What is the Difference Between Grass-Fed Beef and Grass-Finished Beef?

The terms “grass fed beef” and “grass finished beef” are not synonymous. As a person concerned about the way your food is raised, it is important to know the difference between grass-fed beef and grass-finished beef.


When you order 100 percent  Grass Fed Beef Steaks from Thousand Hills Lifetime Grazed, feel confident those cattle were never fed grain. Our cattle are both grass-fed and grass-finished. Some ranchers use the former term in a misleading way. The terms are easy to confuse. At Thousand Hills Lifetime Grazed, we know our customers desire consumer education because they care about their food.


Grass Fed Beef

The term “grass fed beef” came into use when some dishonest ranchers began adding GMO grain feed to fatten cattle in the last few weeks before slaughter. Before that, the cattle primarily ate grasses and forage. Grass fed cattle are started on grass, but they do not necessarily end up that way.


The cattle also spend those last few weeks confined to feedlots rather than on the range in on pasture. So-called “grass fed cattle” could end up with a dietary lifetime average of 70 percent grass and 30 percent grain or grain byproducts. Such byproducts may include soybean hulls or GMO corn.


This term frustrates those ranches in the grass-fed market who avoid those GMO grains. Grass-finished beef means they are started on grass and end on grass, and are 100 percent grass fed for their lifetimes. Grass-fed beef must merely have spent the majority of their lives on grass. That generally means the first 75 percent of their lives are spent grazing, while the last 25 percent are not.


What Does Grass Finished Beef Mean?

Grass finished beef cattle are often raised using the practices of regenerative agriculture. This technique avoids using pesticides or other chemicals in the soil. Instead, it is a holistic method of raising cattle that helps promote biodiversity, protect water sources, and regenerating the soil and land. The cattle graze on grasses native to the area.


Grass-finished beef refers to cattle who spent their entire lives consuming grass, as cattle are naturally designed to do. They start and end on grass, becoming 100 percent grass fed for their lifetimes. They are never confined to feedlots.


Along with solely eating grass, these cattle do not receive antibiotics or hormones routinely for growth enhancement, thus keeping these medications out of the food chain. Grass Finished beef means they are started on grass and end on grass, and are 100 percent grass fed for their lifetimes.


They never experience the stress of confinement. Instead, the cattle are able to express instinctive behaviors. They roam freely.


Grass-finished beef is more expensive than grain fed or grass fed beef because of the way the animals are raised.


Deciphering the Label

Confusion results because a grass-fed cow may or may not prove a grass-finished cow, but a grass-finished cow is always a 100 percent grass-fed cow. That’s why learning how to decipher the packaging labels on meat is critical.


All cattle are grass-fed at some point. That includes hay rather than pasture. The finishing makes the difference. Most cattle are grain-finished. It’s a faster and more convenient process. Grass-finishing takes a cow longer to reach market weight.  It is a more humane and sustainable way to raise cattle, resulting in higher-quality meat.


100% Grass-Fed, Grass-Finished Beef Delivery

Our 100% grass fed beef is lean, containing little fat. That makes it not only an environmentally friendlier choice than grain fed beef, but also a healthier one for the consumer. The meat is lower in calories and contains higher levels of essential omega-3 fatty acids and powerful antioxidants such as vitamins A and E.


The name Thousand Hills Lifetime Grazed tells you that our beef is grass-finished. Shop online today and order meat from cattle that never received grains, hormones, or antibiotics.

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