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Well Fed Beef Grows Much Faster

Supplier: Fodder King
11 September, 2009

Cattle raised on an intensive diet of high quality fodder can be ready for market much faster than their grass-fed, free-ranging counterparts

FodderFacts No. 9

Well Fed Beef Grows Much Faster

Cattle raised on an intensive diet of high quality fodder can be ready for market much faster than their grass-fed, free-ranging counterparts.

"Grass-fed cattle expend a lot of resources seeking, eating and digesting poor quality grass, and this is a major cause of their slow growth rates", Fodder King director of operations Paul McCardell said today.

"Because of Australia's variable climate, pasture is usually only in peak condition about two or three months of the year. So, on pasture, it is really difficult to get continuous growth from cattle around the whole year. In fact, grass-fed cattle can often take about four years to reach their target slaughter weight whereas intensively fed cattle take as little as six months. That's 800% faster!"

High quality fodder grown and made the Fodder King way can help beef producers increase profitability by increasing beef growth rates and increasing the number of animals raised per hectare.

"High quality lucerne hay (also known as alfalfa), Fodder King's primary fodder product, contains both the roughage and nutritional content that beef cattle require to thrive", Mr McCardell said.

With rapid population growth, the worldwide consumption of meat by humans more than doubled between 1970 and 2000 and the world's demand for food is predicted to double over the next 25 years.

Most of this increase will be for high protein food such as meat, fish and dairy products. Such an increase in demand is driving beef producers to pursue ever more efficient means of production, and this in turn is increasing demand for high quality fodder for use in feedlots.

Fodder King Limited, an Australian company, is in a unique position to capitalise on this demand and can do so in such a way as to carve out a profitable reputation as a clean, environmentally sustainable source of high quality fodder for domestic and overseas livestock.

Mindful of the need for beef producers to comply with modern Quality Assurance procedures, Fodder King methodically has its hay nutritionally tested and graded, providing customers with vendor declarations and nutritional information with each delivery.

The Australian agricultural industry is undergoing a quiet revolution in feeding methodology and in the last 12 months 25% of beef cattle slaughtered in Australia were raised on intensive diets in feedlot environments.

"Livestock producers have traditionally fed their feedlot cattle with low nutritional quality roughage and masses of feed quality grain and then made up the nutritional shortfall with protein, mineral and vitamin supplements.

With this diet, the meat becomes very fatty, to cater for overseas tastes. A more natural diet of high quality fodder, produces a meat that is leaner, healthier and tastier - just like traditional Australian grass fed beef", McCardell enthused.

Grain, is also an expensive resource better grown for human consumption.

Besides being very nutritious, and economic to feed, high quality fodder made the Fodder King way also produces environmental benefits.

When low quality feed, such as poor quality feed grain or grass, is fed to cattle, a significant amount of the energy intake is emitted by the animals as methane, one of the 'big three' greenhouse gases, 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

"A large proportion of methane emissions come from animals eating low quality feed, so high quality feeds, such as lucerne hay made the Fodder King way, offer the world significant environmental benefits", McCardell concluded

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