paper was of interest. It shows a potential solution for bringing producer costs down, nudging the consumer price down, and reducing environmental costs. By using a “high-hay” feeding program (See Image below), the result was a product that surpassed the taste of grass-only beef. While the study didn’t undertake a taste test between the “high-hay” feeding program and the “high-concentrate” feeding system (which we at Lone Mountain use), this research propose a compelling mid-way solution between our current practices and the much-spoken-about grass-fed option that has become increasingly popular in mainstream media. Full Abstract of the article below (and Click Here to Go to the Full Article):

Comparison of Feeding Systems

Comparison of Feeding Systems

 

ABSTRACT
The objective of this article is to compare feed cost, palatability and environmental impacts among feeding systems of high concentrate (HC), high hay (HH) and grass-only-fed (Gof) groups. Feed cost was the sum of costs paid for feed intake times the price of feed per kilogram. Palatability was measured by a panel taste test using HH and Gof beef and analyzed for differences. Environmental impacts were calculated based on 1 kg of Japanese beef yield of CO2 equivalents (eq) and animal end weights at each feeding stage. Results showed that the HH and Gof feeding systems could significantly reduce feed costs by approximately 60% and 78%, respectively, from the HC. In the panel taste test, 50% and 47.50% of panelists indicated that HH beef was ‘extremely delicious’ and ‘acceptable,’ respectively, while 15% indicated that Gof beef was ‘extremely delicious’; 62.50% indicated that Gof beef was ‘acceptable.’ Environmental impacts of each feeding system in terms of CO2 equivalents (eq) were 9.32, 6.10 and 2.04 tonnes of eq for the HC, HH and Gof, respectively. The HH was an economical system that produced moderate impacts on the environment and had impressive taste.

 

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