Farm Tidbits- Components of Quality
September 8, 2023
We work really hard to ensure consistent quality. What does it take to raise consistently top-quality beef?
- Genetics – cattle vary greatly, even within the same breed. To qualify for the “Certified Angus” brand the cattle’s hide must be 51% black and choice marbling. But almost every breed of cattle now has cattle that are black. The breed really impacts tenderness. At Fischer Farms we are selective in our breeding selections to ensure the cattle are in the top 25% for marbling and tenderness within the Angus breed. Then we mix in a selected group of high marbling genetics from the Shorthorn breed to ensure the cattle are healthy and we don’t suffer from the excessive inbreeding from only pulling from Angus genetics.
- Feed and health – Feeding the animal the right way through its entire 20-month life is also critical. We make sure there is a healthy diet in front of the cattle every day. This diet may be highly nutritious grass or if non available we feed them silage and distillers' grain, from the nearby bourbon distilleries. We target a diet that puts a minimum of 1.75 pounds of gain per day, a study done a few years ago by a university showed this was the threshold that if below the cattle start pulling fat cells from the muscles. Another key component of quality is to keep the rumen healthy. Most feedlots push the cattle for quick growth by feeding a diet of 90% grain. They get quick gains and lots of fat around the outside of the meat but if the fat cells were lost earlier in life, the really fine marbling is lost. These fine marbling lines is what gives our beef the distinctive buttery flavor.
- Comfortable life – cattle that are in huge outside lots and are genetically wild will run around and overuse their muscles. We don’t want our cattle to look like a body builder but rather a lazy couch potato. So, our cattle spend the last 3-4 months of their lives in big barns with high ceilings for air flow and sawdust for bedding. Even as hot as it was this week, our cattle were stress free.
Our goal is for every steak to be the best. Still my favorite customer quote was, “When I go out to eat, I look for Fischer Farms items on the menu and haven’t been disappointed yet!”