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What is "pasture-based"?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created September 14, 2011 at 5:36 PM

Yes, I have heard of things like "pastured" butter. Recently I saw some "pasture-based" dairy. Is this the same thing as "pastured"? Or is it that they spent an hour a month out on the range, and then everything else conventional?

8e1876a74536739ecf7bef97d5d97b76

(747)

on September 19, 2011
at 03:02 PM

Agriculture. Specifically I'm a farm planner for a conservation district, about 5 years doing that) but I've raised livestock for 20ish years before that. I'm getting my MS in Ag right now to get more "soil and plant aware"

8cd7ed35942adf7292bade20f4344e56

(98)

on September 14, 2011
at 08:04 PM

Erin, just curious, what IS your line of work?

8cd7ed35942adf7292bade20f4344e56

(98)

on September 14, 2011
at 08:02 PM

If you aren't able to buy my meat and eggs right off the farm and talk face to face with your farmer, then you must navigate with caution. You might try writing to the company and asking them. It can't hurt them to know that as close to 100% pasture-raised as possible is what you're after.

8e1876a74536739ecf7bef97d5d97b76

(747)

on September 14, 2011
at 07:01 PM

Market terms basically.... pastured and pastured based are not regulated terms so it's an interpretations on both accounts. I'd say that one might be "spent time on grass" and other would be "spent more time on grass". The farmer would have to be asked on this particular instance.

8949bf87b0e0aefcad10f29975e4fa2b

(8989)

on September 14, 2011
at 06:47 PM

Oh, of course I have read Pollan and Salatin!!!! My question is, what is the difference between "pastured" and "pasture-based"?

8e1876a74536739ecf7bef97d5d97b76

(747)

on September 14, 2011
at 06:23 PM

Not quite...you are right that pasture feeding is the use of basic pasturing over feedlotting but the use of chickens over cows is an example of rotational grazing. Differnt concepts in the bigger pasture picture. Also it's only non-polluting if done right. In my line of work I run into "pasture raised" all the time that is done wrong a pollutes worse than the well maintained feed lots. (Not meaning to ruffle feathers here but IT DOES happen) Rest of what you said is very correct. It can make for healthier cows (though that as much has to do with pure animal volume)

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3 Answers

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Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18472)

on September 14, 2011
at 05:50 PM

It means that the animal is raised on pasture, but likely has supplemental feed as well to ensure adequate nutrition.

Most operations that have pasture based cows, even those that claim 100% grass fed, supplement a grass feed in addition to pasture feeding.

Some places just feed the cows 100% grass, but raise them in "conventional" feed lots.

It is my understanding that very few are 100% pasture raised. I think Orgnanic Pastures is 100% pasture fed, but I could be wrong. They might supp fresh grass feed or fermented grass feed as well as letting the cows eat on live pasture.

2
8e1876a74536739ecf7bef97d5d97b76

(747)

on September 14, 2011
at 06:36 PM

Typically pasture raised means they spend at least part of their time in grazing conditions.

Rarely do you have 100% pasture raised because there is a little thing called WINTER. In those cases the operation will either use hay alone or hay/grain. Secondly they will feed grains to get the nutritional levels of the cows high enough for the milkfat content high enough to be palatable. Typically you grain finish meat breeds as well. That the use of barley, oats and corn. This gives them a huge caloric boost which adds the lovely fat of the cows that gives it that yummy flavor. Not all do so it's important to ask your provider if they grass finish/ grain finish or both.

"pasture based" is not a regulated term by most agricultural departments in the United States. (as say, organic, is). Therefore that is up to the interpretation of the agricultural producer as to what that means.

"organic pasture" or "organic hay" tends to rely more on how the grass is treated. As in, do they add pesticides to control rust, weeds, and pests.

However the lines "organic pastured" relies more on the interpretation of pasture use in the organic system. At this rate we don't event have a base of comparison as this rules are still up in the air (as seen in the Pollan book about showing the chickens a pasture two days before kill) although reading this link the committees are working to make it a 120 day pastured period.... or a third of a year. http://www.rodaleinstitute.org/20100222/New_organic_pasture_rule_good_news_for_consumers_cows_and_farmers d

2
8cd7ed35942adf7292bade20f4344e56

on September 14, 2011
at 06:12 PM

If you've read Michael Pollan's book Omnivore's Dilemma, you learned a little bit about pasture based farming. In the book, a Virginia farmer, Joel Salatin, is profiled and it explains how the process works. Salatin is by far the "guru" of pasture based farming. He owns Polyface farm and has written quite a few books: http://www.polyfacefarms.com/ In a nutshell, the animals are raised in the pasture, eating grass, as opposed to being raised on feedlots eating corn(which upsets their stomachs) which makes it necesary to medicate them. At Polyface farms, once the cows have grazed an acre, the chickens are put onto the same acre and allowed to forage for goodies inside the cow patties and also eat grass and grubs and such. While doing so, the chickens are also doing their own fertilizing (pooping) and thatching the ground with their feet. All this natural stuff is good for growing more good grass for the cows the next time they occupy the same acre later on. Pasture based farming is a far, far cry from feedlot farming. It is good for the soil, makes the beef healthier, is non-polluting, and lets the animals express their true essence. There is lots and lots of info out there about it, if you search around. Hope this helps...

8e1876a74536739ecf7bef97d5d97b76

(747)

on September 14, 2011
at 06:23 PM

Not quite...you are right that pasture feeding is the use of basic pasturing over feedlotting but the use of chickens over cows is an example of rotational grazing. Differnt concepts in the bigger pasture picture. Also it's only non-polluting if done right. In my line of work I run into "pasture raised" all the time that is done wrong a pollutes worse than the well maintained feed lots. (Not meaning to ruffle feathers here but IT DOES happen) Rest of what you said is very correct. It can make for healthier cows (though that as much has to do with pure animal volume)

8cd7ed35942adf7292bade20f4344e56

(98)

on September 14, 2011
at 08:04 PM

Erin, just curious, what IS your line of work?

8e1876a74536739ecf7bef97d5d97b76

(747)

on September 19, 2011
at 03:02 PM

Agriculture. Specifically I'm a farm planner for a conservation district, about 5 years doing that) but I've raised livestock for 20ish years before that. I'm getting my MS in Ag right now to get more "soil and plant aware"

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