So what impact does breed Vs. feed have on beef flavor?

Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of your favorite breed.

Oregon Rob
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So what impact does breed Vs. feed have on beef flavor?

Postby Oregon Rob » Fri Jun 10, 2016 10:03 am

This may be a little lengthy but stick with me. We have lived on 38 acres for the last 25 or so years and up to now I really haven’t done anything with it, been busy doing other things. I’m now looking to recover the land from the brush and scotch broom and want to raise a few cattle for myself and friends. I spend a few hours a day clearing for fence lines and hope to be getting fences in over the next few weeks. Will have plenty of pasture for a few head and plan on supplementing when and if needed with grass hay.
I have been told that I can pick up Jersey bull calf’s for nothing from dairies. Years ago my FIL raised a Holstein steer and butchered it but my wife and I both were not happy with the flavor…. Something was just a little off.
As I said I want to share the cost by offering part of the beef with friends but I don’t want to do that if it’s not going to taste like what they are used to….
Looking for some advice as to if this is a good way to go or not?
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Re: So what impact does breed Vs. feed have on beef flavor?

Postby dun » Fri Jun 10, 2016 2:43 pm

Mostly feed. I've eaten tons of Holstein beef and some of it was as good as any high class beef breed. Some from an angus Hereford cross sucked.
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Re: So what impact does breed Vs. feed have on beef flavor?

Postby SJB » Fri Jun 10, 2016 8:25 pm

I plan on getting 2 steers. One Holstein, one commercial beef. I'm going to let them graze, feed them out the best I can and butcher both. I'm gonna try it and give it to a group of people who are wanting me to sell them beef. Then we can all make an informed choice.

While those are growing, I figure it'll test my fence, water system, I'll learn a little bit about how hard they are to deal with, and all the other assorted things that go along with raising cattle.

Sounds like you are in the same boat as me.
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Re: So what impact does breed Vs. feed have on beef flavor?

Postby Kenany Farm » Sat Jun 11, 2016 3:21 am

the feed and the processing is what will make the difference. Make sure you read a lot about feeding and finishing so you can be proud of the end results
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Re: So what impact does breed Vs. feed have on beef flavor?

Postby Clodhopper » Sat Jun 11, 2016 6:59 am

I personally love the dairy or dairy cross beef when fed properly. My cousin (cattle partner) can't stand it, he doesn't like the yellow fat. Those are personal preferences, but without the right feed you won't have much of anything.
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Re: So what impact does breed Vs. feed have on beef flavor?

Postby Son of Butch » Sat Jun 11, 2016 12:30 pm

Oregon Rob wrote:Years ago my FIL raised a Holstein steer and butchered it but my wife and I both were not happy with the flavor…. Something was just a little off.

"I don't like the flavor"...is a common complaint of many who have tried grass fed beef.

Corn feed them the last 90-120 days before butchering, it will eliminate "off flavor" problems.
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Re: So what impact does breed Vs. feed have on beef flavor?

Postby Commercialfarmer » Sat Jun 11, 2016 6:39 pm

Ate a 2 1/2 year old buck deer that had, i assume, been eating mostly milo and corn for a few months (was fat as a tick, and only thing in his rumen). Tasted like a fed steer.
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Re: So what impact does breed Vs. feed have on beef flavor?

Postby Oregon Rob » Mon Jun 13, 2016 9:05 am

Thanks for the feedback! Will do more reading regarding finishing and feeding! We have many younger, health focused friends who are into the "grass fed" thing. Might be an interesting experiment two steers side by side.
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Re: So what impact does breed Vs. feed have on beef flavor?

Postby cow pollinater » Mon Jun 13, 2016 5:39 pm

Breed does have an impact on flavor as well as tenderness(and marbling, yield, etc) but feed is a big chunk of the equation. Jersey's marble really well and it's tender but you're stuck with yellow fat if you put any condition on them at all and it can taste kinda funky. If it wasn't for that I know for a fact that a few large dairies would have ruined the market for waygu in the U.S.
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Re: So what impact does breed Vs. feed have on beef flavor?

Postby shortybreeder » Tue Jun 21, 2016 10:53 pm

My dad talked to a guy who finishes his jersey steers on lentil screenings the last 60 days or so instead of corn. I haven't seen the carcasses, but supposedly it turns the fat as white as snow. I would replicate his process to see how it works, but locating lentil screenings around here is difficult in small quantities.
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Re: So what impact does breed Vs. feed have on beef flavor?

Postby JMJ Farms » Wed Jul 11, 2018 7:54 pm

Anybody know the best place to find lentil screenings?
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Re: So what impact does breed Vs. feed have on beef flavor?

Postby WalnutCrest » Wed Jul 11, 2018 9:03 pm

Four things affect what happens in your mouth:

1 -- Genetics
2 -- Management
3 -- Butchering
4 -- Preparation

************

Some breeds are genetically more predisposed towards a good dining experience than others. Within each breed are certain animals that are better than others of the same breed. Grading of a carcass is not the same thing as tasting the beef itself. Some carcasses look awesome but taste like a hockey puck. Others are the opposite (look bad but taste awesome). If you're looking to raise cattle you, your family, neighbors and friends will eat, when you're buying genetics, buy from someone who understands the difference.

As it gets to the importance of feed ... this is management. Generally, beef will taste better if it's not raised on a monopasture of a single type of grass. Variety in the diet is a very good thing. As it goes to SoB's comment above, the very best grassfed steaks routinely outscore the best grain-fed steaks ... but ... the worst grassfed steaks are significantly worse than the worst grain-fed steaks; feeding grain does many things, including reducing (somewhat) the risk of an awful dining experience.

Butchering ... this is a huge (!!) source of problems and variety in dining experience and it's an area most people don't really think about. If the animal is spooked right before slaughter, adrenaline will be running through its veins and that will have an affect on tenderness. If the carcass cools off too quickly, that can have an affect on tenderness. Etc.

Preparation ... the cook can kill several years of hard work if they don't handle the beef properly. This is the case with all ingredients in all meals.
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Re: So what impact does breed Vs. feed have on beef flavor?

Postby Ebenezer » Thu Jul 12, 2018 6:15 am

Any forage variety imparts it's own taste to meat. Stockman Grass Farmer used to discuss that but seems that white clover put an odd taste in the meat but that is from memory. I can assure you that corn gluten pellets will make you hate eating what you feed it to and I guess it is the sulfur levels in the CGP. Even if you go grassfed, you might want to prep a paddock with preferred grazing for the last 2 weeks to be sure to avoid the off tastes.
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Re: So what impact does breed Vs. feed have on beef flavor?

Postby Ky hills » Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:07 am

Ebenezer wrote:Any forage variety imparts it's own taste to meat. Stockman Grass Farmer used to discuss that but seems that white clover put an odd taste in the meat but that is from memory. I can assure you that corn gluten pellets will make you hate eating what you feed it to and I guess it is the sulfur levels in the CGP. Even if you go grassfed, you might want to prep a paddock with preferred grazing for the last 2 weeks to be sure to avoid the off tastes.


Not disputing your experience with the corn gluten pellets in the ration, our experience wasn't bad. I was concerned that our feed ration would have a negative affect on our beef had always heard straight corn was best. Could not get our calf to eat straight corn, so reluctantly fed him our usual ration mix of corn gluten pellets, soy hulls, cracked corn and dried distillers grain. We didn't notice any off taste, maybe we weren't used to a different result. Our current beef is on the same ration hopeful that the results will be the same this time.
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Re: So what impact does breed Vs. feed have on beef flavor?

Postby Ebenezer » Thu Jul 12, 2018 1:17 pm

Ky hills wrote:
Ebenezer wrote:Any forage variety imparts it's own taste to meat. Stockman Grass Farmer used to discuss that but seems that white clover put an odd taste in the meat but that is from memory. I can assure you that corn gluten pellets will make you hate eating what you feed it to and I guess it is the sulfur levels in the CGP. Even if you go grassfed, you might want to prep a paddock with preferred grazing for the last 2 weeks to be sure to avoid the off tastes.


Not disputing your experience with the corn gluten pellets in the ration, our experience wasn't bad. I was concerned that our feed ration would have a negative affect on our beef had always heard straight corn was best. Could not get our calf to eat straight corn, so reluctantly fed him our usual ration mix of corn gluten pellets, soy hulls, cracked corn and dried distillers grain. We didn't notice any off taste, maybe we weren't used to a different result. Our current beef is on the same ration hopeful that the results will be the same this time.

Ours was supplemented 50/50.
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