How Is Beef Made?

How is beef produced? There are three main methods of beef production: Suckled calf production – calves are reared by their mothers until they’re weaned at around six to eight months, and then fattened ready for slaughter elsewhere. Finishing systems – where animals are fed a diet to get them ready for slaughter.

Beef production begins with a cow-calf producer who maintains a breeding herd of cows that raise calves every year. ExploreBeef.org | Published on:Jun 25, 2023

Stages of Beef Production

A cow-calf producer, who keeps a breeding herd of cows that annually give birth to calves, is the first step in the production of beef. When a calf is born, it weighs 60-100 pounds. When beef calves weigh 450–700 pounds and are six to ten months old, they are weaned.

Between the ages of six and twelve months, calves leave their ranch or farm of origin. Younger or lighter calves may be given to a backgrounder or stocker, who keeps grazing them until they are 12 to 16 months old on grass or other forages. The range and pastureland that cattle graze on in both the cow-calf and stocker segments is largely unsuitable for growing crops. In fact, about 85 percent of U. S. Grazing animals on land that is unsuitable for growing crops more than doubles the area that can be used to grow food.

Some of the calves are sold at an auction market after they are weaned. The best females may be retained by a cow-calf producer to be added to the breeding herd. Some animals might not be sold at an auction market; instead, they might be sent directly from the producer of cows and calves to the feedlot or from the backgrounder/stocker to the feedlot.

Prior to harvest, the majority of beef cattle spend four to six months in a feedlot where they are fed a diet based on grains. Cattle are housed in pens at the feedlot (also known as the feedyard) that allow for socializing and exercise. A qualified nutritionist provides them with balanced feed rations. A consulting veterinarian is employed by feedlots, and staff members regularly check on the health and welfare of the cattle. Feedlots are effective and use fewer resources to produce reliable, healthy, and affordable beef. The “finishing phase” refers to the period of time cattle spend in a feedlot. ”.

Some producers choose to finish cattle on grass pasture. These animals produce “grass-finished” (also known as “grass fed”) beef. Because it requires particular climatic conditions and takes the cattle longer to reach market weight, this is a much smaller portion of contemporary beef production. All cattle spend the majority of their lives grazing on grass pastures, whether they are finished on grass or in a feedlot.

When cattle are 18 to 22 months old and 1,200 to 1,400 pounds at market weight, they are delivered to a processing facility to be harvested. U. S. Inspectors from the Department of Agriculture (USDA) are stationed in all federally inspected packing facilities to monitor the application of safety, quality, and animal welfare standards from the time animals enter the facility until the last beef products are shipped to retail and foodservice locations for consumer purchase.

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FAQ

What is the process of making beef?

Slaughter: stunning, bleeding, skinning, eviscerating, and cleaning; end products are carcass halves or quarters, which are immediately chilled. “Processing” refers to all the steps involved in converting a live animal into meat for sale.

How is beef made and produced?

There are three main phases in the production of beef: backgrounding, feedlot operations, and cow-calf operations. At cow-calf operations, which are set up specifically to breed cows for their offspring, the animals’ production cycle begins. From here the calves are backgrounded for a feedlot.

What part of cow is beef?

The beef round refers to the entire hind leg of the cow, including the butt, ham, and thigh. This region is where round roasts, steaks, London broil, sirloin tip roast, and sirloin tip center steak are all produced.

How are cows raised for beef?

Very little, if any, grain is used by beef cows to maintain themselves and raise calves. Instead, they graze on grassland forage. The cow and calf remain on pasture all year long until weaning.

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