Cows Use 2.5 Pounds of Grain Per Pound Not Ten Pounds

A pig or chicken spends its life-consuming feed concentrates while most beef is raised on grass to a weight of 750 pounds prior to entering the feedyard. The average slaughter weight of a steer is 1,300 pounds, so only the last 550 pounds of beef is produced from grain. Thus, beef only uses 2.5 pounds of grain per pound of total product produced. When corn gets expensive, cattle are typically kept on grass to reach heavier weights. If corn is cheap, then cattle are taken to the feedyard at lighter weights.

Typical beef requires about 410 gallons of water to produce one pound, a similar amount to avocados, walnuts and sugar, plus beef production can actually help sequester carbon, is not necessarily a source of methane, and is a nutrient-dense food.

Feed is not always as “grain” and can sometimes refer to hay, corn stalks, and other non-concentrated, non-grain animal feed.

When the cattle reach about 600 – 900 pounds they are then transferred to a feedlot (unless they are grass-finished, in which case they spend their entire life on pasture.) The diet the cattle eat at a feedlot is between 70 – 90 percent grain, the other 10 – 30% of cattle feed comes from industrial byproducts like the grain leftover from distilleries, which doesn’t compete with humans for food. At the feedlot, cows gain an average of one pound per six pounds of feed they consume. Market weight is approximately 1,200 – 1,400 pounds at an age of 18 – 22 months.

SOURCES- Sustainable dish, Noble Research Institute
Written By Brian Wang,