Tag Archives: Cattle feeding

Is this what you are feeding yourself or worse still your children

http://ninem.sn/MgpLoIC

Follow this link, it will show you what you are eating, if this doesn’t make you think twice about the products you are buying to feed to yourself and children, then nothing will.

Australia has such a stringent food laws that this does not happen, but they would not be buying free range, grass-fed chicken. Most birds that are for meat are raised in houses or barns, some are given growth hormone so that the breast meat becomes ‘thicker’ when they are sold.

McDonald’s have a website that you can check the ingredients – it states that they purchase “from places like Ingham” I wonder what this means. is there a place “like Ingham or is it Ingham? one should ask the question.

Chicken is not the first meat to be substituted Beef and Pork have a history of this unscrupulous practice. So if you wish to eat healthy and of late ‘clean’ then you should be looking to  purchase grass-fed, free range from your local butcher or market. Better still contact a farmer through face book, or twitter you never know where they may be for what you want and though not as cheap as take away meals like this, at least you will know what you are purchasing is not only good for the family, it’s good for your health.

Is Organic better than Grassfed?

We are hearing the terms ‘organic’, grass-fed, ‘free range‘ and feed lots lately and in relation to cattle, sheep, pork & chicken. Do you have any idea what this means and have you wondered why it affects you and should you change your purchasing meat requirements to go organic? This is a question I get asked a lot, are you ‘organic’ – no we are ‘grass-fed’ you can not claim to be something that you are not without implications.

Organic is what it says it is, these producers must adhere to strict standards including not using antibiotics, hormones, pesticides, irradiation or bioengineering; they must adhere to certain soil and water conservation methods; and to rules about the humane treatment of animals. Certified organic producers are audited and inspected annually and are subject to surprise inspections to ensure compliance with the strict guidelines. “Organic” and “Natural” don’t mean the same thing. Organic producers work hard to produce quality meat whilst sticking to these strict standards, it also costs them a lot of money to have the herd, flock or mobs or animals certified, in setting an enterprise up like this all animals and property need to be assessed and maintained in this permanent state to maintain the certification, both here (Australia) and in the US.

All products that come off that property will then have the rights to label it ‘organic’, it does not mean however that animal has spent all of its life in pasture, it means that they had access to pastures, not given hormones, no antibiotics or injections. Their diet is based upon naturally occurring grasses, hay and can be given a percentage of grain which also has to be certified organic. Some producers feed their animals significant amounts of grain, a proven way to speed their growth and increase milk production. The more grain in a ruminant’s diet, however, the lower the amount of omega-3, CLA, vitamin E and beta carotene in their products.

It has been said for optimal nutrition, it’s got to be grass-fed. By this it is taken to mean, the naturally occurring grasses limiting gain feeding, that will grow within that specific region, under climatic conditions of the area (not introduced) and on properties that have limited human access. This means, humans walking from one property to another getting dirt & seeds on shoes and they become planted accidentally. If the animal needs a supplement say of hay then it is best to try to buy from within your region so that they still are getting the natural nutrition or grow and cut your own (which is what we do) Raising cattle and sheep on grass, boosts the beef’s level of a conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a group of polyunsaturated fatty acids found in beef, lamb and dairy products. Over the past two decades, numerous health benefits have been attributed to CLA in animals, including a reduction in cancer, heart disease, onset of diabetes and accumulation of body fat.

What does free range mean? this relates to the captivity status of the animal such as with chickens that are kept in cages against chickens that are allowed to wander over a substantial grassed area so they scratch and peck at the naturally occurring food sources, not just grain, barley and seeds with human feed scraps. For larger animals this means the same, not kept in close proximity to each other as in feed  lots , but are able to walk through paddocks that are fenced purely to keep stock from swapping properties. To not be free range does not mean this is bad, neither does feed lots, it puts a different finish on the taste and quality of the meat.

For those wanting to know if you get a tough piece of meat, be it beef or lamb, it can be because the animal was stressed at slaughter or that the butcher has carved against the grain. This will be another topic for later in the week. Regardless, buy meat for protein and pleasure and get the most you can out of the hard work of all producers, ask your butcher, check the labelling and most off all enjoy.

Spring lambs

Isn’t it funny how a bit of sunshine after a long cold, rain filled winter brings us ‘out’ of the house. Living on a property one can see how sunshine after a persistent winter can bring changes. Despite the farmer being born and bred on the land, we drove back to the property after spending a lovely weekend with family in the city celebrating my parents 50th wedding anniversary, he commented on how the ‘grass had grown.”

I always look at him in amazement when he makes comments like this as we all know ‘grass always grows with water & heat.’ He also made a comment that he wondered who would eat it and as an answer to his question I spotted a kangaroo (they are wild on our property) and said looks like mum (kangaroo) & joey (baby kangaroo) are. They were standing in the afternoon sun and quite peaceful where they were sheltered from other animals and cars.

We drove past the front paddock where there is sheep and baby lambs, they are all looking very healthy and ‘fresh’ is the terminology. Lambs when they are free range and grass-fed always look good. They have a thin coat of fat under their skin and they actually skip as they walk. This is a sure-fire way to know the flock of sheep have a balanced diet and not living under constant stress of being fenced in and fed with lots of grain. This look will appear on them in the markets, this brings a higher price and will also ensure the consumer gets high quality lamb.  If you ever travel to a farm, one way you can pick this is the flock looks clean – no such thing as white wool / grey maybe due to environmental factors but more importantly around their rear end it does not look dirty from faeces or ‘dags’ as clumps of dried faeces can do. This can be – but not always a sign of worms and the flock will need to be treated. Treatment does not change the quantity and quality of the meat but left untreated the lambs will not look happy or healthy and the meat may be dark in colour.

To see flocks of lambs sitting in the sun and not eating means that they are well fed and relaxed. Ewes will only walk a short distance from their young unless disturbed which on farms can be by dogs / humans / horses and vehicles, which are all used to move them from one paddock to another.  Our lambs are ready to go to market so we are hoping they will come to a store near you soon.

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Maintaining animal health in trying weather conditions

Everyday we read the papers, drought in the USA, floods in the tropics, minimal rainfall in parts of Australia and well I don’t think I have ever met a farmer who has no interest in the weather. I know we do and I never considered really what climatic conditions do until I married a farmer in the Upper South East of South Australia. I don’t know how many times I had to ask why the yearly average rainfall was important and what was ours… 17 inches. Rain is still talked about in inches despite Australia being metric.

My husband is second generation farmer who loves the land, loves the animals and well it is his passion and hobby. He is not happy unless he is fixing something, doing something, mending fences, planting trees, painting equipment and cleaning up around stock yards, sheds and the house. His pride in his ‘work’ is only matched by his knowledge of the property we own 5000 acres or 2023.428 hectares of land. He plants crop and we have Angus Cattle and Dorper sheep, which currently I am bottle feeding twin brothers whose mother died and they sit or sleep touching each other. I can not guarantee they will not be sold for meat but the level of comfort and care they receive is a testament to my husbands caring for his animals. They now live in my 1 acre or .404 hectare vegetable garden, but the concern is that we are going into a dry period. Ben is facing the camera.

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I won’t talk about climate change as we have over 60 years of rainfall records kept by his father and now him and the average hasn’t changed and some years it’s less or more, we are not seeing what the ‘experts’ are saying so I will leave this topic alone. What we are seeing and hearing is the cry of animals looking for food so we are buying hay to feed them. We do not feed lot – that is place them in a confined area and feed them grain, this is not part of our practice and takes away our grass-fed status. Animals that eat from pastures are getting a more balanced and nutritious diet thus making the meat of the cattle tender and tastier. If you think about it, natural pastures in our part of the world include veldt grass, rye grass, clover and planted Lucerne whereas a feedlot or grain fed cattle get barley or wheat or a mixture of grain to sustain their diet. This also goes for lambs.

How do we looking at our dry pastures keep feeding the animals to maintain a healthy weight range and balance to sustain the herd? Well we purchase hay from other farms and every second day he loads hay and takes it to the animals in the different areas of our property they reside. We are waiting for rain and a break in the season so that the native vegetation begins to grow which will help the land rejuvenate and animals settle back to not looking for the Ute and trailer piled high with hay

 

Food Choices

After traveling in the USA for the last 2 weeks, and having the taste buds of a meat connoisseur, seeing as we produce grass-fed beef and lamb, I was expecting the food would be much the same as in Australia. Especially as I was traveling to New York City & Orlando Florida, we all know NYC through sex & the city and any American sitcom. The TV & film characters sit in restaurants and eat what appears to be fantastic food. I was fooled, I was expecting lots of steak, lamb cutlets and quality meals like you get served in Australia.

It didn’t take me long to work out that Americans prepare and serve food for the masses and those masses appear to be the cheap, convenient and ready-made fast food as is the catch cry when talking about America. We had a lovely first night meal at T.G.I Friday’s in their biggest restaurant in New York City on 7th Avenue, I chose the pork BBQ ribs, they were beautifully prepared and mouth-watering, this led me into a false sense of security as it was large and delicious. I only ordered half a serve and this was big enough. There is one of these restaurants in Australia, in fact in my home town at Marion Shopping Centre and they are in other states as well http://www.tgifridays.com.au/find-a-fridays

Americans call them appetizers, we call them Main Meals they are the size of mains and they give you pickles before dinner. You only have to eat these once to reject them every other time :-). I ordered the ribs as I didn’t see steak or lamb of any sort on the menu, lots of hamburgers with cheese. I chose the ribs as they have a less fat content and knowing the size of meals this was a smaller option after having traveling for over 24hrs to get to NYC.

I found a recipe for the ribs which I may try over the weekend, I shall take pictures and post them Written on July 16, 2010 at 5:00 am , by for http://www.betterrecipes.com

BBQ ribs

2 slabs baby back ribs, 3-4 lbs total or 2 kilo

1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup chili sauce

1/4 cup ketchup

1/4 cup dark rum

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon dry mustard

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1.  Wrap each slab in double thickness of aluminum foil and place on a large pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 1-1/2 hours.  Unwrap and drain drippings.

2.  Return ribs to pan.  Combine the remaining ingredients and pour over ribs, coating each one well.  Marinate at room temperature for 1-2 hours; or cool, cover, and marinate overnight in refrigerator.

3.  When ready to grill, lay ribs above medium-hot coals.  Grill for 30 minutes, turning and basting with sauce about every 10 minutes

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Why Lamb

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Some people do not like the taste of lamb and prefer beef, chicken, pork or any other meat to lamb. Here in the Upper South East of South Australia we love all red meats with lamb being a favourite of mine especially for a family roast dinner meal. Not everyone likes the taste of lamb some people think it tastes too “gamey”.. I absolutely love the taste of our lamb. Notice I said “our” lamb … as our quality of sheep and lamb is second to none ( I am bias). Knowing how cared for our lambs are this makes the quality of the meat taste and smell different to grain fed lamb, we brag about being grass-fed, free roaming lambs superb to eat..

Our farming practices being second generation farmers have been developed and refined to a grass-based model for raising all of our animals on the property. In other words, our farm animals are “pastured” they are able to roam on pasture, and as they’re ruminants like cows and sheep, they eat grass directly from the ground. Our Cattle, sheep & lamb are free to roam in pastures eating a mixture of Lucerne, Rye Grass, Clover & Veldt which are naturally occurring within our area. The Lucerne is planted by us. We are surrounded by coppers and grows and this eliminates the risk of cross breeding animals thus mixing the genetics of the flock. Our property is divided by a dirt road , which we cross to be surrounded by croppers. Our land is not in a populated area thus affording us the ability to allow our stock to roam free without risk of interference of people.We have spent years planting trees to provide shelter from the changing climatic conditions which offer protection and places of safety for our animals.

As for the different tastes in lamb if you have eaten grass-fed you will know the taste and texture of grain fed is completely different. Having grass-fed lambs reduces the ‘gamey’ taste of lamb because the grasses being a natural food stuff for animals not like feed lot lambs gives the lambs a healthier diet and thus is healthier for human consumption. If animals are reared in stress free ‘natural’ environments with adequate food stuffs, water & shade from daily climatic conditions they are less likely to feel stress thus changing the colour and appearance of meat to the plate.

How healthier, you may ask? Please read the following http://www.marksdailyapple.com/monday-musings-new-grass-fed-study/ and though this relates to Beef the same can be said for lamb. This article is from http://www.marksdailyapple.com which point out the difference.  If you are looking to ‘taste’ the difference contact us and order, better for you and better for your family.

Australian Lamb is a healthy choice for any lifestyle—a naturally nutrient-rich food with high levels of zinc, Vitamin B12, iron, riboflavin and thiamine.

 

Carving Roast Beef Meat to bring out the best flavour

I didn’t know there was a special way to carve the meat you are serving to people. Butchers here will scoff, they are the experts in this field and will happily tell you how to do this should you ask. The days of butchers are disappearing with supermarkets taking over as places to buy meat, I am not knocking to supermarkets, they have on many occasions bought our animals.

I always wonder why once they buy them they do not make them a premium meat as they are all grass-fed, our cattle & sheep roam freely on our land to eat the natural pastures to get a good lean fat cover. If you are on a farm and you see cattle with a non shiny coat – this is the sign of good meat according to the farmer. Those animals you may see on TV ads etc look like they have been washed to look clean and shiny, but I will leave this for another blog.

Today I want to talk about cuts, even the farmer here is learning something after watching a butcher at a field day. There is nothing worse than tough meat, it leaves an unpleasant taste in your mouth and makes you think twice about buying it again. It makes you not want to finish the meal and not return to the restaurant, I have not seen anybody return “tough” meat to the chef, they return it for being under or over cooked and this is acceptable.

There is nothing nicer and mouth-watering (to non vegetarians) than the smell of a roast coming out of the oven, many children associate family meals and happy times with a roast dinner. So to have it not taste as good as it smells is disappointing. The secret to carving tender slices of roast beef is the grain – the direction of the string-like fibers of the beef. Find the grain of the roast and cut against (across) it with a slicing knife or chef’s knife. You’ll get perfect slices every time. Carve one slice and taste it if you are unsure how the grain runs, then cut it the other way and taste again. Work out which appears more tender and less chewy and this will be your guide to mouth-watering beautiful tasting roast.

Enjoy!

Here is a video from cooking for Dummies

http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/how-to-carve-roast-beef.html#.UOIi1oHAOIo.email