Beef Cattle Producers, you've come to the right place! If you're interested in finishing grass fed beef, we have exactly what you need!
We have an abundance of information to share with you! From cost savings analysis to human health concerns related to consuming beef, we hope to answer all your questions!
Come On In!
In the beef production system, feed costs account for 60-70% of the total costs of production. Just a 1% improvement in feed efficiency would save the feedlot sector alone an estimated $11.1 million annually! We have an alternative answer to the feedlot industry that will save you money and peace of mind!
The systems that we manufacture here at Sun Roads Farmory are designed with you and your beef cattle operation in mind. We are from Montana and were born and raised in the beef industry. We are familiar with the rising feed costs, the increased land prices, as well as the decreased nutrition in our soil.
Traditionally, all beef was grassfed beef, but we’ve turned that completely upside down. In today’s feedlots, cows fed corn and other grains are eating food that humans can eat, and they are quite inefficiently converting it into meat. Since it takes anywhere from 6 to 16 pounds of grain to make a pound of feedlot beef, we actually get far less food out than we put in. It’s a protein factory in reverse.
Let's take a look at this example:
How much feed is needed to make 1# of beef?
The current feed to gain ratios in a feedlot animal are about 6 pounds of feed to 1 pound of live weight gain. (We'll use the lower level of the above fact, just to be fair!) So, if a steer enters the feedlot at 500# and finishes at 1250# live weight, that animal needs to gain 750#. At a 6:1 conversion, that's 4500# of total feed used!
One common daily ration from an American feedlot to finish a 1250# steer is:
grass hay 2.2# $0.13 / # National Average Sept. 2014
corn 15.4# $0.09 / # "
barley 8.8# $0.18 / # "
wheat 2.2# $0.07 / # "
This feeding program costs $3.40 per day, per steer. The average daily gain on this feedlot diet is 2.5-3#. To reach the finished weight of 1250#, it will take an average of 272 days. 272 x $3.40 = $924.80
The second common daily ration example is:
grass hay 2.2# $0.13 / # National Average Sept. 2014
silage 30.8# $0.014 / # "
corn 11.0# $0.09 / # "
This feeding program is more cost efficient at $1.71 per day, per steer. The average daily gain on this feedlot diet is 3#. To reach the finished weight of 1250#, it will take an average of 250 days. 250 x $1.71 = $427.50
We believe we have an amazing alternative for you to finish your steers!
Please take a look at our AFS 172 . With this machine, you can finish 42 steers at a time. Before we look at the numbers, let's take a look at an independent study completed in 2009.
A herd of 100 pasture-based bulls were tested in a third-party, controlled feeding trial over a 12 week period. Fifty bulls were fed hay, pasture, and grain while the other fifty were fed hay, pasture, and sprouts. The sprout-fed group received 25% less calories per day than the grain-fed group and still had a 41% higher daily weight gain!
Our AFS 172 can finish 42 steers at a time for a total daily cost of $37.28. That breaks down to $0.89 per day per steer. Our customers report an average 4-4.5# Average Daily Gain. Therefore, for a 500# steer to gain 750#, that would take, on average, 187 days. Sun Roads Farmory recommends feeding straw, grass hay, OR having the animal on pasture as well as the barley grass mats during finishing. Let's say you are feeding your 1000# steer 12.5# of straw per day. At a national average of $65/ ton, that straw will cost you $0.41 per day. So... $0.89 + $0.41 = $1.30 per day per animal.
187 x $1.30 = $243.10 This is a significant cost savings over even the most economical example above.
$427.50 - $243.10 = $184.40 savings per steer. Multiply that by 42 and you've now saved $7744.80!
This cost savings analysis looks great, doesn't it? "But how will these grass-fed & finished cows do at the market," you ask. Let us show you:
Let's take a look at how your 1250# steer breaks down into edible beef for your customers:
1250# steer = approximately 750# carcass weight = 490# edible beef on average
Of that 490#,
185# will be ground beef
85# will be round roasts and steaks
90# will be chuck roasts and steaks
80# will be rib and loin steaks
50# will be other cuts, such as brisket, flank, skirt steaks, and short ribs
At the local grocery store, these cuts of grain-fed beef will cost your customers an average of $6.09 per pound. This is retail price, with it's marked-up value after butchering, packaging, and shipping. You are not selling at this price. As of October 2nd, 2014, the national average price you will receive for your dressed, grain-fed steer is $2.58 per pound. For a 750# carcass weight steer (490# of edible beef), you will earn $1935. That breaks down to $3.94 per pound of edible beef. Essentially, you are selling your grain-fed beef for $3.94 a pound.
The wholesale national average for grass-fed & finished beef is from $7.81 -$13.71 per pound of edible beef. That averages out to be $10.76 per pound So, for that same 490 pounds, you'll earn $5272.40!
Two steers, each 1250#. Both raised to 500# on pasture and mother's milk. One raised from 500-1250# in a feedlot setting on corn, hay, and silage for a feed cost of $427.50 The other one raised from 500-1250# on pasture or straw and barley grass mats for a feed cost of $243.10. One sells for $1935, the other for $5272.40! That'll make your head spin right there. Not only are your profits increasing, but you are providing a very healthy alternative to your customer!
This cost saving analysis is incredible. But there is even more! When you begin to see the health benefits of eating beef raised without grain or corn, the value increases even more.