Argentina’s grass-fed livestock benefits
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Reducing costs while increasing quality: What more could a business ask for?
With uncertain costs increasing the risk involved in livestock industries, along comes a potential panacea in the form of changing methods.
Four animal scientists and a graduate student from the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences and three Clemson extension agents went to Argentina in March to learn more about grass-fed, sustainable livestock production.
“We want to build a bond between Clemson University and Instituto Nacional de Technologia Agropecuria of Argentina,” said John Andrae, Clemson forage crops specialist. “We will establish a four-year research and education project to expose Clemson faculty, students and extension agents to forage-based sustainable livestock systems in Argentina and develop research collaborations with Argentine scientists. The outcome would be to do research incorporating promising Argentine forage and livestock system practices under replicated research settings in the Southeastern U.S.”
“There’s also a need for knowledge regarding animal production and product quality. Forage and livestock production systems in Argentina rely on fewer inputs, such as supplemental animal feed, additives and high levels of commercial fertiliser.”
If you’re thinking that makes grass-fed beef healthier, you’re right.
According to an earlier study that was a joint effort between the U.S. Department of Agriculture and researchers at Clemson, grass-fed beef is better for human health than grain-fed beef in up to 10 ways:
1. Lower in total fat.
2. Higher in beta-carotene.
3. Higher in vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol). The meat from the grass-fed cattle is four times higher in vitamin E than meat from feed-lot cattle and almost twice as high as meat from feed-lot cattle that have been given vitamin E supplements.
In humans, vitamin E is linked with a lower risk of heart disease and cancer. This potent antioxidant may also have anti-aging properties. Most Americans are deficient in vitamin E.
4. Higher in the B-vitamins thiamin and riboflavin.
5. Higher in the minerals calcium, magnesium, and potassium.
6. Higher in total omega-3s.
7. Better ratio of omega-6 to 3 fatty acids (1.65 vs 4.84).
8. Higher in CLA (cis-9 trans-11), a potential cancer fighter.
9. Higher in vaccenic acid (which can be transformed into CLA).
10. Lower in the saturated fats linked with heart disease.
Adding to the good news is the benefit for livestock farming in the Southeast. High-quality forage can be grown year-round in the region, which already raises 25 percent of the calves for the beef industry.
A goal of the Clemson-Argentina project is to increase the efficiency, profitability and sustainability of all Southeast beef systems, including cow-calf production.
Reducing costs, increasing quality and appealing to healthier eating: a winning combination.
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