Eat, Drink, and Be Merry!

I am assuming that all of you had a tasteful and enjoyable Thanksgiving holiday that included a large quantity of food and drink.  There is something about the holiday season that makes us all focus more on food!  Knowing that, it seems appropriate to do a post on what my cattle eat and how I incorporate good feed ingredient selection following BQA protocols to ensure high quality feed for them.

Cattle have different digestive systems than humans (they are ruminants), but—like us– they also are the healthiest when they eat a consistently balanced diet at regular intervals.  Providing a well-balanced casserole of grains and forages to my cattle is incredibly important.  It is also imperative that I provide this casserole of feed at consistent times during the day.

My two favorite blondes holding Casserole #5 which is the feed that my cattle eat for the last 100 days prior to harvest…

The need for fresh water and good quality feed is basic, but incredibly vital to maintaining good health.  We test the quality of our feed routinely (taking it to a laboratory to be analyzed), and also diligently clean our water tanks to ensure good drinking water quality.

One of our water tanks at the feed yard…

The mix of grains and forages in the casseroles that we feed to our cattle are formulated by our consulting nutritionist.  We choose from 7 different casseroles depending on the cattle’s age, weight, and how long they have been in the feed yard.  Additionally, we vary the amount of pounds of casserole that the cattle receive according to same three components.

My nutritionist who earned a PhD in ruminant nutrition from the University of Nebraska.

One of my favorite things to do with my girls at the feed yard is to “read bunks”.  Reading bunks involves driving around the feed yard early in the morning and looking to see if the cattle “cleaned their plates”.  Each one of our pens is numbered (there are 25 total), and we record a grade for each pen according to how much feed is left in the feed bunk at 6:00 am.

The feed bunk in Pen 23…

My youngest daughter, Karyn, learned her numbers by helping me read bunks when she was in preschool.  Today, she not only knows her numbers but she also understands the system that we use to determine how much feed each animal receives.  One of her favorite things to do is to ride with her head out of the back window of my vehicle assessing the feed bunks and making bunk calls.

Karyn’s bunk reading position…

Feed ingredient selection and delivery are paramount in my search for the best welfare for my cattle.  I use protocols developed by the Beef Quality Assurance program to document and audit both of these to ensure that my crew and I do a good job.

We strive to keep our animals thriving day after day so that they can make high quality beef for you to enjoy.  Now that we have made it through Turkey Day, I hope that each one of you will have a great tasting beef meal to kick off the up-coming holiday season.

To help inspire you, I am including one of my favorites: Beef Stroganoff!

Slice a partially frozen Sirloin Steak (1-1 1/2 pounds) into bite sized pieces.  Brown and cook the beef in a frying pan with minced onions (fresh are best) over medium-medium high heat.  You can also add sliced mushrooms if you like them.  I add a touch of black pepper to the meat for seasoning.  I prefer a choice grade or higher marbled piece of beef to ensure tenderness.

In a separate bowl, combine 8 ounces of sour cream and 3 tablespoons of flour (I use whole wheat flour).  Then add one 10 1/2 ounce can of beef consume soup to the sour cream mixture.

When the sirloin is finishing cooking pour the sour cream/consume mixture into the skillet with the beef.  Stir constantly over medium heat until the sauce is bubbly and thick. 

Serve over steamed brown rice with your favorite vegetable!


Filed under Animal Welfare, General

4 responses to “Eat, Drink, and Be Merry!

  1. Dawn

    Thanks for the inspiration Anne! So tired of leftover turkey, turkey casserole, turkey soup, turkey fajitas…….and being a beef producer myself, got that sirloin in the freezer. I’ll be home late tonight so….I am fixing the stroganoff this morning to heat up quickly when I get home. Love it over whole grain noodles. YUM!

  2. While I love my turkey, I have to say that I am looking forward to some beef this weekend! Great info – and love the recipe. It is very similar to the beef stroganoff I make. Inspiration for one of my next meals. 🙂

    • Lara,

      I thought of you and all of your turkey farmers over the weekend! Our Thanksgiving dinner was delicious and I am thankful for whoever grew the turkey that was “center plate”.

      I am glad that you got to spend some time in Nebraska over the weekend—it is a wonderful place to be. Your nephew will be in good hands at UNL and have a great experience!


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