Grass Fed and Grass Finished Beef

This post may contain affiliate links for products I recommend.
Black cow in a meadow eating grass

I guess we need to have a look at history and then see how we got from having cows that ate only grass and hay to cows that are fed with corn and grains.

In the past, all cows were grass-fed and finished all their lives. At the end of their lives, they were most of the time sold to a local butcher and they slaughtered the cow and sold it in their store.

Nowadays your beef can come from all over the world and you got no idea how it was raised and what it ate but in most cases, this happens.

  • A cow starts out on eating grass
  • The cow get moved to a feeding lot
  • They eat mostly corn and grains
  • Wait till they have to required weight
  • Get sold and slaughtered

There is a big difference in how our beef is sourced now and in the past.

How cows digest their food

Without getting into all the details here is short explanation how the digestive system of a cow works.

The cow has four stomachs and undergoes a special digestive process to break down the tough and coarse food it eats.

When the cow first eats, it chews the food just enough to swallow it. The unchewed food travels to the first two stomachs, the rumen, and the reticulum, where it is stored until later.

When the cow is full from this eating process, she rests. Later, the cow coughs up bits of the unchewed food called cud and chews it completely this time before swallowing it again.

The cud then goes to the third and fourth stomachs, the omasum and abomasum, where it is fully digested.

Some of this digested food enters the bloodstream and travels to a bag called the udder, where it is made into milk that will come out of her teats, while the rest goes towards the cow’s nourishment. Source: https://www2.kenyon.edu/projects/farmschool/food/milkbio.htm

Why Cows Get A Corn and Grain Diet

The reason that cows are fed with corn and grains after their initial start on grass is to make them gain weight faster. From a farmer standpoint this is totally understandable. Longer feeding or having a cow in a meadow will add up to the cost of farming.

Is Corn bad for a cow?

Here we are touching upon a controversial subject. There are claims that cows can digest small amounts of corn without problems and others claim that corn is no food for cows.

My personal opinion is that cows ate only grass for hundreds of years and I have never seen a cow in a corn field. The other thing is that most corn is GMO and that is in my opinion never a good thing.

I read that cows that eat a lot of corn develop digestive problems because their system is not built to digest corn and grains. They end up with problems like bloating or having a, sometimes fatal, amount of excessive gas.

Here on the Couch Potato Deliveries online meat store reviews, I had a look at both types of meat and if you are interested you can click here to read them. The choice is up to you if you like to find healthier meats.

Peter