NoSmoke wrote:I tried raising some beef "the new way" which was supposed to be better;
It's not the "new" way, it's the "OLD" way.
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
No mention of tightly penning them in and feeding them grain.
I know you were ribbing me, but here is some interesting information you might like because there is actually a lot of mention of this in the bible. A little understanding of that culture goes a long ways and they were a very agriculturally based society.
For instance where Jesus says "I am the gate". What he is referring to is a common practice of Shepard's in that era. They would drive their sheep into a fold, or a walled in area, at night with just one way in and out. They did not employ "gates" as we picture them today, but rather the Shepard would sleep in the gap to keep his sheep in and protect them from predators. Anyone with livestock quickly learns how to "pressure" an animal, by influencing their movement by where you approach them, where you stand, or in this case where a Shepard sleeps. Sheep (and other livestock) would not cross the gap.
As for feeding grain, oh they fed a lot of grain to their animals, in fact the grain they fed actually supersedes the quality that we achieve today with 1/2 million dollar equipment. That was because they used something called "Threshing Floors". It was a way to use oxen to crush the grains and separate the grain from the chaff. This broke down not only the grain, but also the chaff. Our nutritionists today wants our feed to be cut at the ideal length for an ruminants stomach, about 3/4 of an inch in length...ironically about the same size the Israelite's break down their grain into. This is where theirs is superior though. Because their grain was dried and those broken to that length by the threshing drag due to the brittle nature of the grain, ours is actually cut by knives because it is green and wet. That means ours must be ensiled which creates some fermentation and acidosis in the stomachs, where as they were basically producing a feed that was a combination of hay-haylage.
Inevitably they had excess grain, spoilage too great for human consumption but not for livestock, and they would also send their animals out into a field that was harvested and let them clean up the stubble and grain that fell from the stalks. Ironically, according to USDA rule, grass-fed only animals can do this same thing today and be considered grass fed only; kind of like how the USDA allows organic livestock to be considered organic still even if 20% of their fodder is non-organic. And the reason why it is done is because a lot of corn cobs or other grains are dropped to the ground by modern harvesting equipment. The grass fed only farmers know what the livestock are out there grazing on, and it sure is not nasty old stubble!
The reality is, grain fed animals have been around since the beginning.
I kind of laugh when I hear people make claims to how great grass fed only is because farmers today use grain for the same reasons they used grain way back in the Old Testament, it is really good for the animals. Grass fed only is just a new marketing fad; make wild claims about how great grass fed only meat is so that they can cut out one of the major costs in raising livestock, and charge even more money for it. I admitted I got sucked into the ploy too, but as my sheep nutritionist and vet will tell you, livestock always do better on grain, and when an animal is healthy, it is the most tasteful. That is a reality that I know is true because I grew up on a dairy farm and we typically slaughtered the animals that couldn't make it to the slaughterhouse on their own, and they never tasted good. A healthy animal is the best tasting. But that is my next marketing ploy; I'll tell consumers "downers" (downed cows and sheep) have more moisture in the meat and they will buy it hook line and sinker and I will be able to sell my downers for an even higher rate then my prime lamb or beef! You gotta love SPIN!