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Wyoming grass-fed grain-finished beef

Grass-Fed Beef: The Essence of Summer in Wyoming

As we look out across the Wyoming prairies with our cattle sprawled as far as the eye can see, lazily grazing with their calves frolicking nearby in the warm summer breeze, we can’t help breathe in the beauty all around us. There is little that brings us more peace than these breathe-takingly simple summer views. As the cows munch their cud of native pasture grasses, a rising buzzword comes to our mind: “Grass-Fed Beef”. This term has become all the rage within the beef consumer market over the last several years and has created some division among producers.  We thought we would share our take on the issue and clarify how our operation uses “grass-fed” cattle while maintaining quality and taste with grain finishing.

What Does it Mean to be “Grass-Fed”?

The term grass-fed beef is a bit of a misconception and can often be confused with “grass-finished” beef. Let us explain the difference: 

You can think of “grass-fed” beef as “free-range”, where the cattle have open access to pastures and pasture grasses. This means they have the ability to graze and move freely without being confined to small areas. Some of these grass-fed cattle may receive supplemental grains for all or some of their lives.

Grass-finished beef, on the other hand, is when cattle have eaten nothing but grass and forages for the entirety of their lives, never having eaten any type of grain.

So, while grass-finished beef is considered grass-fed, not all grass-fed beef is considered grass-finished.  

 With this  Native Wyoming pasture grasses are some of the best in the world for grazing cattle because of the seedy heads found in many species. These seedy heads provide the cattle with natural starches that are more calorie dense than most grasses found in other parts of the world. Having access to the calorie-dense grasses helps the cattle obtain a naturally-balanced diet and provides meat with exceptional flavor.  

 Grass-Fed and Grain-Finished

One of the downsides to grass-finished beef is that grasses lack the calorie-denseness found in grain. The nutrient-dense grain allows cattle to put on fat for a well-marbled and flavorful steak, whereas this flavor is often missing from grass-finished beef. For the perfect balance, Wyoming Pure finishes our grass-fed cattle on locally-grown grain mixtures for a short period of time before processing. Because of this, Wyoming Pure is not considered a grass-finished beef product, but can be considered a grass-fed beef product.  By implementing this strategy of raising our cattle on grass and finishing on grain, our customers are able to reap the benefits of grass-fed beef while enjoying the rich taste profile that grain-finished beef provides.  

 

Wyoming Pastures: Optimal for Grass-Fed Beef

Grass-Fed beef from Wyoming is some of the best on the earth because of the unique blend of pasture grasses that fill our prairies. Native Wyoming pasture grasses are some of the best in the world for grazing cattle because of the seedy heads found in many species. These seedy heads provide the cattle with natural starches that are more calorie dense than most grasses found in other parts of the world. Having access to the calorie-dense grasses helps the cattle obtain a naturally-balanced diet and provides meat with exceptional flavor.  
 

Why Grass-Fed Beef is Important

Grass-Fed cattle have a higher quality of life than those that are confined to small areas – the open spaces can reduce the spread of disease and free access to grass ensures that the cattle are able to obtain the natural nutrients that they need. But there are additional benefits that you might not realize. For example, giving cattle the opportunity to graze takes land that would otherwise be unusable and allows it to be used in ways that benefit natural ecosystems. When cattle are grass-fed and consume the native vegetation, seeds from these plants are spread in their waste while being naturally fertilized by the manure. This process is a natural way to regenerate ecosystems that have been growing naturally for hundreds of years. Grazing pasture grasses also protects against wildfires as it naturally helps control grass levels and limits the fuel available for fires to burn. Wyoming Pure takes special pride in our grassland management and we are proud to do our part in sustainable business practices.
Wyoming grass-fed beef pasture
A beautiful view of our grass-fed beef on Wyoming pastures
moving grass-fed beef cattle
Moving cattle to summer pastures

The Life Cycle of our Grass-Fed Beef

Our cattle begin their life on the ranch where we bring mother cows close to our home to provide a watchful eye as the new calves are being born (check out our post about calving to see the fun that new life on the ranch brings). The calves spend the first part of their lives with their mothers in open pastures near our home with free access to their mother’s milk. After several weeks, the calves are then branded and taken with their mothers to large summer pastures where they have even more access to pasture grasses. In the following months, they will slowly learn to replace their mother’s milk with these natural grasses. After several months of summer pasture with their mothers, the calves are weaned from their mothers and have now grown big enough that they can get all of their nutrients from the pasture grasses on which they live. The calves are then supplemented with a grain ration for 120 days before being sent for processing. The calves raised for our beef spend the majority of their lives with unrestricted access to pasture grass and the mother cows spend their entire lives on pastures around our home. We take great pride in the natural and sustainable life that our cattle receive and are proud to take part in supplying our customers with natural beef that they can feel good about feeding their families.

grass-fed beef calf
A bull calf with his mother nearby
Making the hike up the mountain

As you can see, Wyoming Pure Natural Beef stands for just that: Pure Wyoming beef raised the way that nature intended. We take pride in our grass-fed and grain-finished beef because we know that this method provides the most natural and sustainable life for our cattle without compromising quality or flavor.  Shop our website to taste the Wyoming Pure difference.