Grass fed dexter steers

dukeis84

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I'm getting two dexter steers, currently 9 months old, in a couple weeks. I have roughly five acres of pasture that hasnt been grazed in a few years so it's in pretty good shape. Ideally I'd like to do graze them until the fall then have them slaughtered. I realize they probably wouldn't have reached their max potential size but I got them at a good price and with minimal feed cost inputs I can maximize my return. I haven't raised cattle before so I am wondering if it'd be a mistake to slaughter them at a young age. I live in cattle country (Nebraska) and everyone loves to tell me that I HAVE to give them grain! I like lean meat and from my experience younger animals are more tender than older ones. I live near Omaha which gives me a market for selling the grass fed beef I don't keep for myself. Anyone have experience or advice on what type of product I could expect if I slaughter these grass fed steers at around 15 or 16 months? I plan to give them a small amount of grain as a treat and so they get comfortable around me but it won't be a staple of their diet. Any thoughts would be appreciated! Thanks!
 

greybeard

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I like lean meat and from my experience younger animals are more tender than older ones.
Define 'lean meat'.
Define 'tender'.
The 2 are not necessarily mutually exclusive.
15-16 months 'might' work, tho you won't have nearly as much finished total live weight. 24 months to 27 to 29 months would be better. There are short and long Dexters...the shorts finish faster than the longs.
Almost all beef are grass fed, but for good marbled beef quicker, you'll want to 'finish' it out it's last 3-4 months on grain as well as grass. (some people limit the amount of grass during finishing, providing almost all the input to high protein grain...I never have) The marbling (tenderness) comes relatively early in the raising process, whereas the finishing provides the fat layer on the outside of the carcass.

If you want to finish on grass alone, it will take longer to finish due to the lower protein levels in forage.
 
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