Location matters when it comes to raising cows for beef. Read on to see why.
Designer Beef wasn’t always a cattle ranch. Our local Texas ranch used to be a dairy farm! Ranch cows raised on a dairy farm is beneficial for a number of reasons, but the most important benefit is the high standards of care that were already in place.
Historically, dairies care for their animals in a way that most beef ranchers do not. As a result, dairies excel in the ethical treatment of real, living animals, and the direct benefit of such attention guarantees a much higher quality product than what you may find at a grocery store.
So, what does that mean for your cow on our ranch?
In the dairy industry, milk production is how farms make a living. And to provide great milk, they remain diligent when enforcing the highest standards of care for their cows.
Examples of these standards can be found in the cow’s everyday lives, from their bedding and environment to their dedicated space and diet. Read on to find out why it’s beneficial to buy beef from cows raised on a dairy farm.
Dairy farms provide luxurious bedding
To start, dairy farms place great importance upon the cows’ bedding. Adequate bedding is required to keep the animals in a maintained state of relaxation, which improves the quality of their milk. For that reason alone, dairy-men and women will provide soft, spacious areas for their cows to lie down and rest.
A typical beef ranch will have a big enough space for cattle to graze on, yet lack the bedding needed for the cows to be comfortable. This can lead to cows feeling more stressed.
At Designer Beef, we have large, free-stall barns that feature large areas filled with soft sand, meaning cows can lie down and rest whenever it chooses to do so.
The climate is always temperature regulated
Much like the bedding, cows are sensitive to their climates. To help keep cows comfortable, dairies will often provide accommodations such as fans, misters, and shade. This helps keep their animals at a stable temperature during the hot season.
What’s even better is that the dairy which Designer Beef hails from already had fans installed in the sufficiently shaded barns!
When the weather gets warm and the cows are uncomfortable, we turn on the fans and misters to keep the cows cool. They absolutely love these, especially during the hot summer nights in northeastern Texas.
In other beef ranches, they will include either naturally shaded areas such as trees; or install cloth shades for the cattle to take shelter under. These ranches hardly ever provide fans and misters because they lack the necessary equipment complete with electrical and water functions.
The cows have plenty of free space
Cows are happy when they have ample space to eat. The dairymen who built the establishment before Designer Beef’s development knew this, and provided a 26,500 square foot free-stall barn with two sides to feed. Abundant areas where their cows can properly eat are called mangers or feed bunks. This keeps the feed out of the open weather while also giving the cows plenty of room to eat without feeling crowded or stressed by the other animals.
Meanwhile, an average beef ranch would normally have bunks out in the open air, which can be greatly affected by the weather and elements. On larger yards, the feed bunk space provided for each cow is very small due to the large volume of cows they process. This creates unnecessary stress on the cows when trying to access the feed bunk and eat.
Designer Beef cows don’t suffer from overcrowding, leaving them to feed as naturally as possible in the wide-open spaces.
Dairy farms prioritize a healthy diet
To the dairyman (and the cows), nutrition is of utmost importance. Dairy farms have a specialized nutritionist who consistently watches the cows’ health and milk production. These specialists then adjust the feed ration when they detect potential illnesses or drops in milk production.
Each dairy farm mixes their ration for the cows on site, making sure to combine high-quality ingredients, so their animals stay in top shape. A commodity shed keeps all of these ingredients organized and out of the weather, so when the feeder is ready to mix up the load, they have easy access to those high-quality ingredients. Think of it as a massive pantry for the cows’ food.
At Designer Beef, we were blessed with a great commodity shed because of the dairy that was here before us. Here, our Ranch Manager uses a mixer box, loader and tractor to mix up your cows fresh and nutritious feed that they are given daily.
Other feedlots will source the cheapest ingredients which forces the animals to grow at the quickest rate possible. Quantity is prioritized over quality for profit, leading to beef and other byproducts which are at a lower caliber than those produced on a dairy farm.
Designer Beef puts the cows’ comfort first to avoid this, and to also provide a safe, ethical home for their animals.
Ranch cows raised on dairy farms are more far superior
Dairy farms are superior to beef ranches in more ways than one, which is why we highly recommend you come to us for all of your beef needs. Designer Beef allows you to select your preferred type of cow, its type of feed, and more. With us, you can always be assured that your cow is comfortable and our products are of the highest possible quality.