While most cattle raised in cow calf operations are primarily fed by grazing in pastures or rangeland, the major differences come at the “finishing” stage of the production process. While the feeding of grains like corn or barley to ruminant animals to finish or “fatten” them prior to slaughter has been practiced since at least the 1800’s, it was the rise of industrialized, commoditized grain production that facilitated the standardization of the practice.
“Ruminant” animals are thus called due to their multi-chambered stomachs, the primary of which is the amazing rumen, enabling the consequent super power of converting lignin and cellulose into fat and protein. If a ruminant is fed a diet high in simple starch and carbohydrate like corn and low in complex cellulose the microbial environment changes; the rumen becomes more acidic, less microbially diverse and even shrinks thereby changing the way nutrients are processed and stored.
Grass-finished beef has substantially higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) than grain-finished beef which can reduce inflammation and provide greater antioxidant protection.
While grass-fed beef generally has less fat overall than feedlot beef, our production goal is to get as much of that phytonutrient rich, nourishing fat into the meat as we can!
Beef “shares” have traditionally been charged to the customer by the weight of the halved carcass “hanging” by a hook with the head, hide, and hooves removed. The weight of each half would generally be between 250 and 350 pounds (a “quarter” share would be half again). The combined weight of both halves plus any parts like tongue, liver, and heart would be how the processor charges the producer or the customer depending on the arrangement. The final customer is often charged a processing fee separately by the processor and pays the producer for the animal.
After dry aging on the hook the half is parted out by the butcher crew, packaged and boxed. The final boxed weight is approximately 60% of the original hanging weight but can vary due to aging time and cutting instructions. A price of $6.00/lb hanging weight would then effectively be around $10.00/lb finished weight plus the processing charges.
A more accurate term would be 100% FORAGE-fed. That means that any and all plants growing in the pasture can be consumed by the grazing animal free choice. Many of the non-grass, or “forb”, species in a diverse pasture including alfalfa, clovers, vetch, chicory, dandelion, plantain, and even thistles are primary sources of nutrients. There are some forbs that can present potential toxicity to grazing animals but as long as there is an abundance of choice forage available the animals will selectively avoid anything unpalatable and will even self-medicate to individual needs.
Our beef is currently processed by Kinikin Craft Butchers & Processing in Montrose, Colorado. It is a family owned small business that has a capacity to handle up to eighteen cattle per day.
Kinikin is a USDA inspected facility and we have all our beef labeled “USDA Inspected”.
The easiest route is to turn off Highway 82 at the Thunder River Market/Sinclair station onto CMC Rd/County Rd. 114. After passing the CMC campus and CARE animal rescue, the road will curve to the left. Soon after you’ll see an entrance on the left with a painted Rivendell sign.