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Truth: Grass-Finished Beef Doesn't Exist

By Good Ranchers

September 24th, 2021

Have you heard about grass-fed, grass-finished beef? I'm sure you've seen something about it at the store or online. Companies often attach benefits to the beef being finished on grass. It's a growing method of advertising from a lot of meat suppliers who are importing meat from overseas, but we are here to tell you the other side of the story. Let's get into the truth of grass-finished beef.

1. Ruminate On This

Grass-Fed Beef

Before we get to grass-finished, we need to talk about grass-fed. Do not buy beef simply for the fact that it was grass-fed. Why? Because all beef - besides Wagyu - is grass-fed at some point! That's right, all cows start on grass. Saying your beef is grass-fed is like saying your paper comes from trees; it's normal not special. The difference is in how cows are finished. The two ways are grass and grain. So let's explore the differences and misconceptions in those two options. 

Grass-Finished Beef vs Grain Finished Beef

Grass-Finished cows are cows that only eat grass for their whole lives. They do not consume grain in their diet at any point. Grain-Finished cows eat grass for the majority of their lives and are then finish by eating a grain mixture for the last few months. How does that change the finishing process? It changes a lot actually. Some of the biggest differences are:


A grass-finished cow weighs between 1000 and 1100 pounds at finish. (BeefResearch) That's a pretty heavy animal, but grain-finished are on average 1300 to 1400 pounds. (BeefResearch) The difference in the lightest and heaviest grain-finished cows is around 100 pounds, so even the lightest grain-finished cows are still significantly heavier than their grass-finished counterparts.


A grass-finished cow is between 24-28 months when they are finished. (StoneBarns) Compare that to a grain-finished cow that is normally finished in 15-22 months, and we see that grain-finished is much, much younger on average. (HarvestReturns)

Why do these two factors matter so much? Because the way meat is graded is by the marbling of the meat and age of the cow. That means if you have a low finishing weight, which leads to low marbling, and an older cow, then you will most likely get a poor grade. That means grass-finished cows are going to get a bad grade the vast majority of the time, which is why so many companies selling grass-finished will never have it graded; they know their meat will get an F.

Grass-Finished Beef Is Never Really Finished

Because of the disparity in quality, flavor, and tenderness, can we really say "grass-finished" is actually finished? They just don't make the cut! When you consider the goals of finishing, Grass-Finished Beef is never truly finished; at least, nowhere near the degree of grain-finished.

Beef Health Benefits

"But what about the health benefits? Grass-Finished is better for you! Grain-Finished is unnatural!" Don't listen to the noise that so many make about this topic; it's unfounded and unproven. The Animal Research Department at TAMU found that, "there is no scientific evidence to support the claims that ground beef from grass-fed cattle is a healthier alternative to ground beef from conventionally raised, grain-fed cattle."  (TAMU) This finding about ground beef is found to be true about other types of beef as well.

Though many people stand on claims that studies have proven a significant difference between the two categories of beef, the Mayo Clinic states, "there is limited long-term research to definitively prove that grass-fed beef is better for you." (MayoClinic) The nutrients and vitamins that beef is a great source of have consistent levels no matter how the cow is finished.

It's Finished

Get the beef that was finished right. Don't sacrifice quality and flavor for health benefits that aren't proven and marketing that never lives up to the hype. Get yourself PRIME and CHOICE beef from Good Ranchers. Our cows are raised traditionally on local American farms, and they put the grass-hype to shame. That's right, the top USDA grades of beef are all we sell, and we are the ONLY online meat subscription service selling you 100% American meat with Prime and Choice cuts every time. The only person who sells more Prime than us is Amazon!

Don't like our puns? That's okay. You'll love our beef and all our meat! Visit our shop HERE and buy one of our meat subscription boxes today. Guaranteed you will fall in love with red meat all over again!

Also, follow us on Social @GoodRanchers to stay up to date on all things meat!