Harned Ranch Beef

From the happiest cows comes the best steak!

How is Beef Produced?

Agriculture is not just about growing crops – there are several other aspects that are as integral to this industry as cereals and grains and one such category is that of meat, particularly beef. Irrespective of whether you are a well-established farmer or a city dweller who has moved to the country to start an enterprise of his own, beef production is one of the lucrative options that you must consider. To this effect, an in-depth insight into how beef is produced would certainly come in handy not just to ensure that your enterprise is based on a solid foundation but also to accrue profits well into the future.

Information pertaining to production of beef can be gleaned through several sources which could be categorized as traditional or modern but in order to gain a complete outlook, you must make use of multiple sources. Something that almost every source will unanimously point toward is that beef production occurs through several stages, each of which is mandatory and contributes to the safety and quality of the outcome. However, much depends on the calf in question in terms of breed, weaning, nature of operation and so on and hence this is rightly treated as the starting point in beef production.

Cattle that serve as source of beef belong to one of the two breeds namely maternal or terminal and each comes with its own set of advantages. While maternal breed excels in producing milk and mothering the calf, terminal species maintain robust growth and hence generate a lot of meat in terms of volume. That said, there are dual breeds also that are acquired as a result of cross breeding and as such possess strains of both types. Options for cross breeding can be decided upon by the ranch owner too depending on his requirement and preferences.

Next it is time to choose the type of operation that you wish to implement in your farm, common choices being cow-calf, background and feedlot. The choice of operation has a significant impact on how beef is produced because it has a direct bearing on the quality of meat as also overhead expenses like medical expenses, hygiene and so on. Settling for a cow-calf operation implies maintaining a herd of cows that would produce calves while backgrounding calls for buying weaned calves and feeding them till they are ready for being slaughtered. Feedlot differs from backgrounding in the sense that the calves are fed as per market weight.

To produce beef, it is imperative to have facilities that are extensive enough to barns, sheds, shelters and feeding space. How big or small would be the facility depends on whether beef is to be produced throughout the year or only during the summer season. Having equipment is also a must and this ranges from small equipment like syringes and medical supplies to large machines like tractors and tools used for planting and harvesting.

An important aspect of beef production pertains to the type of feed given to the calves and to this effect, the level of nutrition varies as per the age of the animal. While young calves are fed a high protein diet, they are made to survive on pasture on being weaned and the nutrition plan once again changes as the animal matures into an adult.

Breeding occurs as per a particular pattern and nowadays it is common for production houses to use artificial insemination as a method of breeding their cows. As compared to the natural process, artificial insemination provides the owner with flexibility to synchronize the program and plan out the year ahead in advance. Other crucial decisions pertain to calving season, time to wean calves and introduction of health programs.

Finally, the aim of learning how beef is produced is to realize that proper care of animals goes a long way in determining the quality of meat. In such a situation, the onus is on the owner of the ranch to ensure that his animals are well looked after and that every stage of the operation is conducted smoothly.